Arizona Diamondbacks just keep swimming, sweep Dodgers to advance

Oct 11, 2023, 10:46 PM | Updated: Oct 12, 2023, 7:52 am

PHOENIX — Most Arizonans are done with their swimming pool by Labor Day. The Diamondbacks are a chlorine-soaked exception.

By the time they finished their latest aquatic party, they were a baseball team again soaked in pool water, champagne, and a triumph for the ages.

They are a baseball team headed to the National League Championship Series.

Rejoice, Valley sports fans. A 4-2 victory over the Dodgers on Wednesday was more than a playoff game. It was an exorcism. It was a love-in between our surging baseball team and a bandwagon that pulled up outside Chase Field and filled a massive stadium with rabid fans.

Imagine the shock to the visiting Dodgers, a team that seemed to stage pseudo home games every time they visited the Valley. Not this time. When they took the field for Game 3, they were literally seeing red.

When they filed heads down into the losing clubhouse a few hours later, they were both silent and ashamed. Just how we like them.

“To the fans of Arizona: you guys absolutely rocked it today. Thank you,” Diamondbacks manager Torey Lovullo said. “We want to make this state proud of us. We have to earn their trust back …”

Arizona’s fifth consecutive postseason victory was again served up from their new menu: a lockdown bullpen, solid defense, and a lineup that is no longer built on speed, chaos, and death by paper cuts. The Diamondbacks have morphed into a group of beer-league sluggers, and on Wednesday, they made long-ball history.

The Diamondbacks became the first team to bash four home runs in a single inning of playoff baseball. Geraldo Perdomo started the fireworks from the ninth spot in the batting order; Ketel Marte sent a pitch halfway up the right field bleachers; Christian Walker lined a laser beam to the left field seats; and then Gabriel Moreno did the unthinkable.

Moreno rounded the bases in bedlam after an apparent home run to right field, only to have it ruled a foul ball upon replay. Moreno calmly retrieved his bat, and on the very next pitch, he smashed a home run that couldn’t be believed nor overturned.

It was a combustible, spectacular display. It was full of dominance and disdain for the opponent. It thrilled the crowd like nothing we’ve seen at Chase Field in years, and if the roof weren’t already open, it would’ve been blown into the outer space.

Fortunately, the Diamondbacks received clutch pitching performances from most everyone on Wednesday, compensating for an offense that began to sputter and slog after their historic inning. They again shutdown the dynamic duo of Mookie Betts and Freddie Freeman, who went a combined 1-for-21. And when it was over, the Diamondbacks were incredibly grateful for the fuel provided by their new legion of fans, and the organic energy that helped them get to the finish line intact.

After eliminating the Brewers in Milwaukee, Lovullo famously said, “a connected team is a (bleeping) dangerous team.” Now the equation has changed again:

A connected team is even more dangerous when also plugged in to its community, when fueled by a raucous home-field advantage. That is the real story of Wednesday’s victory, and a team that has outscored its playoff opponents, 30-11.

Breathe deep and savor it all. We are a region that has been tormented and traumatized by various fan bases over the years. That’s why it was so rewarding when the Cardinals eliminated the Cowboys from the postseason in 1998. Same with the Suns whenever they eliminate the Lakers. And finally, the Diamondbacks have kicked the rival Dodgers out of the postseason.

“You look at the series, they outplayed us,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said. “There’s no other spin to it. I tip my cap and wish them well.”

Bottom line: You either sink or swim in the postseason. Incredibly, it was the Diamondbacks who look like Michael Phelps. And it was the Dodgers who should’ve brought the life preservers.

Dan Bickley


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