Diamondbacks had great year despite postseason loss

When the pain of the way it ended finally fades, the Arizona Diamondbacks will realize just how successful their season

PHOENIX (AP) - When the pain of the way it ended finally fades, the Arizona Diamondbacks will realize just how successful their season was.

They literally flipped their record, from 69-93 in 2016 to 93-69 this year, third-best in the National League. Outscored by 138 runs in 2016, Arizona outscored opponents by 153 this year.

The Diamondback earned the league’s No. 1 wild card spot and beat the Colorado Rockies 11-8 in a crazy game before a raucous capacity crowd.

Then everything unraveled against the Los Angeles Dodgers, who swept Arizona in three games in the NL Division Series.

“It was a pretty magical year for a lot of reasons,” first-year manager Torey Lovullo said. “… But we’re still aching a little bit, we’re still a little bit frustrated.”

Still, it was a triumphant debut for Lovullo and new general manager Mike Hazen, both hired from the Boston Red Sox.

“We had a hell of a run,” reliever Archie Bradley said. “This is a great group of men here.”

Zack Greinke, in the second season of a six-year, $206.5 million contract he signed with the previous regime, went 17-7 with a 3.20 ERA but faded down the stretch.

He was yanked in the fourth inning of the wild-card win over the Rockies, replaced by Robbie Ray, thereby ruining plans to start Ray in Game 1 against the Dodgers.

Ray had a breakout season and stands as one of the biggest hopes for the future. The 25-year-old left-hander went 15-5 with a 2.89 ERA and 218 strikeouts in 162 innings.

Paul Goldschmidt, twice a runner-up in the voting, had another MVP-caliber season, hitting .297 with 36 home runs and 120 RBIs, but he was just 1-for-11 in the NLDS, the lone hit a two-run homer to open Game 2. With a runner on second, Dodgers closer Kenley Jansen struck out Goldschmidt to complete the playoff sweep Monday night.

“I really didn’t play that well the last month,” Goldschmidt said, “and honestly against the Dodgers, too.”

Then there was J.D. Martinez. Acquired from Detroit before the trade deadline, the slugger went on a power-hitting tear, batting .302 with 29 home runs and 64 RBIs in 62 games with Arizona. He hit a National League-record 16 home runs in September, four of them on one memorable night at Dodger Stadium.

The four-homer game came during a franchise-record 13-game winning streak that included a pair of three-game sweeps of the Dodgers.

Here are some things to consider after the Diamondbacks‘ 93-win season:

LOVULLO‘S TOUCH: From the moment spring training began, the manager cultivated a personal connection with his players. He often used the word “love” to describe the feelings they had for each other, not exactly a word often heard in professional sports.

“The thing that I’m most proud of is the culture we’re building here,” Lovullo said.

WHITHER MARTINEZ?: Martinez is a free agent and he would like to stay with the Diamondbacks.

“This is, obviously, some of the best times I had in my life since playing professional baseball,” he said.

The Diamondbacks, though, are a low-payroll team that probably can’t afford to keep him.

Hazen said the Diamondbacks would stay in touch with Martinez but “it’s too early to say what our offseason priorities will be.”

ARCHIE‘S FUTURE: Bradley was the odd man out in the competition for the fifth spot in the Diamondbacks rotation and opened the season in the bullpen.

He developed into one of the best relievers in the league (1.73 ERA, 79 strikeouts in 73 innings), blowing opponents away with his electric fastball and baffling them with his knuckle curve.

Outgoing and highly quotable, he emerged as the No. 1 fan favorite. His thick, bushy beard was his trademark. Fans bought fake beards to don whenever he entered the game. His triple in the wild-card game is one of the signature moments of the Diamondbacks‘ season.

Just what role Bradley will have next season remains to be seen.

“We want him to have as big an imprint on this team as he can,” Hazen said.

SHORTSTOP QUANDARY: Barring a trade, there will be a crowd at shortstop next spring when Chris Owings and Nick Ahmed return from injuries.

Ketel Marte came up from Triple-A Reno to lay a solid claim to the position and he was outstanding at the plate in the postseason. He tripled twice in the wild-card win and hit .333 (4-for-12) with a home run in the NLDS.

FADING GREINKE: Greinke, who turns 34 this month, was not his dominant self at the end of the regular season or in his two postseason starts.

He made it through five innings Monday night but racked up 105 pitches and walked a season-high five. Lovullo brought Greinke back in the sixth and the right-hander promptly gave up a home run to Austin Barnes.

His big contract almost certainly means he isn’t going anywhere.

HIDE COMMENTS

blog comments powered by Disqus

Click to Read More

Click to Hide

Top Stories

Los Angeles Dodgers' Austin Barnes (15) celebrates with Yasiel Puig in the dugout after hitting a solo home run during the sixth inning of game 3 of baseball's National League Division Series against the Arizona Diamondbacks, Monday, Oct. 9, 2017, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)

Resilient Dodgers return to dominant form, and to NLCS

Bryce Harper is among many Washington Nationals to have played for the Triple-A Syracuse Chiefs on the way to the majors. (AP Photo/The Syracuse Newspapers, Dennis Nett) **FILE**

New York Mets buying Triple-A Syracuse Chiefs

Washington Nationals ace Stephen Strasburg (37) walks on the field during practice at Wrigley Field, Sunday, Oct. 8, 2017, in Chicago. (AP Photo/David Banks)

LOVERRO: If Nationals lose, Strasburg’s absence in Game 4 will be remembered

United States misses World Cup for first time since 1986

Expediting entry is one of the goals for Capital One Arena. Fans have often complained about lines jutting out toward F Street. (Associated Press/File)

LOVERRO: Laurene Powell Jobs and the sound of change

Fans leave Wrigley Field after Game 4 of baseball's National League Division Series between the Chicago Cubs and the Washington Nationals was postponed until Wednesday due to rain, Tuesday, Oct. 10, 2017, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)

Game 4 postponed, but Nationals to stick with Roark instead of Strasburg

Washington Nationals ace Stephen Strasburg (37) walks on the field during practice at Wrigley Field, Sunday, Oct. 8, 2017, in Chicago. (AP Photo/David Banks)

LOVERRO: If Nationals lose, Strasburg’s absence in Game 4 will be remembered

President Donald Trump speaks during a ceremony to honor the 2017 NHL Stanley Cup Champion Pittsburgh Penguins, Tuesday Oct. 10, 2017, in the East Room of the White House in Washington. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

Trump needles Capitals while toasting Penguins

Expediting entry is one of the goals for Capital One Arena. Fans have often complained about lines jutting out toward F Street. (Associated Press/File)

LOVERRO: Laurene Powell Jobs and the sound of change

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell sent a memo to team presidents saying the league needs to move past the controversy over national anthem protests. President Trump had taken issue with billions of taxpayer dollars that have subsidized the construction of professional sports stadiums. (Associated Press)

Trump threatens to kill tax breaks for NFL stadiums; Goodell tells teams to stand for anthem

United States misses World Cup for first time since 1986

Washington Nationals' Bryce Harper takes batting practice before Game 4 of baseball's National League Division Series against the Chicago Cubs, Tuesday, Oct. 10, 2017, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)

Game 4 of the NLDS between Nationals and Cubs postponed

Police patrol the street outside Wrigley Field before Game 4 of baseball's National League Division Series between the Chicago Cubs and the Washington Nationals, Tuesday, Oct. 10, 2017, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)

Start of Game 4 of NLDS delayed

Washington Nationals' Matt Wieters looks down after striking out during the second inning of Game 3 of the National League Division Series baseball game =a=Monday, Oct. 9, 2017, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)

Dusty Baker shuffles Nationals’ lineup ahead of Game 4

Members of the San Francisco 49ers kneel during the playing of the national anthem before an NFL football game against the Indianapolis Colts, Sunday, Oct. 8, 2017, in Indianapolis. Vice President Mike Pence left the 49ers-Colts game after about a dozen San Francisco players took a knee during the national anthem Sunday. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)

NFL to weigh whether to mandate players stand for anthem

Washington Nationals pitcher Tanner Roark pitches during a baseball game against the Pittsburgh Pirates, Sunday, Oct. 1, 2017, in Washington. (AP Photo/Mark Tenally)

Tanner Roark trying to keep Nationals’ season alive

Protesters upset with players kneeling during the national anthem stand along a road leading to Raymond James Stadium before an NFL football game between the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the New York Giants Sunday, Oct. 1, 2017, in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack)

As Trump calls for end to NFL tax breaks, Goodell says players need to stand during anthem

In this Sept. 25, 2017, file photo, Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones speaks after an NFL football game against the Arizona Cardinals, in Glendale, Ariz. Dallas owner Jerry Jones said the NFL can't leave the impression that it tolerates players disrespecting the flag and that any of his Cowboys making such displays won't play. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin, File)

ESPN host compares Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones to a slave owner

In this Aug. 10, 2017, file photo, New Orleans Saints running back Adrian Peterson watches during the second half of an NFL preseason football game against the Cleveland Browns in Cleveland. (AP Photo/Ron Schwane, File)

Adrian Peterson traded to the Arizona Cardinals: Report

Newsletters

  •  Daily
  •  Weekly
  •  Pruden on Politics
  •  Charles Hurt

Find us on Facebook

Find us on Twitter

All site contents © Copyright 2017 The Washington Times, LLC|3600 New York Avenue NE | Washington, DC 20002 |202-636-3000
Share on
Article Diamondbacks had great year despite postseason loss compiled by www.washingtontimes.com