Arizona Diamondbacks vs. Los Angeles Dodgers: Game 1 – MLB Post Game Analysis

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Arizona Diamondbacks vs. Los Angeles Dodgers: Game 1 – MLB Post Game Analysis
The Arizona Diamondbacks virtually sealed the National League West title on Monday, September 12 after annihilating the Los Angeles Dodgers 7-2 at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles, California. The Diamondbacks, in an extraordinary rise to form, extended their
lead to 8.5 games ahead of the reigning World Champions San Francisco Giants who, at one stage, were favourites to make it through to the postseason from the West.
Joe Saunders provided an epic start to the Diamondbacks, pitching seven innings for just two runs and four hits to improve his ERA to 3.83 for the season. Saunders struck-out four batters in his spell of 97 pitches to bag his 11th win of the season,
bringing the gulf between losses and wins down to only one. Saunders was well complimented by Gerardo Parra on the plate, finishing 2-for-3 and driving in four runs to bring his batting average just below .300 at .295.
The Dodgers got off to a perfect start with Matt Kemp hammering Saunders down right-field for a home-run to record the first runs for the home team. Saunders, thereafter, came back strongly to not only silence the Dodgers but also to bring the advantage
back to the D-backs.
"On a personal level, there have been a lot of peaks and valleys," Saunders said. "There was a big valley to start the year, and I've been treading pretty much uphill the whole time, just to get back to where I can be. I can't take back my 0-5 start, but
you make up for lost time and do the best you can. So my goal right now is just to finish strong and keep our lead where it's at going into the postseason."
Saunders threw six scoreless innings after the home-run put pressure on Ted Lilly. He started well for the Dodgers but got a battering in the sixth inning to lose, what can rightly be termed a quality-start. He pitched five scoreless innings before leaking
three runs in the sixth on three hits to lose his 14th start of the season. Lilly now has a dreary win-loss record of 9-14 to back himself for a rotation spot in the next season and given the intensity of competition, it is unlikely that the Dodgers
will persist with him.
The Dodgers might be facing all sorts of off-the-field problems, but this excuse cannot be prolonged for unruly performances. Clayton Kershaw is a Dodger as well and is a leading candidate for the Cy Young Award after having performed brilliantly this season.
Other pitchers will be looking to learn from Kershaw, who is still new in the big league.
Diamondbacks followed the five-run fiesta with a two-run eighth inning to add insult to injury for the Dodgers. It was Parra again who produced a double to centre-field which yielded two runs for the D-backs. Paul Goldschmidt and Chris Young circled the
bases to complete the five-run lead and subsequently register a one-game lead over the Dodgers in the three-game series.
Dodgers’ manager Don Mattingly was frustrated with the bull-pen’s performance in general and Lilly’s performance in particular. He stated that Lilly threw the ball well but the plan did not seem to work well and that is what caused the loss.
J.J. Putz got lucky to bag his 39th save of the season after throwing just three pitches in the ninth. It will be interesting to see how the Dodgers comeback in the second game especially with Kershaw lined-up for the third.
The views expressed in this article are the writer's own and in no way represent's official editorial policy.



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