PHOENIX, Ariz – In a do or die game, down 0-2, Arizona turned to Zack Greinke to be the stopper as he has done while with the Diamondbacks in game three of the NLDS at Chase Field in front of 48,641 fans in attendance.
Los Angeles wasted little time as they struck first in the opening inning with a Chris Taylor double, scoring on a Cody Bellinger groundout. Greinke was able to escape the threat, however, he did throw 29 pitches to start the game.
Cody Bellinger has struggled during the postseason, and tonight he finally was able to run into one hitting a solo home run in the fifth inning. This was the first career postseason home run, extending the lead to 2-0. With two RBI on the night, he became the fourth Dodgers rookie with a multi-RBI postseason game and was the youngest to hit a postseason home run for Los Angeles (22 years, 88 days).
Bellinger talked about the Dodgers advancing. “We have a great team. To come here and sweep them, beat them on their home turf is hard to do and pretty special.”
In the bottom of the inning, Daniel Descalso blasted a solo home run to get Arizona on the board and cut the deficit to 2-1. It was the second career home run in the postseason.
With Greinke all but maxed out, Arizona’s manager Torey Lovullo decided to squeeze one more inning out of him. Matt Barnes made him pay with a solo home run on the second pitch he saw in that at-bat, extending the lead 3-1. Lovullo talks about his starters night. “Zack (Greinke) got a little tailwind there. He was trying to make some good pitches. I could tell by the body language that things were going good. We just wanted one more batter. It was going to be Barnes, and we were going to start to match up and bridge it to Archie (Bradley). That was my mindset.”
Things started to bounce back for Greinke and he managed to right the ship after the first two innings, Lovullo talked about that.”Yea, he did a good job in several situations. There’s a lot of damage control early on. He kept it at a one-run game. He’s our guy. He was our ace all year long, and I felt like he deserved that opportunity. Once I saw the stuff start to get a little crisper, there was a little swing and miss with slider.”
On the night, Arizona’s Zack Greinke had five walks. He had that many in all of July (5 starts) and 6 in both May (5 starts) and September (5 starts). Clearly, he did not have his best stuff. He did manage to get out of trouble in each inning and did limit the Dodgers to only three runs. His line on the night, five innings plus, four hits, three runs, five walks, four strikeouts, on a total of 105 pitches. Only 62 for strikes.
Yu Darvish for Los Angeles was spot on with his performance. He limited the offense of the Diamondbacks to just two hits, one run which was the home run to A.J. Pollock. His seven strikeouts showed just how in command he was on the night. He threw a total of 74 pitches, 52 for strikes. “He really stepped up for us. He was in command and control from the first pitch working to both sides of the plate. The cutter was working really well. Good Velocity with the fastball and great command. It was just fun to watch him just have his nerves calm and just compete. He was out there having fun,” added Dave Roberts, manager of the Dodgers.
Even though it was a tough way to end the 2017 season, Lovullo was asked about looking back on what the team had accomplished this season. “You look for positives and the silver lining in everything in moments like these. But I’m hurting right now, as the guys are. But for now, I want to remember how I feel because I think it will motivate me. I know collectively as a group we’re going to look back on this year as one that was very productive. I want to start to think positive thoughts, but I can’t quite get there yet, and I’m not going to force it. I will have it be a natural process.”
Let’s all remember, this Diamondbacks team went from a team with no direction to a team with a purpose and a family unit. They went from a 93 loss team in 2016, to a 93 win team this year. “I had a quick second with the gang and told them we have laid a lot of good bricks down on our foundation. This organization is in good hands with ownership and the front office, and I think there’s going to be a lot of successful years in the future,” added Lovullo.
Next up for the Dodgers is the NLCS starting on Saturday vs the Cubs or Nationals winner at Dodger Stadium.