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PHOENIX (AP) — The Arizona Diamondbacks opened the season with the NL’s best record in April and stayed near the top of the NL West most of the season http://www.stlouiscardinalsteamshop.com/authentic-marcell-ozuna-jersey , leading the division at the beginning of every month.A September swoon knocked them quickly out of contention.Plagued by bullpen blowups, untimely hitting slumps and a bit of trying too hard, the Diamondbacks finished a once-promising season 82-80. Arizona had a winning record in consecutive seasons for the first time since 2007-08, but finishing nine games back in the NL West was not what the Diamondbacks had in mind after ending a five-year playoff-less streak last season.“We’re not where we need to be right now, clearly,” Diamondbacks GM Mike Hazen said Monday. “There were certainly some good things that happened this season, but it wasn’t what we envisioned in terms of what our goals were. Our goal was to go out and compete for a World Series championship and we didn’t do that.”Despite a string of injuries to key players and a couple of summer slumps, Arizona entered September with a one-game lead in the NL West. The Diamondbacks opened the month with three straight losses and finished it 8-19 to drop out of playoff contention.Arizona’s bullpen, reliable most of the season, went into a funk in September, blowing numerous leads. The Diamondbacks’ lineup went flat, producing most of its runs in early innings before going quiet late in games.And, as the pressure built, the Diamondbacks seemed to try too hard to get that big hit or out, often digging the hole even deeper.“When you try so hard to get something and you can’t reach it, it just ends up backing up on you,” Diamondbacks manager Torey Lovullo said.Now the Diamondbacks face a decision: Rebuild or retool slightly.Arizona certainly needs to make changes and could potentially lose two key players in left-hander Patrick Corbin and outfield A.J. Pollock to free agency. The Diamondbacks have to decide if they’re only a couple players away from being contenders again or overhaul the roster.“We need to objectively look at what our circumstances are Paul DeJong Jersey , what the landscape’s going to be, where we feel like the talent is going to be on our roster, what we can do conceivably to make moves to improve our roster,” Hazen said. “Clearly, we need to improve our roster.”Other things to know about the Diamondbacks’ season:MAGADAN OUTThe Diamondbacks mutually agreed to part ways with hitting coach Dave Magadan on Monday, ending his three-year stint in the desert. Arizona was one of baseball’s worst-hitting teams at .235 this season and has dropped its average each of the past three seasons. The rest of Lovullo’s staff will remain.INJURIESThe Diamondbacks had more than their fair share of injuries.Right-hander Taijuan Walker, a member of the opening day rotation, made three starts before needing season-ending Tommy John surgery. Starting third baseman Jake Lamb had season-ending shoulder surgery in early August. Pollock, fellow outfield Steven Souza Jr. and left-hander Robbie Ray each had stints on the DL.CORBIN AND POLLOCKCorbin was an All-Star and Pollock has put up big numbers when he’s been healthy. The Diamondbacks may not be able to afford either. Corbin is coming off his best season, going 11-7 with a 3.15 ERA while logging 200 innings for the second time in his career. He will be one of the top free-agent targets for teams this offseason. Pollock hit 21 home runs in an injury-plagued 2018 season and was an All-Star in 2015. Arizona will have two big holes to fill if both leave.GOLDSCHMIDT’S SEASONAll-Star first baseman Paul Goldschmidt had another productive season, finishing with 33 homers and 83 RBIs while hitting .290. But the year didn’t start or end well for him. Goldschmidt had an abysmal first two months of the season and, after a big rebound, closed with a thud, going 7 for 41 with 18 strikeouts over the final 12 games. Goldschmidt, Arizona’s best and most popular player, enters the final year of his contract in 2019, so the Diamondbacks face a big decision. LOS ANGELES (AP) — This was one rerun Dodgers fans were happy to watch again. Matt Kemp beat the Diamondbacks for the second straight game lex Reyes Jersey , hitting a two-run double in the ninth inning that lifted Los Angeles over Arizona 3-2 Sunday for sole possession of first place in the NL West.A day after Kemp launched a go-ahead, three-run homer in the eighth against Archie Bradley, the Dodgers slugger tagged him again on the first pitch to break a tie for the division lead.“When I was walking up to the plate they showed what I did last night,” Kemp said. “He threw a fastball that was pretty much in and I got the barrel on it and made something happen.”Kemp chucked his helmet in the air rounding second base and his teammates chased him down for a wild celebration along the third-base line.“I’m a little upset right now,” Bradley said.Bradley also a message for Arizona rooters: “To our fans, don’t panic. It’s only one loss.”But a costly one. The D-backs dropped a game back of the Dodgers and Rockies, who beat San Diego 4-2.The Dodgers were 4 1/2 games out of first after a loss on Aug. 22, but have gone 8-1 in their last nine games to regain the division lead for the first time since Aug. 7.“Just grinding, not panicking,” Kemp said.The Dodgers beat the Diamondbacks by identical 3-2 scores three days in a row, after Arizona won the series opener at Dodger Stadium.“We had our mojo back, but this series clarified that,” Cody Bellinger said.Brad Boxberger (2-5) started the ninth and put the potential tying and go-ahead runs on with consecutive walks to pinch-hitter Alex Verdugo and Max Muncy. The runners advanced on Enrique Hernandez’s sacrifice bunt and set up Kemp, who pinch-hit in the seventh and stayed in the game.“That’s why we call him Hollywood,” Bellinger said. “He likes the big moments.”Arizona manager Torey Lovullo said he considered walking Kemp, but wanted to avoid pitching to Justin Turner and Manny Machado.“I brought in Archie because I thought it would be a good spot (after Saturday’s game),” Lovullo said. “He’s been doing it for us all season Evan Longoria Jersey , but Kemp has our number.” Daniel Descalso homered leading off the ninth to put Arizona ahead 2-1. Descalso went deep to center field off Caleb Ferguson with the ball just eluding Bellinger’s glove as he reached over the wall.“This loss stings a bit because we clawed our way back and took the lead,” Descalso said. “There has been a lot of low-scoring games and that’s the way it is when it’s high stress and you’re in a pennant race. You’re not going to blow out too many teams.”Kenley Jansen (1-5) took over for Ferguson and got three outs.“That was crazy,” Jansen said.The D-backs tied it at 1 on Alex Avila’s bases-loaded sacrifice fly in the seventh.Rookie Walker Buehler gave up a leadoff single to Paul Goldschmidt and a one-out walk to Descalso. Ryan Madson came on in his Dodgers debut after being acquired from the Nationals and promptly loaded the bases on a walk to Ketel Marte.Bellinger caught Avila’s fly and fired home. Goldschmidt’s left leg caught the corner of the plate before catcher Yasmani Grandal tagged his upper body.Goldschmidt was called out, but Arizona challenged it. After a 2 1/2-minute review, it was overturned, tying the game as Dodgers fans booed.Muncy hit his 31st homer leading off the fifth for a 1-0 lead. The ball landed in the D-backs’ bullpen in right, ending Arizona starter Clay Buchholz’s streak of not allowing a run at 19 innings.Buehler allowed one run and two hits in 6 1/3 innings. He tied his career high with nine strikeouts and walked three. He had two of the Dodgers’ five hits, getting a pair of singles.TRAINER’S ROOMDodgers: Recalled RHP Brock Stewart from Triple-A Oklahoma City and placed him on 60-day DL with a right oblique strain. … RHP Ross Stripling (low back inflammation) had a bullpen in which he threw 20 pitches, rested and then threw another 25. He’s set for a simulated game Wednesday against Dodgers hitters and could be activated late next week.FIRST TIMEThe Dodgers earned their first-ever four-game series win over Arizona at Dodger Stadium. They improved to 7-9 against the D-backs. The teams play again Sept. 24-26 in Phoenix.RARE STUMBLEArizona ended its California trip going 2-5 against the Giants and Dodgers. The D-backs have lost three in a row for the first time since July 15-21, and have lost six of their last nine away from home.GOLDY STILL GOINGGoldschmidt singled in the first to extend his streak of reaching base to a club-record 45 straight road games, tied with Houston’s Alex Bregman for the longest such stretch by a major leaguer this season.UP NEXTD-backs: RHP Zack Godley (14-7, 4.42 ERA) starts Monday at San Diego in the opener of a two-game set. He is just shy of career highs in innings and strikeouts.Dodgers: LHP Alex Wood (8-6, 3.42) starts Monday in the opener of a three-game series against the Mets and RHP Jacob deGrom (9-8, 1.68).
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