After surviving against the Colorado Rockies in the National League Wild Card Game, the Arizona Diamondbacks were immediately faced with questions over their matchup with the Los Angeles Dodgers in an NL Division Series that begins Friday night at Dodger Stadium.
The Diamondbacks won the season series, taking 11 of 19 games from the NL West champions, including consecutive three-game series sweeps. Arizona closer Fernando Rodney doubted whether the Dodgers were hopeful to meet in the NLDS, as he and his teammates were.
Nearly one month later, the Diamondbacks boast the same bravado heading into the best-of-five series. “I just think we have guys that like to step up and they’re not intimidated,” manager Torey Lovullo said of facing the Dodgers.
“Look, the Dodgers got on a tremendous run there, and I think they were steam rolling teams and intimidating teams, and I don’t think we have that mentality. We love that battle mindset. We know that we played well against the Dodgers but that’s going to probably prep them to be ready for a team that’s going to come in and battle them for as long as we possibly can.”
Archie Bradley has animated on the field and outspoken off of it throughout the season. It was much of the same following a game in which he threw 1.1 innings and hit a two-run triple. “As a player, as a fan, as a coach, as everyone involved, this is what you want,” Bradley said.
“You want two of the best teams in the league going against each other, and two of the best staffs. We just match up, and it’s going to be one hell of a series, and I’m excited to get it going.”
Bradley did refer to the Dodgers as the “best team” in baseball, evidenced by their finishing with the top overall record at 104-58. Though, he equally downplayed the significance that and the Diamondbacks’ regular-season success carries.
“Everything resets, everything is back to square one and game one is Friday night, and this series will determine who the better team is,” added Bradley.
Jake Lamb echoed the same sentiment, calling Game 1 of the NLDS a “fresh start.” While the Diamondbacks were unable to unseat the Dodgers as division champions, there’s not a lack of confidence within their clubhouse.
“We’re saying it’s our time,” Lamb said. “This is our year, and we feel like we’ve got the best chance to win the World Series. At the same time, that’s what’s being said in every clubhouse that’s doing it.
“As a team, we have confidence going in there and I think we match up really well. I think at the end of the day it’s going to be a really big series anyway.
“That’s a great team. You’ve obviously seen the year they’ve had. They’ve got a great team over there. But in our clubhouse and with our guys, we know how good we are and we have a lot of confidence going in.”