Heading into the 2017 season the Los Angeles Dodgers and San Francisco Giants were pegged as the likely teams to win the National League West title. Some identified the Arizona Diamondbacks or Colorado Rockies as a dark horse.
Through much of the first three months, the Diamondbacks and Rockies jostled for position atop the division standings, while the Dodgers remained within striking distance and the Giants, amid a rash of injuries, drifted further and further behind.
The Dodgers eventually overtook first place in the NL West, and strengthened their hold by sweeping the Rockies in a three-game series at Dodger Stadium last month. It was the tail end of a 10-game winning streak for Los Angeles, and what turned into an eight-game losing skid for Colorado.
So that left the Dodgers and Diamondbacks as the top two teams in the division heading into their three-game set last week. The Diamondbacks suffered the same fate as the Rockies, even collapsing in the third game of the series just as Colorado did.
Despite the end result, D-Backs manager Torey Lovullo viewed the series with the Dodgers as a positive experience, via FOX Sports Arizona:
“I want to choose my words carefully here, because I don’t want to seem like I’m an idiot making predictions. But, I really felt like we played head to head with those guys in a tough environment that was a playoff atmosphere. Even though we didn’t win the games, which stinks, I think we grew up, and are prepared a little bit more because of what happened those past three days.”
Lovullo joins San Diego Padres manager Andy Green in comparing his team to the NL West-leading Dodgers. Prior to his team avoiding a sweep by winning the third game of a series at Petco Park, Green said the Padres be competing to take season series from the Dodgers ‘pretty soon.’
Each of the Diamondbacks’ three losses in the series were by one run. If not for Fernando Rodney’s wildness, which led to a four-run ninth inning for the Dodgers without a single out being recorded, it’s plausible the D-Backs would have salvaged the series with a win.
Los Angeles improved to 6-4 against Arizona this season, with all but three games coming at home; the Dodgers are 1-2 thus far at Chase Field. The teams will next meet Tuesday, Aug. 8, for the start of a three-game series in Phoenix.
The Dodgers entered the All-Star break with a 7.5-game lead over the Diamondbacks, and leading the Rockies by 9.5 games. Arizona responded from their series against Los Angeles with a win, but then dropped two straight games to Cincinnati Reds.