Surging Diamondbacks sweep Dodgers in Los Angeles

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The Dodgers remade their lineup Wednesday to fit in new arrival Shane Victorino, but it led to just two hits — one off the bat of starter Stephen Fife — as the Diamondbacks won 4-0 to complete a three-game sweep in Los Angeles.

Manager Don Mattingly, too often limited to one or two quality hitters in his lineup early on this season, decided to frontload his lineup today. Not only did Victorino lead off, but Andre Ethier was moved up to the two hole, allowing Hanley Ramirez to bat cleanup behind Matt Kemp.

Mattingly’s plan seems like a good one, but Patrick Corbin completely shut down the Dodgers today. Kemp had the only hit from a Dodgers position player. Diamondbacks pitchers were perfect after a Jerry Hairston Jr. walk to lead off the fourth, facing 17 batters and getting 18 outs (A.J. Ellis hit into a double play to end the fourth).

Corbin, who was removed after six innings, was just added to Arizona’s roster before the game. When he was scratched from his Triple-A start Monday, some thought it might signal a trade. The Diamondbacks, though, just wanted Corbin up to replace Josh Collmenter in the rotation. He was stellar today and now 3-4 with a 3.60 ERA in six starts and five relief appearances over all.

Also worth mentioning: third baseman Chris Johnson had a stellar series for his new team. He was already hot before the trade from Houston, but he’s gone 6-for-11 with two homers and seven RBI in three games for Arizona. He even has two walks versus no strikeouts. In Houston, he had a 92/23 K/BB ratio in 92 games.

The Diamondbacks have gone 10-3 in their last 13 games to move three games over .500 on the season. They’re three games back of the Giants in the NL West and 1 1/2 back of the Dodgers.

The Braves cave, a little anyway, on their outside food policy

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On Friday the Atlanta Braves announced a new policy for outside food, prohibiting ticket holders from bringing in their own. This was a reversal of their old policy — and the policies of the majority of teams around the league — which allowe fans to bring in soft-sided coolers with their own food and beverages, at least as long as the beverages were sealed.

The Braves claimed that the policy change was “a result of tighter security being put into place this season throughout the league,” but this was clearly untrue as no other teams are cracking down on outside food like this. If there are new security procedures, everyone else is able to accommodate them without an opportunistic crackdown on fans bringing in PB&J for their toddlers. It seemed more likely that this was a simple cash grab.

Today the Braves have reversed the policy somewhat:

While they’re looking for kudos here, this is likewise an admission that the “security” stuff was bull because, last I checked, security procedures aren’t subject to popular referendum and aren’t changed when people complain. What really happened here, it seems, is the Braves, for the first time in living memory, were called out by the public for their greed and realized that even they have some responsibility to not be jackasses about this sort of thing.

Still, a gallon bag policy is not the same as it was before. You could bring coolers into Turner Field and still can bring them into most parks around the league. But I guess this is better than nothing.

Donald Trump may throw out the first pitch at the Nationals opener

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It’s just gossip now, but Politico is hearing that Donald Trump is in talks to throw out the first pitch at Nationals Park on Opening Day. The Nats are not commenting. Neither are the Palm Beach Cardinals of the Florida State League, who no doubt feel slighted given that the president effectively is a local.

With the caveat that, on Opening Day, tickets are likely to be more expensive and thus you’re likely to have a lot more rich people and friends-of-the-owners in attendance, thereby ensuring a more conservative crowd, I’m struggling to imagine a situation in which Trump strolls on to a baseball field in a large American city and isn’t booed like crazy. He’s polling as low as 36% in some places. He’s not exactly Mr. Popular.

Oh well. I look forward to him three-bouncing one to Matt Wieters and then grabbing his phone and tweeting about how it was the best, most tremendous first pitch in baseball history. Or blaming Hillary Clinton for it in the event he admits that it was a bad pitch.