For the D-backs, the ‘bad taste’ remains in the form of the Dodgers

Apr 2, 2018, 5:49 PM
Los Angeles Dodgers manager Dave Roberts (30) greets Arizona Diamondbacks manager Torey Lovullo (17...

Los Angeles Dodgers manager Dave Roberts (30) greets Arizona Diamondbacks manager Torey Lovullo (17) prior to game 3 of baseball's National League Division Series, Monday, Oct. 9, 2017, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)

(AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)

PHOENIX – It’s the Dodgers so the series is already big, but the last time the Dodgers visited Chase Field, they walked away with a 3-1 victory in Game 3 of the National League Division Series.

The Arizona Diamondbacks would not play another game in 2017.

They had been swept, and they’ve had all offseason to think about it.

“That bad taste that we had maybe motivated us through the offseason to prepare ourselves and get us ready for spring training,” manager Torey Lovullo said, ahead of Monday’s series opener. “But once we hit the ground running in spring training, it was business as usual. We started to forward our thoughts to 2018, and we’re in a good place.”

Though postseason history may not be on the D-backs’ side, regular season history is.

The D-backs enter Monday winners of six in a row over the Dodgers. Overall, they went 11-8 against the Dodgers last season.

“As far as a test or anything other than just being a game that we’re going to try to go win, I don’t know if that’s necessarily true,” first baseman Paul Goldschmidt said.

The D-backs are 2-1, having taken two of three in the season-opening series with Colorado. The Dodgers, meanwhile, split a four-game set with San Francisco.

As improved as the NL West is from a year ago, the Dodgers are still considered, by many, to be the team to beat in 2018 and capture what would be their sixth consecutive division title.

“The Dodgers are the Dodgers. They’re the defending National League champions. They were close to winning a World Series. We know what that team looks like and we want to get to that place, too,” Lovullo said. “We can use (the series) as a marker to see where we’re at and gage where we’re at, but the season is so long I think we’re going to focus on us, take care of our business today, tomorrow and always and see where that lands us at the end of the season.”

Yasmany Tomas outrighted

Over the weekend, the D-backs outrighted outfielder Yasmany Tomas to Triple-A Reno.

The move was more procedural than anything else, according to Lovullo, in that all the team did was remove Tomas from the major league roster.

“It’s not a failure. It doesn’t mean that we have or have not seen the last of Yasmany Tomas here,” Lovullo said. “He is now treated like any other minor league player where you perform and do your job you’re going to have a chance to be considered for a call-up. It’s not a dead-end street for Yasmany.”

The D-backs want Tomas, who is owed more than $42 million in the remaining three seasons of a $68 million contract, to focus on his defense while in the minors. It’s expected he’ll see most of his playing time at the two corner spots in the outfield.

“We believe that defense will win you games. Pitching and defense will win you championships,” Lovullo said. “We feel like we can compliment all of the offense with those two things, we’re going to be in good shape. It’s what baseball is trending to today. You don’t see these big boppers that can’t play defense anymore. They just don’t happen. Those are the DHs in the American League.”

Health updates

Following his season debut, right-hander Zack Greinke reported no issues, according to Lovullo.

Greinke, who dealt with right groin tightness in spring training, struck out nine in 5.2 innings on Saturday against the Rockies.

“He did everything that he wanted to do, and he went as hard as he could for as long as he could and that’s what we’re going to ask Zack to do all year long,” Lovullo said.

More good news, as right fielder Steven Souza Jr. continues to make good progress in his rehab from a strained right pectoral that landed him on the disabled list prior to Opening Day.

On Monday, Souza played catch out to 90 feet and swung a bat in the cage.

“Improving every single day,” Lovullo said. “The fact that he threw today without much of a limitation was a big day for him.”

Penguin Air

Arizona Diamondbacks

Tommy Henry #47 of the Arizona Diamondbacks delivers a first inning pitch against the Pittsburgh Pi...
Kellan Olson

D-backs starting pitching stays hot, Henry’s first W takes down Pirates

Diamondbacks rookie Tommy Henry continued the strong run of form from the team's starting pitching lately in a win over the Pirates.
1 day ago
Pittsburgh Pirates' Rodolfo Castro, left, watches along with Los Angeles Dodgers catcher Austin Bar...
Haboob Blog

Pirates’ Rodolfo Castro loses phone while sliding into 3rd base at Chase Field

Now here's something you don't see very often on the diamond: a cell phone popping out of a players back pocket mid-game.
1 day ago
Arizona Diamondbacks' Cooper Hummel dives in vain for a double hit by Colorado Rockies' Connor Joe ...
Arizona Sports

Diamondbacks recall OF Cooper Hummel, option C Jose Herrera

The Diamondbacks called up Cooper Hummel from Triple-A and said they optioned backup catcher Jose Herrera to the minor league squad.
1 day ago
Arizona Diamondbacks starting pitcher Zac Gallen throws against the Pittsburgh Pirates during the f...
Arizona Sports

Zac Gallen’s terrific outing propels Diamondbacks over Pirates

Arizona Diamondbacks starter Zac Gallen dominated the Pirates with seven efficient innings on Monday at Chase Field.
2 days ago
Edwin Uceta #66 of the Arizona Diamondbacks looks on after an error scored Mookie Betts #50 of the ...
Arizona Sports

D-backs recall RHP Edwin Uceta from Triple-A Reno, place LHP Kyle Nelson on IL

The D-backs on Monday placed LHP Kyle Nelson on the 15-day injured list and recalled RHP Edwin Uceta from Triple-A Reno.
2 days ago
Mark Melancon #34 and Jose Herrera #36 of the Arizona Diamondbacks celebrate a 6-4 win against the ...
Jake Anderson

Mark Melancon picks up save, D-backs rally late to win series over Rockies

Mark Melancon picked up his 15th save of the season as the D-backs rallied to beat the Rockies 6-4 on Sunday to clinch the series victory.
3 days ago
For the D-backs, the ‘bad taste’ remains in the form of the Dodgers