Looks like Diamondbacks’ manager Chip Hale took a page from a William Shakespeare title.
When The Bard wrote a comedy entitled, Much Ado About Nothing, he certainly did not have the Diamondbacks and Dodgers in mind.
Least of all, any reference to their historic confrontation on June 11, 2013 in Dodger Stadium. That’s when Ian Kennedy, since traded to the Padres, hit the Dodgers’ Yasiel Puig and pitcher Zack Greinke with pitches, and baseball’s version of Armageddon broke forth.
Kennedy was subsequently suspended for 10 games, and the Dodgers repaid the gesture by decorating the pool in Chase Field after clinching the 2013 National League West Division title.
The Diamondbacks and Dodgers are set to renew their “association” Friday night when the teams commence a three-game series in Dodger Stadium.
By this past spring training, things were not total forgotten. That’s when the Dodgers and Diamondbacks renewed their ties on March 23 during a spring game at Camelback Ranch.
Four Diamondbacks were rejected, including Arizona starter Allen Webster and reliever Derek Eitel along with Manager Chip Hale and bench coach Glenn Sherlock for ignoring warnings and hitting Dodgers’ Justin Turner and minor leaguer Dillon Moyer.
“Was I surprised by the ejections?” asked Hale rhetorically at the time. “No. I know we were not trying to hit those guys. The umpires know the history, but they can’t figure out any intention, or lack of intention. They are not psychologists.”
Since, all has been quiet and the Dodgers and Diamondbacks, during their first series of the season in Chase Field early last month, were hardly noticed.
Now, the only thing which matters in piling up wins against an important opponent.
“It’s a division series and they’re all tough,” said first baseman Paul Goldschmidt. “We’re swinging bats good lately (21 runs in last two games), and now we just have to keep playing hard.”
Because of injuries to Dodger starters Hyun-Jin Ryu and Brandon McCarthy, L. A. manager Don Mattingly was forced to tap less than front-line pitchers for the Diamondbacks series.
On Friday night and the opener of the set, right-hander Carlos Frias, a 25-year-old out of the Dominion Republic, gets the ball from Mattingly. As a starter last season at Triple-A Albuquerque, he was 8-4, a 3.01 ERA in 15 starts. On Friday, he will make his third appearance of the season for the Dodgers. and first start.
For Saturday’s game, Mattingly will turn to Scott Baker, a 33-year old right-hander released by the Yankees in spring training. Last season for Texas, Baker made eight starts in 25 appearances and posted a 5.08 ERA. In 2012, he underwent Tommy John surgery. Prior to the injury, he had a 3.92 ERA from 2008 until the 2011 season.
If the Diamondbacks do not face formidable starters in the opening two games of the weekend set, they get the reigning Cy Young Award winner and National League MVP Clayton Kershaw in Sunday’s finale.
One hitter Dodger pitching may wish to watch, as the series gets underway, is Goldschmidt, who has three hits in each of his last three games, a career best. The last Arizona player to get three hits in at least three straight games was Mark Reynolds in 2007. On his current tear, Goldschmidt is now batting .338, tops on the club.
Jake Lamb is hitting .414 but that is only for 10 games. Lamb is currently on the disabled list with a stress reaction in his left foot.
Starters for the Diamondbacks are expected to be Rubby De La Rosa on Friday night, Jeremy Hellickson on Saturday, and Chase Anderson gets Kershaw on Sunday afternoon.