The Diamondbacks entered Monday’s game with 90 wins and an 82nd home game in their pocket.
It means one of best times of the year returns to Arizona.
There is just something about it. The cool temps, the shadows, the red-white-and-blue bunting. It’s a special time in sports.
For the first time since 2011 and sixth time in franchise history, Diamondbacks get to participate.
It comes a year after winning just 69 games in 2016 when some were calling for the Dbacks to be a sleeper.
Then promptly went into hibernation.
They’ve certainly woke up this year, and it started early with a home sweep of the defending American League champion Cleveland Indians.
Other than a little bit of a hiccup after the All-Star Break the Diamondbacks have been playing at a pretty a high level all year.
Here are my top five reasons, in no order, the Diamondbacks won at least 20 more times than year before to host a one-game playoff game on Wednesday, Oct. 4.
- Archie Bradley – He started the year out as a gap reliever, being used at high pressure spots that became all the rage last postseason, but eventually became the eighth inning guy while developing into one the game’s most dominant pitchers.
- Mike Hazen – The general manager is being lauded for striking early and getting J.D. Martinez, but it is the 25-man roster that really shows what he did. The role players like Daniel Descalso, Chris Iannetta, Ketel Marte, TJ McFarland and a few others was just as important.
- Robbie Ray – The development of this left-handed starter as a No. 2, maybe even 1B, behind Zach Greinke, has been huge. He shuts down the opposition, and his own bullpen, after struggling with pitch counts a year ago.
- Torey Lovullo – He has done a great job and you’d never know it was his first managerial job. There have been some questions on the use of the bullpen and leaving a starter in a tad too long, but that happens over 162 games. He has been direct, consistent and huge influence on the players.
- J.D. Martinez – He has been absolutely killing the ball with some comparing him to some of the best trade deadline acquisitions in the history of the game. In 57 games, he has hit .294 with 27 home runs and 58 RBIs to lengthen the lineup and provide LifeLock type protection for Paul Goldschmidt in the lineup.
– Jason P. Skoda is a senior writer for MyNewsMesa.com. Send Mesa-based story ideas to firstname.lastname@example.org.