Arizona Diamondbacks set to play ball in 20th anniversary season
PHOENIX — Just three days removed from their 20th anniversary as a franchise, the Arizona Diamondbacks are ready to play ball.
Chase Field is set to debut the first Diamondbacks game of the 2018 season. After a successful run in 2017 that included 93 wins, a National League Wild Card berth and an appearance in the National League Division Series, the Diamondbacks have much to build upon, and they’re ready for it.
“We’ve been waiting the whole offseason for this,” first baseman Paul Goldschmidt said. “There’s a good amount of build up, there’s going to be a sold-out crowd. It’s always exciting. That adrenaline you can really use to your advantage.”
The Diamondbacks hope to utilize that adrenaline in their Opening Day matchup against their division rival, the Colorado Rockies, who they defeated last season in a one-game wildcard playoff to advance to the NLDS. Patrick Corbin will make his first career Opening Day start for the Diamondbacks and will square off against Rockies ace Jon Gray.
Corbin was tabbed the Opening Day starter in 2014 but missed the entire season after an injury in spring training resulted in Tommy John surgery.
“Everyone knows the story of Patrick Corbin,” Diamondbacks manager Torey Lovullo said. “His ability to come back from his injury and start tonight is a really special story for all of us.”
The Diamondbacks are familiar with special stories after they clinched their first playoff berth in six seasons last year. Although they were swept by the eventual league champions, the Los Angeles Dodgers, in the division series, Goldschmidt emphasized that the only chip they have on their shoulder this season is the same one every other team has — to win the World Series.
“I think every team does (have a chip), except maybe the Astros, and the chip on their shoulder is they want to do it again,” Goldschmidt said. “I don’t think it’s any different than any other year.”
Outfielder A.J. Pollock echoed Goldschmidt, stating that Opening Day is without a doubt exciting but also just one game.
“It’s a first for everything,” Pollock said. “I think that’s what everyone gets excited about. Baseball is underway and you get to play some ball that means something.
“It’s the first game. It’s a little different, it’s kind of built up more than it really is. It’s one game, the season isn’t make or break, but it’s fun. Fans will be excited, we will be excited and hopefully we get a W.”