D-backs with "good bricks" for building after NLDS sweep
By JOSE M. ROMERO, Associated Press
PHOENIX (AP) — Archie Bradley walked off the mound after another scoreless relief outing and tried to appreciate the moment.
Arizona’s season ended in a 3-1 defeat Monday night to the Los Angeles Dodgers in Game 3 of an NL Division Series, and Bradley wanted to soak it in. The young, bearded hurler has become a local favorite for his hard-nosed, emotional style, and with his 2 2/3 innings complete, he got a chance to take note of the atmosphere.
“Even though we were losing, I just wanted to look up and enjoy a baseball game. Be a part of something bigger than the regular season and bigger than yourself,” Bradley said. “It was a fun time, I wish we could’ve won.”
The Diamondbacks went from 69-93 a year ago to 93-69, a wild-card game win over Colorado and a place in the NLDS. They did so under new management on the field and in the front office, and became one of the surprises of the MLB season with their unexpected success.
Not long after the final out of Game 3, players embraced and congratulated each other in the Diamondbacks clubhouse. There was the sadness of being swept and the season being over, but plenty of smiles at memories of a successful year few expected.
Manager Torey Lovullo’s family atmosphere clearly made a big difference with the young club.
“We have laid a lot of good bricks down on our foundation,” Lovullo said. “This organization is in good hands with ownership and the front office, and I think there’s going to be a lot of successful years in the future.”
The Diamondbacks will have some decisions to make on free agents in the offseason, most notably slugging outfielder J.D. Martinez, who arrived via trade with Detroit in July and hit .302 with 29 home runs and 65 runs batted in over 62 games with Arizona.
Martinez expressed a desire to remain in the desert and be part of a power-hitting lineup that includes MVP candidate Paul Goldschmidt and young slugger Jake Lamb.
“You look at this team from the outside and it’s kind of like, let’s watch these guys because they’re going to keep growing,” Martinez said. “This team was great. This is obviously some of the best times I’ve ever had in my life playing professional baseball. … Obviously I would love to come back, but I don’t know what the future holds or where God wants me to go. But hope it’s here.”
Many more Diamondbacks had successful seasons and figure to be part of the core group going forward. David Peralta hit .293 out of the leadoff spot in 2017, his vocal leadership a key part of the dugout and clubhouse atmosphere. The young starting rotation came of age fast, with All-Star Robbie Ray having a breakout campaign going 15-5 and Patrick Corbin and Taijuan Walker combining for 23 wins.
Veteran Daniel Descalso, who provided a major boost off the bench and as a part-time starting second baseman this season, said the Diamondbacks can still get better.
Elimination came too quickly, but Descalso was proud of the season the Diamondbacks had.
“Odds are that this exact same group will probably never be together again, so it was a pleasure to be a part of this group,” Descalso said. “We battled and we became a family, and we had a lot of fun.”
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