D-backs executive Tony La Russa proud of team’s ‘readiness to compete’

Oct 5, 2017, 1:17 PM
Arizona Diamondbacks' Ketel Marte follows through on a triple against the Colorado Rockies during t...
Arizona Diamondbacks' Ketel Marte follows through on a triple against the Colorado Rockies during the fourth inning of the National League wild-card playoff baseball game, Wednesday, Oct. 4, 2017, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)
(AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)
LISTEN: Tony La Russa, Diamondbacks special advisor

Arizona Diamondbacks chief baseball analyst and advisor Tony La Russa had a hard time picking out his favorite moment of Wednesday’s 11-8 NL Wild Card game win over the Colorado Rockies in front of a sellout crowd at Chase Field.

Trying to pick out one standout moment from a contest that featured a two-RBI triple from Archie Bradley, four total triples, hits up and down the lineup and the second most combined runs in a winner-take-all playoff game would probably be hard for anyone.

But La Russa was impressed by one particular aspect of the D-backs triumph — what led up to it anyway.

“It was the preparation, the readiness to compete that was obvious from that team from the first pitch to the last one,” La Russa told Doug & Wolf on 98.7 FM, Arizona’s Sports Station. “They got in, what was it September 24th or 25th, they had some days, a week to get ready. It was an incredibly impressive effort by the manager, coaching staff, the people upstairs are all apart of getting that team ready to play, and for the players to embrace it…”

The Diamondbacks were clearly ready to play right from the get-go. Rockies starter Jon Gray left breaking balls up in the zone and the D-backs made him pay for it.

Coming into the game, first baseman Paul Goldschmidt was 0-for-11 in his career against Gray. With one swing of the bat on the first pitch, Goldschmidt reversed his fortunes against the Colorado right hander. A three-run blast to left staked Arizona to an early lead and set the tone for the game.

But David Peralta’s single and Ketel Marte’s triple set up Goldschmidt’s big moment. Peralta has come through more than once since moving to the lead off spot. But after Chris Owings and Nick Ahmed both went down with injuries, Marte filled a void in the middle infield. The 23-year-old contributed with a patient approach at the plate and highlight-reel defense at shortstop.

“Watching him in camp, you really appreciate his skills,” La Russa said. “But watching him at Triple-A, I mean this guy was leading the minor league in hits. I was so impressed with his stroke and his relentless ability to take at-bats.”

Marte was recalled from the Reno Aces in late June. At the time of his call up, Marte was leading the Pacific Coast League in hits and had the sixth best batting average.

In his first postseason game Wednesday, Marte became the eighth player in MLB history to hit two triples in one postseason game. Peralta, Marte and Goldschmidt were a combined 8-for-15 (.533) with four RBI.

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