Posted on September 7, 2017, by Bryan Zarpentine
For much of the season, the Los Angeles Dodgers have received most of the headlines in the NL West, and rightfully so. But with less than a month left in the regular season, an extended winning streak has given the Arizona Diamondbacks some deserved attention. With a win over the Dodgers Wednesday night, the Diamondbacks extended their winning streak to a franchise record 13 games. The streak leaves little doubt that the Diamondbacks will reach the postseason this year for the first time since 2011.
“We’re very proud of that,” Arizona manager Torey Lovullo said of the winning streak. “We have hit our stride at the right time, and we are doing things at a very impressive level. It’s been contagious, and you can see the energy in the dugout, you can feel it.”
The most impressive thing about Arizona’s win streak is that it has included six wins against the previously invincible Dodgers. The Diamondbacks have swept both home and away series with the Dodgers, coinciding with Los Angeles losing 11 of its last 12 games. The Dodgers still have a virtually insurmountable 10.5-game lead over the Diamondbacks in the NL West. But the Diamondbacks are now 7.5 games ahead of the Rockies for the top wild-card spot, all but ensuring a playoff spot for Arizona.
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Of course, the Diamondbacks will still have to win the wild-card game. But now they are all but assured of hosting that game. In the event they win that game, the Diamondbacks are likely on a collision course to face the Dodgers in the division series. A few weeks ago, that may have been a daunting task for any team, including the Diamondbacks. However, after Arizona’s six wins over the Dodgers in the past two weeks, the Diamondbacks are confident that they can beat any team once they reach the postseason.
The second most impressive part of Arizona’s winning streak is how the Diamondbacks have continued winning with key players missing. Paul Goldschmidt hasn’t played since Saturday because of a mysterious elbow ailment. The Diamondbacks are also dealing with multiple injuries at shortstop, with both Nick Ahmed and Chris Owings unlikely to return before the end of the season. Power hitting Yasmany Tomas has also been absent since early June.
However, the Diamondbacks have shown great depth in their lineup with the likes of Jake Lamb, David Peralta, and surprising productivity from catcher Chris Iannetta. The addition of J.D. Martinez from the Tigers has also helped the Diamondbacks keep rolling, even with Goldschmidt now missing time. However, some Diamondbacks players say that the team’s recent success is all about attitude.
“We’re not in here goofing around,” Arizona reliever Archie Bradley said earlier this week. “Guys get what we’re doing and everyone wants to be a part of it. I think that’s what you’ve seen where every night it’s a different guy, whether it’s a walk, a hit, a strikeout, whatever it is. No one cares who it is. We just want to win.”
That desire and commitment to winning could extend Arizona’s winning streak even further. After an off day on Thursday, the Diamondbacks return home for a three-game series against the lowly Padres. Arizona has six games left on its schedule against both the Padres and Giants. That schedule sets up nicely for the Diamondbacks to keep on winning. There may not be enough time left to catch the Dodgers. But the Diamondbacks figure to enter the postseason as one of the hottest and most dangerous teams in baseball.