Deja vu: D-backs facing elimination at home with Greinke on the mound
PHOENIX — It’s like Yogi Berra once said: It’s deja vu all over again.
For the second time in less than a week, the Arizona Diamondbacks are in a win-or-go-home situation in their own ballpark with their ace, Zack Greinke, on the mound. When they were in the same situation in Wednesday’s Wild Card game against the Rockies, the D-backs came out on top.
This time, down 2-0 to the Los Angeles Dodgers in the NLDS, they aren’t new to the playoff pressure.
“Having a little experience and having the feeling of a win-or-go-home game already underneath our belt, will help us go back and understand that you’ve got to be ready for everything,” Archie Bradley said. “Whether it’s the first inning, the third inning, you have to win this game. You’re pulling out all the stops, everyone’s ready to go and you’re trying to win one game.”
Now, Arizona will look to improve to 7-0 in franchise history when facing elimination in its own ballpark. If the Diamondbacks lose Monday, it will be the second straight postseason appearance in which they were sent home in the division series.
The D-backs’ ace will look to make sure that doesn’t happen.
Greinke faced the Dodgers twice at Chase Field in 2017, both times coming in August. In the first outing, he allowed three runs on four hits and four walks, striking out eight over 6.2 innings and taking a loss. The second time, the D-backs walloped Los Angeles 8-1 as Greinke went six innings, allowing only one run on four hits and two walks.
This third time out will be the most critical yet.
“I (had nerves) before the last game (on Wednesday), but I feel like it helped, if anything,” Greinke said Sunday. “As long as you’re not like overly nervous, it just gets you locked like you’re more focused and more locked in. That’s how it felt last game. As long as you’re not crazy nervous; but that doesn’t happen very often. I’ve only seen it a couple times with people, but it’s pretty rare.”
Greinke knows the Dodgers well, having played for them for three seasons and facing them for many more. With the Dodgers being a patient team at the plate, the former Cy Young winner was asked how he goes after hitters when they’re so willing to wait for their pitches.
“I feel like you guys are trying to get all my game plan tips before the game,” he said. “It sounds kind of silly for me to answer some of these questions.”
It’s just Zack being Zack.
Maybe his dry, steady demeanor is what will help him earn a win and keep the D-backs’ postseason alive, or maybe his personality has nothing to do with his pitching proficiency; an elite skill level that once resulted in a league-leading 1.66 ERA in 2015.
Either way, several D-backs voiced their confidence in having Greinke on the mound for such an important ballgame.
“He’s fearless. He’s on the attack. He understands strengths and limitations,” manager Torey Lovullo said. “I feel like because he’s been our guy all year long and because I know what I know about him, I couldn’t think of a better guy to go out there and execute tomorrow.”
–The D-backs will go up against Dodgers righty Yu Darvish on Monday, whom Los Angeles acquired on trade deadline day this year from the Texas Rangers. Arizona faced him once in 2017, at Chase Field, where Darvish went five innings and allowed two runs on five hits and two walks to earn the win.
–Should Arizona emerge victorious on Monday night, Lovullo said Patrick Corbin will be the starting pitcher in Game 4 at Chase Field on Tuesday.
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