2017 National League Division Series 1
|2017 National League Division Series|
|Los Angeles Dodgers
104 - 58 in the NL
|3 - 0
93 - 69 in the NL
The Dodgers and Diamondbacks, division rivals since the D-Backs had joined the major leagues via the expansion of 1998, had never met in the postseason, although, obviously, they knew one another quite well. The D-Backs had actually handled the Dodgers quite well during the season, beating them in their last six encounters at a time when the Dodgers had a brutal and puzzling slump in early September, before returning to the winning ways they had displayed the rest of the year. The Dodgers were still favored though, especially after winning the Wild Card Game against the Colorado Rockies had taken more out of their pitching than they would have wished.
The Dodgers jumped on Taijuan Walker in the 1st inning of Game 1 and never looked back, completing a three-game sweep during which they very much looked like the team that was threatening to set a new National League record for wins before hitting a bizarre early-September slump.
|1||Arizona Diamondbacks 5 Los Angeles Dodgers 9||October 6||Taijuan Walker (0-1) Clayton Kershaw (1-0)||10:30 pm|
|2||Arizona Diamondbacks 5 Los Angeles Dodgers 8||October 7||Rich Hill (0-0) Robbie Ray (0-1)||9:00 pm|
|3||Los Angeles Dodgers 3 Arizona Diamondbacks 1||October 9||Zack Greinke (0-1) Yu Darvish (1-0)||10:00 pm|
Game 1 @ Dodger Stadium
|WP: Clayton Kershaw (1-0); LP: Taijuan Walker (0-1)|
|Home Runs: LA - Justin Turner (1); ARI - A.J. Pollock (1), J.D. Martinez (1), Ketel Marte (1), Jeff Mathis (1)|
- Attendance: 54,707
The Dodgers had their ace on the mound for Game 1 in Clayton Kershaw, while the Diamondbacks were down to their number 3, Taijuan Walker, after having had to use both Zack Greinke and Robbie Ray to dispose of the Colorado Rockies in the Wild Card Game, so the Dodgers started with a distinct advantage on paper. Indeed, they got off to a fast start that had Arizona unsuccessfully playing catch-up the rest of the game. Kershaw, who had had his share of postseason troubles, started off by walking David Peralta, but Arizona could not take advantage, failing to even move him to second. Then Walker came out to pitch, and the sky fell in. Struggling with his command, he issued a lead-off single to Chris Taylor, then walked Corey Seager. Up stepped Justin Turner, and the redhead with the flowing hair and bushy beard deposited a pitch into the center field bleachers for a 3-0 lead before Walker had even recorded an out. And the Dodgers weren't done. Cody Bellinger followed with a single, then scored on a double by Yasiel Puig. It was now 4-0, and there were still no outs. Torey Lovullo decided to leave in his struggling starter, and he managed to get three strikeouts, the last being Kershaw after an intentional walk to Logan Forsythe, to keep the score at 4-0. But Arizona would need to play catch-up.
Zack Godley replaced Walker in the 2nd, and he managed to calm the Dodgers' bats for a time. This allowed Arizona to cut the lead to 4-1 when A.J. Pollock connected for a solo homer off Kershaw with two outs in the 3rd, the team's first hit of the evening. It was actually the first of four long balls by the Diamondbacks against Kershaw, but all four were solo shots, and the Dodgers had managed to pad their lead by the time the fourth of these had been hit. That came in the 4th, as Forsythe led off with a single, was bunted over by Kershaw, and after a walk to Taylor, scored on a single by Seager. Turner followed with another single to drive a run. An error by Godley against Bellinger loaded the bases and Seager scored on a ground out by Puig. It was now 7-1, and Arizona needed a miracle. That did not come, but they did hit a few more solo homers off the Dodgers' ace: one by J.D. Martinez with two outs in the 6th, and two more, back-to-back, with one out in the 7th, by Ketel Marte and Jeff Mathis, not necessarily the team's primary power sources. Mathis' shot ended Kershaw's night, as Tony Watson came in to preserve what was now a 7-4 lead. The Dodgers padded that in the 8th as Austin Barnes led off with a pinch-hit single and Seager tripled after one out. Seager then scored on a single by Turner that gave him 5 RBIs on the night. With a five-run lead, Dave Roberts still called on his closer, Kenley Jansen, to pitch the 9th, more in order to give him work than because he needed a shut-down inning. Jansen allowed a one-out single to Marte and walked pinch-hitter Daniel Descalso. Another pinch-hitter, Jake Lamb, hit a ground ball, but in trying to turn a game-ending double play, SS Seager threw wildly to first, allowing Marte to score. That was it, though, as Peralta then lined out to Jansen to end the game, the final score being 9-5.
Game 2 @ Dodger Stadium
|WP: Kenta Maeda (1-0); LP: Robbie Ray (0-1); SV: Kenley Jansen (1)|
|Home Runs: ARI - Paul Goldschmidt (1), Brandon Drury (1)|
- Attendance: 54,726
In Game 2, the Dodgers were facing one of their nemesis in Robbie Ray, who had beaten them thrice without a loss that season. He did not give up a hit until the 4h inning, but he had trouble with his control pitching on short rest after a relief appearance in the Wild Card Race, issuing three walks, a hit batsman and a wild pitch in 4 1/3 innings, negating his 6 strikeouts. His opponent, Rich Hill, was tagged for a pair of early runs and was removed after just four innings, leaving the decision on whom to anoint with the win to the official scorer.
This time, it was the Diamondbacks who got off to a quick start as A.J. Pollock drew a one-out walk and Paul Goldschmidt followed immediately with a homer to left for a 2-0 lead. In the bottom of the 2nd, though, Ray was a victim of his erratic control, walking Enrique Hernandez to start the inning, then after one out issuing another free pass, to Austin Barnes. With Yasiel Puig batting, a wild pitch advanced the two runners, enabling Hernandez to score a run without the benefit of a hit when Puig grounded to third. The D-Backs continued to put runners on base against Hill, but couldn't pad their lead. They stranded one in the 1st, one more in the 2nd, and a pair in the 3rd. Logan Forsythe got the Dodgers' first hit with a one-out single in the bottom of the 4th, and suddenly Ray was very hittable. Barnes and Puig singled in turn to load the bases. While Hill had pitched well after the 1st-inning homer, Dave Roberts decided to make a move immediately, sending Kyle Farmer to pinch-hit for him. Ray threw another wild pitch, allowing the tying run to score, and after Farmer had struck out, Chris Taylor singled as well for a 3-2 lead.
Los Angeles was ahead, but there were still five innings to play, and Hill was now out of the game. Roberts brought in Tony Cingrani to pitch, and he retired the only man he faced, David Peralta, then the skipper immediately called on Kenta Maeda to come in. Maeda was normally a starter, so he could have given his manager a few innings, but his quick hook of Cingrani was a sign that Roberts wanted to play the match-up game until the end of the game. In any case, Maeda came out firing, retiring the next two batters. The same could not be said of Ray in the bottom of the 5th. He hit Justin Turner with a pitch to start things off, then Cody Bellinger forced him out. Torey Lovullo then turned to his bullpen too, calling in rookie Jimmie Sherfy. He had pitched well in limited opportunities down the stretch, but was not up to it in this crucial situation. He immediately gave up a single to Curtis Granderson, who was pinch-hitting for Hernandez, and Forsythe followed with another single, increasing the lead to 4-2. Forsythe then stole second base, and Barnes followed with a double, scoring both runners, making it 6-2. Not having retired anyone, Sherfy gave way to Jorge De La Rosa, who saw Barnes steal third and then come in on a single by Puig. Puig then tried his hand at larceny too, but was picked off first base by De La Rosa and the nightmarish inning finally ended when Maeda popped out to second. Arizona was now trailing 7-2, however, and things were looking bleak.
Maeda completed his turn on the mound by striking out J.D. Martinez to lead off the 6th, then Tony Watson was called in to record the next two outs. In the 7th, however, he allowed back-to-back singles to Jake Lamb and Ketel Marte to start things off and gave way to yet another reliever, Brandon Morrow, in a double switch. Morrow had not allowed a homer all season, but pinch-hitter Brandon Drury dug into his first pitch and sent it into the crowd in left field for a three-run blast. It was now a close game again, at 7-5, but Morrow got the next three batters out. The Dodgers then got a run back as the normally stingy set-up man for Arizona, Archie Bradley, loaded the bases on a pair of singles and a walk, then when SS Marte attempted to start a double play on a ground ball by Taylor, his throw was off target, allowing Forsythe to score the Dodgers' 8th run. They could have dealt the knock-out blow at that point, with the bases still loaded and only one out, but Bradley managed to strike out Corey Seager and force Turner to pop up to keep Arizona in the game. In the 8th, Josh Fields took over on the mound, but he gave up a double to Daniel Descalso after one out, and Roberts decided that he had used enough relievers and went straight to his closer, Kenley Jansen, not even making a double switch even though he was due up in the bottom of the inning. Jansen did what he does best, retiring the next two batters to end the 8th, then after looking at three pitches and striking out when his turn to bat came up in the bottom of the inning, getting three more batters in order in the 9th to secure the win. Los Angeles now had a commendable two games to none lead. The win was awarded to Maeda, who had been the most efficient of Roberts' slew of relievers before Jansen shut things down.
Game 3 @ Chase Field
|WP: Yu Darvish (1-0); LP: Zack Greinke (0-1); SV: Kenley Jansen (2)|
|Home Runs: LA - Cody Bellinger (1), Austin Barnes (1); ARI - Daniel Descalso (1)|
- Attendance: 48,641
Los Angeles completed a sweep of the series behind a strong start by its prize mid-season acquisition, Yu Darvish, who had been added to the team for just such a purpose. They also benefitted from some timely hitting by youngsters Cody Bellinger and Austin Barnes. For its part Arizona gave the ball to its ace, Zack Greinke, after a rather disappointing performance in the Wild Card Game, and while he pitched better this time, he was not dominant, allowing Los Angeles to win the game.
The Dodgers got off to a good start as Chris Taylor led off the game with a double and Corey Seager drew a walk. Taylor advanced to third on a fly ball by Justin Turner and scored on a grounder to first by Bellinger for a quick 1-0 lead. The Dodgers loaded the bases in the 3rd, after a single and a pair of walks, but were unable to increase their lead when Barnes hit a grounder for the third out. In the top of the 5th, however, Bellinger doubled the lead with a two-out solo homer to left-center. In the bottom of the inning, Darvish allowed a two-out homer to Daniel Descalso, closing back the Dodgers' lead to 2-1. Darvish completed those five innings by having given up just two hits and no walks, while striking out seven, just what manager Dave Roberts was looking for.
In the top of the 6th, Barnes negated Descalso's homer with a long ball of his own that made the score 3-1 and ended Greinke's turn on the mound. Jorge De La Rosa replaced him, and David Hernandez came in to pitch as well before the inning was over, but there were no more runs, in that inning or in any of those that followed. Roberts used three relievers to get through innings 6 to 8, with Tony Cingrani, Brandon Morrow and Kenta Maeda all taking a turn on the mound, and none of the three giving up a hit or a walk. For their part, Archie Bradley, with 2 2/3 innings, and Andrew Chafin also kept the Dodgers from adding to their lead, so it was still 3-1 when closer Kenley Jansen took the mound in the bottom of the 9th. He struck out Gregor Blanco, then after a single by David Peralta, got Ketel Marte to hit a comebacker and struck out Paul Goldschmidt, ending the game and eliminating the D-backs.
- Steve Gilbert: "D-backs ready for challenge vs. Dodgers: Arizona will meet division rival for first time in postseason, went 11-8 vs. LA in 2017", mlb,com, October 5, 2017. 
- Ken Gurnick: "Dodgers ready to solve nemesis D-backs", mlb.com, October 5, 2017. 
- Jorge L. Ortiz: "Why the Dodgers will beat the Diamondbacks in the NL Division Series", USA Today Sports, October 5, 2017. 
|Major League Baseball National League Division Series