Will the Arizona Diamondbacks Catch the Los Angeles Dodgers?

Yahoo Contributor Network

COMMENTARY | The Arizona Diamondbacks can't seem to make ground on the red-hot Boys in Blue. They are now 7.5 games behind.

With a month and a half left in the regular season and seven games left against the Dodgers, can Arizona catch Los Angeles?

Here are three areas of improvement for the Snakes as the playoffs draw nigh:

Paul Goldschmidt Needs to Hit

Besides a game-tying and game-winning home run in the same game last week, MVP-candidate Paul Goldschmidt has struggled so far in August. He is hitting just .208.

A bigger bat from America's First Baseman is just what the D-Backs need down the stretch. And a playoff berth behind Goldy's bat could solidify a Most Valuable Player Award.

David Hernandez Needs to Pitch

The D-Backs' bullpen has improved drastically over the last several weeks, except for one-time untouchable David Hernandez.

Hernandez -- and his filthy slider -- was once a key part of manager Kirk Gibson's end-of-the-game routine, where the starting pitcher would throw six innings, followed by Brad Ziegler in the seventh, David Hernandez in the eighth, and J.J. Putz in the ninth.

Hernandez was a big reason the D-Backs clinched the division two years ago, and he could be a difference maker at the end of 2013 as well.

Gerardo Parra, Didi Gregorious, and Adam Eaton Need to Get on Base

When the D-Backs were atop the National League West in May and June, Gerardo Parra was playing like an All-Star and Didi Gregorious like a Rookie of the Year.

Those two, along with Adam Eaton, need to get on base so the bigger bats, like Goldschmidt, Aaron Hill, and Martin Prado, can drive them in. Hill and Prado are starting to heat up, but without base runners it's all for nothing.

Even if the D-Backs improve in these areas, they still need to the Dodgers to lose. There's only so much they can do on their own.

Justin Bray, who studies sports history at the University of Utah, has followed the Arizona Diamondbacks since Andy Benes' first pitch at the BOB in 1998. He was an original member of the Andy Fox Fan Club and even risked his life for a Dan Plesac autograph.

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