This was a great series. Sure some can point out the RISP issues, but I contend that Zack Godley, Robbie Ray, and Zack Greinke had something to do with that. They are all good pitchers who have battled through problems all year. The DBacks had the 3rd best ERA and 7th best WHIP in all of MLB. They have an outstanding pitching staff. The DBacks won 93 games, tied with Boston for 5th best in all of MLB. They were one win better than the Cubs. And the Dodgers swept them. All year long there has been commentary about grinding out wins; junkyard dog and dirt bag mentality. That team disappeared for a three week stretch, but started to come back with about 10 games to go in the regular season, and showed full force for the NLDS. As a team, they batted .298/.397/.462/.858 for the series. Yes, they left a lot of RISP, but no team scored more runs per game than LAD. The last time I checked, runs scored do not get deducted if there are RISP left on base. Can we just revel in the fact that we just swept a very good team?
People were wondering what was wrong with Cody Bellinger. As it turns out, nothing was wrong. As he has done all year, he adjusted (2-4, HR, and 2 RBI’s) and was the offensive and defensive star of Game 3. Logan Forsythe came up big in the series. People will wonder what happened to Corey, but he still hit .273/.467/.455/.921 and 2 RBI’s. But special acknowledgement needs to go to JT, Yasiel Puig, and Austin Barnes. Combined, they were 16-36 (2 doubles, 1 triple, 1 HR), 4 walks, and 12 RBI’s. They were on base all series long.
Things are going very good when your least effective pitcher is Clayton Kershaw. Rich Hill and Yu Darvish both pitched very well in their starts, even though Hill only went 4. It’s hard to pitch against a good offensive team with a plate umpire who has problems with curveball strikes. No excuses; just grind out a win with your bullpen. JD Martinez was 3-4 in Game 1, but 1-7 in Games 2 and 3. The other big 3, Paul Goldschmidt, AJ Pollock, and David Peralta went a combined 3-33, with Goldy striking out to turn the lights out on the DBack season. I guess FAZ should get some credit for acquiring Yu Darvish at the trade deadline. Hill and Darvish did what they were acquired to do. Alex Wood gets some more time to rest. He will be needed in Game 4 in the NLCS.
For the series, except for 1 ill-advised pitch from Brandon Morrow, the bullpen was outstanding. With the exception of that one pitch, Brandon Morrow did his best Andrew Miller impersonation…3 games, 3.2 IP. Morrow needs to be re-signed. Kenta Maeda was exceptional coming out of the pen. I know he and his agent do not want to hear about it, but Maeda could be a huge staple in that bullpen for future years. Tony Cingrani was outstanding doing what he was asked to do; get the one tough lefty out in a key situation. What more can one say about the best closer in the game, Kenley Jansen, and his two big saves.
Both positive and negative moments are now a memory. Enjoy the moment, because a new season starts on Saturday. The amazing NLDS will mean nothing going into the NLCS. It makes no difference whether it is the Cubs or Nats…both will be tough. We know CK will get the ball in Game 1. Undoubtedly, CT3, Seager, JT, and Bellinger will be 1-4 in the lineup. After that, we will wait and see. I know the NLDS was just one series, and it is only one step to the ultimate goal of winning the WS, but this series reincarnated the junkyard dogs. Now they need to stay hungry and mean for 8 more games.