Not in our house, not quite at this time.
While the Dodgers peeked in the cooler and smiled at the chilling champagne, the Diamondbacks pulled the plug and stuck the bubbly back in the refrigerator for another day.
Powered by a two-run home run from Paul Goldschmidt in the first inning, the Diamondbacks went on to post a 9-4 victory over the Dodgers before 27,305 Wednesday night in Chase Field.
To clinch the National League West division, the Dodgers’ magic number remains at two. At the same time, the Diamondbacks served to any one who listened they would not go quietly in the night.
For the moment, the Dodgers’ celebration was put on hold, and consensus in the D-backs clubhouse was there was too pride to capitulate on their home turf.
“No one wants to see them celebrate,” said winning pitcher Brandon McCarthy, who is 3-1, 2.50 ERA in his last five starts. “Go let them celebrate somewhere else. No, not here and not in our home.”
While the Dodgers can still clinch the division with a win Thursday afternoon in Chase Field, the party appeared to simply be postponed. Change in the Dodgers rotation may have aided to the defeat and the delayed celebration process.
In order to set up the rotation for post-season play, L. A. manager Don Mattingly scratched his ace Clayton Kershaw until Saturday against the Padres. In his place, right-hander Stephen Fife, who did not last past the third inning, received he call Wednesday night. The 2.1 innings was the shortest of Fife’s brief, two year, major league career, and the D-backs torched the native of Boise, Id. for six hits and four runs.
Fife labored through his outing and when he walked opposing pitcher McCarthy to load the bases with one out in the third, his evening was finished.
Meanwhile, the D-backs jumped out to a 4-0 lead but a Yasil Puig home run and RBI single from Adrian Gonzalez chopped the lead in half with a two spot in the fourth inning.
From there, the Dodgers cut the lead to one with a single run in the seventh inning. With the tying run on third and Puig on first with an infield single, reliever Joe Thatcher then had pinch hitter Scott Van Slyke ground into an inning-ending double play.
The Diamondbacks had numerous opportunities to break this open. Yet, as the basic method of operation, they could not come up with the big hit.
They left the bases loaded in three of the first six innings, and stranded 12 runners in those frames.
“Leaving guys on has been a problem all year,” said manager Kirk Gibson. “But, this club has been resilient, and we picked up some hits when we needed.”
By the eighth inning, matters turned dramatically and the D-backs pushed across important runs.
First, Aaron Hill took matters into his own hands and doubled in A. J. Pollock, who walked to open the eighth. That created a two run, Arizona advantage at the time and from there, the Diamondbacks added four more in the inning.
Though closer Brad Ziegler allowed a two-out home run to catcher Tom Federowicz, he slammed the door in the ninth and end the affair.
“People keep asking about preventing them from clinching here,” said Goldschmidt, who finished with a 2-for-4 night. “I don’t worry about that. They’re a division opponent and you always want to play hard and win. (Wednesday night), we had contributions from several guys and it was a good win.”
The Dodgers try again to clinch Thursday afternoon (12:40 p.m.) when they send right-hander Rick Nolasco (13-10, 3.36 ERA combined with the Marlins) against Wade Miley (10-10, 3.70 ERA).
TURNING THE TURNSTILES
A crowd of 27,305 Wednesday night pushed the Diamondbacks over the two million mark in attendance.
With four home dates remaining, they have drawn 2,020,836 to Chase Field. Last season, the D-backs attracted 2,177,617.
For next season, the Diamondbacks lose two home games. That’s because they open the 2014 campaign in Sydney, Australia, and play the Dodgers in a two games set. These contests are considered home games for Arizona.
CORBIN AND HIS FUTURE
The fact left-hander Patrick Corbin struggled over the second half of the season is no secret.
With a disastrous 9-3 defeat to the Dodgers Tuesday night, Corbin has registered a 2-6 record with two no-decisions since July 23. He has not won at home since a 10-4 victory over the Cubs on July 23, and allowed 23 earned runs in his last five starts.
Discussion emerged with the prospect of shutting him down for the remaining 10 days of the season, but Corbin told reporters after Tuesday night’s debacle, simply, “I feel fine.”
For his part, manager Kirk Gibson dismissed the prospect of taking the ball at this point and wait until spring training.
“He’ll continue to throw,” Gibson said before Wednesday’s game with the Dodgers in Chase Field. “I don’t think you can look at (Tuesday night) and draw a conclusion about the rest of the season. He did not execute and a good team made him pay for it.”
As of now, Corbin is scheduled to make his next start Sunday afternoon in Denver against the Rockies. If Gibson decides to keep him in the rotation, Corbin’s final start would likely be a week from Friday, Sept. 27 at home against Washington.
FROM THE WORLD SERIES TO THE BRINK OF ANOTHER SERIES
Left-handed pitcher Chris Capuano remembers walking in the Diamondbacks locker room amid World Series icons.
That was 2003 and the native of West Springfield, Mass. had earned a spot in a clubhouse which he shared with Randy Johnson, Curt Schilling, Mark Grace, Luis Gonzalez, among others, Capuano said he simply struck by the elements around him.
Drafted by Arizona in the eighth round of the 1999 draft, Capuano spent three years in the D-backs farm system before gaining a spot on the 2003 roster.
Starting that season with the D-backs, Capuano appeared in nine games and started five before sent to Triple A Tucson. Eventually, he was part of a trade with the Brewers which brought first baseman Richie Sexton to Arizona and later signed as a free agent with the Mets in 2011 and the Dodgers at the start of last season.
Now a member of the Dodgers, Capuano stands on the edge of another World Series. To be fair, the Dodgers must be successful in the National League Division Series and then the League Championship Series.
As a member of Team USA in the 2001 World Cup in Taiwan, Capuano remembers following the Diamondbacks on their way to the World Series victory over the Yankees.
“The games were on in the middle of the night, but I watched every pitch,” he said Wednesday afternoon in the Dodgers clubhouse. “It was definitely exciting and then I walked into the locker club surrounded by guys who won a World Series. Unbelievable.”
Capuano has traveled a long and winding road to get to the brink of a similar feeling. After stops with the Brewers and Mets, he signed with the Dodgers in 2011-12 off-season, and proceeded to record a 12-12 and a 3.72 ERA in 33 starts.
Yet, his future in 2013 post-season could be in doubt. Plus, this is the third time this season where his playing time was compromised.
Previously this season, Capuano made two trips to the disabled list and now is battling a sore groin sustained earlier this month in Cincinnati. Dodgers’ manager Don Mattingly told reporters before Wednesday’s game that Capuano is slated for a bullpen session this weekend and then the Dodgers will chart his progress.
As L. A.’s fifth starter, it’s unlikely Capuano would get a start in the post-season, and hopes his injury heals so he can contribute from the bullpen.
“I hope to get to 100 percent very soon and give them an option,” he said. “This is definitely an exciting time, and but I want to make sure I’m in a position to make a contribution.”