Arizona Diamondbacks Hold Slim Lead in Close NL West Race

Arizona Diamondbacks Hold Slim Lead in Close NL West Race

As MLB teams in the National League West draw nearer to the postseason, every game continues to become that much more important.

Updated: Aug. 20, 2018 • 4:05 PM ET

Robbie Ray and the Diamondbacks are trying to hold the division lead.

With September looming on the horizon as the last days of August come to a close, the race for the MLB playoffs are only heating up. And no race is hotter than the current three-way chase happening out in the National League West.

Despite fumbling in May with only eight wins and 19 losses in the month, the Arizona Diamondbacks find themselves atop the division with the Colorado Rockies nipping at their heals and the Los Angeles Dodgers in a very close third — much too close for the snakes to feel comfortable.

The Diamondbacks have a half-game lead over the Rockies, which managed to jump into second after taking 3-of-4 games against the Dodgers earlier this month in what can be described as movie-esque.

For the Diamondbacks, they need to find a way to win some games and build a buffer between themselves and their division rivals heading into September. The Diamondbacks began the season in what could only be considered a dream, winning their first nine series and building a six-game lead over the 2017 NL champion Dodgers heading into May, including a sweep of their divisional foes. In May, it appeared that the magic in the desert had dried up, and the Diamondbacks faltered hard.

It seemed like everything that could go wrong for the Diamondbacks was going wrong. Alex Avila, who the Diamondbacks acquired from the Chicago Cubs in the offseason, was struggling to hit the ball. Steven Sousa, who they acquired from Tampa Bay, was injured. Robbie Ray had to leave for a brief period with an oblique injury and A.J. Pollock, probably the most dangerous hitter in the National League, found himself once again on the DL. But worst of all, the Diamondbacks’ star player, Paul Goldschmidt, look completely mediocre.

The low point had come and the Diamondbacks couldn’t buy a hit. Thankfully, their pitching managed to keep them in some games, but there’s nothing more frustrating for pitchers and fans alike than receptively seeing their offense lose ballgames 1-0 or 2-1.

Yet, now at the end of August, the Diamondbacks find themselves back on top after a resurgence of hitting by Goldschmidt, a dominant performance by the NL’s best defense and the addition of new players acquired from the deadline that have revitalized the Dbacks’s offense.

With a brutal schedule just around the corner, though, the Diamondbacks have little room for error if they hope to usurp the Dodgers and secure not only a division title, but a divisional series with their full lineup.

Last year, the Dodgers struggled out of the gate, but managed to find their magic later in the year. In what looked like a team that just couldn’t lose, they quickly snagged the divisional lead and ran away with it. The Diamondbacks and Rockies, which jousted for the lead for the first half of last season, had to be content with Wild Card appearances.

With the Dodgers having a depleted roster due to injuries this year, both the Diamondbacks and Rockies find themselves in prime position to dethrone the reigning five-time division champions.  Despite acquiring Manny Machado, the Dodgers find themselves struggling to win some much-needed games with a bullpen that has recently snagged defeat from the jaws of victory.

With September coming up, the Diamondbacks will find themselves playing potential playoff teams the entire month (except for the Padres, whom they play their last series against). The Rockies also have a tough road ahead, but with a much lighter schedule that could afford them a chance to creep into first just before the season ends.

The Dodgers are desperate to get their bullpen back on track, hoping their closer will return just in time to stop the bleeding and give them a chance to snake back in front and lock onto a sixth consecutive divisional title and playoff berth.

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