D-Backs looking to hold serve at home
Six years ago, the Diamondbacks dropped the first two games of the National League Division Series in Milwaukee only to rally to win the next two at Chase Field to force a Game 5 against the Brewers.
They’re hoping they can do the same this week, and right-hander David Hernandez, a reliever on that 2011 team, said he recalls the effects playing back at Chase Field had on that team.
“The fact that we were able to relax,” Hernandez said. “We came home to our home field and the excitement that the crowd brought — I remember the feeling that it gave us. We gave ourselves, a chance, and that’s what we’re trying to do. One pitch at a time, one inning at a time, and we’ll go from there.”
One difference from 2011 is that the Diamondbacks won’t be returning home in hopes of getting their offense jumpstarted. They’ve scored a respectable 10 runs in two games, launching six home runs. This time, the onus will fall on their pitching staff.
“As far as the two games in LA, we probably swung the bats as well or probably better than we thought we would,” Hernandez said. “We put up some runs. I think it’s time for the pitching staff to step up and put up some zeroes, let our guys relax and get the crowd into it.
Owings still working toward return
Chris Owings was hoping to be on the wild-card game roster but was left off. The same thing happened for the division series roster. But the Diamondbacks infielder continues to work toward a possible return, should the club advance to the league championship series.
Owings has been logging time at Salt River Fields, the club’s spring training facility, participating in instructional league games. Outfielder Yasmany Tomas has also been active, though the Diamondbacks aren’t viewing him as a potential option for the postseason.
“We want to maximize all of our chances for roster construction,” manager Torey Lovullo said. “I don’t think Yasmany is going to be available for that. I think he’s just testing himself to find out where he’s at baseball-wise.
“C.O. is a legitimate candidate to be on the roster for the next round, and we’re asking him to step up in that environment and do everything he possibly can to get ready as fast as he possibly can.”
Owings has been out since July 30 with a broken right middle finger sustained when he was hit by a pitch on a bunt attempt.
The Dodgers stole four bases in five attempts in Saturday’s Game 2, and the Diamondbacks have thrown four wild pitches in the two games, giving the Dodgers additional opportunities to move up on the bases.
Lovullo gave the Dodgers credit for taking what was in front of them but said he imagines the situation could be different if the Diamondbacks were able to jump to a lead in Game 3. He said some of the Dodgers’ steals on Saturday could be explained by the fact the Diamondbacks were more focused on making pitches than controlling the running game.
“When you’re playing the type of baseball they are (with the lead),” he said, “you can take some chances and you can run into outs, and it’s not going to be as devastating as it would if we were to when we’re behind. So I think the best thing we can do is get ahead, stay ahead and kind of make them preserve their outs.”
When: First pitch is set for 7:08 p.m. MST
Where: Chase Field (Roof hotline: 602-462-6262).
Pitchers: Diamondbacks RHP Zack Greinke (17-7, 3.20) vs. Dodgers RHP Yu Darvish (10-12, 3.86 ERA)
TV broadcast crew: Brian Anderson, Dennis Eckersley, Joe Simpson and Lauren Shehadi
Radio: KMVP-AM (98.7), KHOV-FM (105.1).
Live streaming: MLB.tv will stream the NL wild-card game
NLDS Game 3 lineup
Jake Lamb moves up to the fifth spot in the order against Dodgers right hander Yu Darvish. Jeff Mathis is back behind the plate catching Zack Greinke.
NLDS Game 3 tickets sold out
The Diamondbacks said Monday afternoon that tickets for Game 3 of the NLDS had officially sold out.
The team made the announcement about 3 p.m., several hours before first pitch.
There are still tickets available to Game 4, which will be played Tuesday night in Phoenix if the Diamondbacks can win Monday.
Tickets start at $25 and can be purchased at the Chase Field Box Office, by calling 602.462.4600 or online at dbacks.com/postseason.
Dodger’s didn’t bring their trunks
Los Angeles Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said the team won’t hop in the pool at Chase Field if the team closes out its National League Division Series against Arizona Diamondbacks, a celebration several Dodgers players took part in four years ago.
“That won’t happen,” Roberts said on Sunday. “This is a completely different team and I think we have bigger goals than to jump into a swimming pool.”
Yasiel Puig was among the current Dodgers who hopped into the RAM Trucks Pool in right center field after the Dodgers clinched the 2013 NL West pennant. The celebration drew a strong rebuke from Diamondbacks players, coaches and front-office personnel at the time.
READ THE STORY: Pool party not on the Dodgers agenda
D-Backs need to focus on small goals
For a team that loves downhill baseball, the Diamondbacks are facing a steep climb. After losing the first two games in Los Angeles, they must essentially sweep the Dodgers for a third time this season. But all comebacks begin with small goals.
Start with the pool, where the Dodgers staged an impromptu celebration after clinching the NL West in 2013. That was a terrible breach of etiquette and respect, like pouring chlorine in an open wound. That can’t happen again.
The Diamondbacks can prevent a sequel by surrounding the pool with security guards. Or they can defend the renewed sense of pride at Chase Field by winning two games, where they were just one of three major league teams to post 50 or more victories at home. A place where Archie Bradley uttered his famous rallying cry earlier in the season:
“This is our house!”
The challenge represents a second chance for Zack Greinke, who couldn’t get out of the fourth inning in his first playoff start with the Diamondbacks.
READ THE STORY: D-Backs, Zack Greinke must seize chance for atonement at home
How we got here
Over two nights at Dodger Stadium, the Diamondbacks have looked like imposters. Their starters have failed them. Their bullpen has coughed up runs at inopportune times. Their defense has made costly mistakes.
In losing 8-5 on Saturday night and falling behind two-games-to-none to the Los Angeles Dodgers in this best-of-five series, the Diamondbacks have looked nothing like the team that won 93 games during the regular season. They have looked overwhelmed. And they can’t seem to figure out why.
“It’s a great question,” reliever Archie Bradley said.
Lefty Robbie Ray was erratic in his 4 1/3 innings on Saturday. He walked four. He couldn’t throw his breaking balls for strikes. He had ridden to the rescue in the wild-card victory only three days earlier, but he could not hand the Diamondbacks their first quality start of the postseason.
“It was all self-inflicted,” Ray said. “I was just trying to do too much in situations where I didn’t need to.”
And so in Taijuan Walker and Robbie Ray, the Diamondbacks have watched as a pair of pitchers making their first postseason starts lasted a combined 5 1/3 innings in two days.
READ THE STORY: Diamondbacks find themselves on the brink