With their win in extra innings on Tuesday night, the Arizona Diamondbacks clinched a season series against the Los Angeles Dodgers for the first time since 2013. Just like that year, it may carry little-to-no significance on the National League West title.
The Dodgers won the division that season, which included an infamous celebration inside the pool at Chase Field, and remain in position to claim a fifth consecutive NL West title. That’s despite losing 11 of their last 12 games and seeing a division lead cut from 21 games to 10.5.
Los Angeles enters play Thursday on a season-high six-game losing streak; both stretches in which they lost five straight games have come since Aug. 26. The Dodgers have dropped three straight series for the first time this season.
“I’m glad it’s happening,” Yasmani Grandal said of the skid. “It might as well happen now instead of the playoffs.”
Although not viewed in the same fashion as clubhouse leaders Clayton Kershaw, Justin Turner and Chase Utley, Grandal has often been outspoken over the Dodgers’ success, ability and confidence. When they trailed the San Francisco Giants in the standings last season by double-digits, he boldly predicted the Dodgers would win the division.
Early this season, Grandal welcomed opposing teams purposely starting left-handed pitchers in effort to exploit the team’s 2016 struggles against them. He spoke with a similar tone in regard to the Diamondbacks.
“This is just another stepping stone,” Grandal said. “I’m glad somebody is trying to challenge us, especially from our own division. We obviously become a different team in the playoffs.
“Go ahead, keep playing your baseball, keep doing everything you can to make it to the playoffs. The more you do, the more information we get. If we get ’em, we’ll go ahead and do it (in the NLDS). We know we’re the better team, we know we’ve got the better plan. There’s no doubt that they play hard, but so do we.”
Diamondbacks closer Fernando Rodney recently expressed a desire to face the Dodgers in the playoffs, under the notion that a series win for the Diamondbacks would anoint them as the best team, because of the praise the NL West leaders have received this season.