The Arizona Diamondbacks, who once sat atop the National League West standings this year, did not shy away from a potential matchup with the Los Angeles Dodgers in the NL Division Series. Arizona closer Fernando Rodney openly stated his preference was to face the Dodgers in the playoffs.
Once the NLDS field was set, Diamondbacks reliever Archie Bradley said the series would determine who was the superior team. After Arizona was eliminated, he conceded the Dodgers were the better team.
In July, after his team was swept, manager Torey Lovullo said the Diamondbacks endured a learning process and were better prepared for another meeting with Los Angeles. That appeared to be the case late in the year when the Diamondbacks completed consecutive three-game sweeps of the Dodgers.
There were more barbs and antics that the eventual five-time NL West champions never gave in to. On Monday night, the Dodgers completed their own sweep, dispatching the Diamondbacks at Chase Field to wrap up the NLDS.
Despite Arizona failing to come away with so much as a win, Lovullo was not thoroughly impressed by the Dodgers. “I don’t think the Dodgers played exceptionally well,” he said.
“I’ve seen them play better. They had a great streak in the middle of the season, but they played good enough to win, and they deserved to win this series. So my congratulations to that organization.”
Lovullo highlighted the Diamondbacks’ failure to play to their standards. A team that relied on strong starting pitching didn’t receive a performance from the rotation that was expected. The Diamondbacks rallied in Games 1 and 2 but were held at bay and couldn’t prevent the Dodgers from responding.
“We didn’t pitch particularly well at times. I think there were spurts of good starting pitching,” Lovullo said. “I think maybe offensively we had a little rut.
“This isn’t the time of year where you want to just be average offensively. I feel like at times we were going to get our engines started, but we never could. So I think it was more a product of us not playing well and getting beaten by a team that played very sufficiently.”