LOS ANGELES — Two days after exorcising the ghosts that haunted their Dodger Stadium, the D-backs nearly sent the Dodgers into winter break early Monday night.
It certainly wasn’t what baseball expected, as the Dodgers won 100 games and clinched the NL West title, while the D-backs won 84 games and barely made it to the eventual NL Wild Card team.
“Actually, I’m hoping to come out of here with a win,” defensive backs veteran outfielder Tommy Pham said. “We have two, so it’s better.”
Of all best-of-five playoff series, teams leading 2-0 have won 78 of 88 games (89 percent). In the current 2-2-1 Division Series format, 14 of the 16 teams (88%) that have won Games 1 and 2 on the road advance, and 10 of those teams are sweeps. opponent. The last team to lose in this particular situation was the 2015 Rangers, who suffered a three-game losing streak with Toronto leading 2-0.
Game 3 will be Wednesday night at Chase Field, where the D-backs look to sweep the Brewers in two games last week in the NFC Wild Card Series in Milwaukee.
The Defenders announced Monday that Game 3 is sold out. After playing their first four playoff games on the road, they’re looking to the home crowd for encouragement.
“It’s definitely a good feeling to leave here with two wins and it’ll be great to come home,” outfielder Alec Thomas said. “So hopefully the Defenders fans will show up and show up. It’ll be really cool.”
For the second straight night, the D-backs set the tone early.
After Clayton Kershaw scored six runs in the first inning of Game 1, the D-backs gave up three runs this time to Dodgers rookie starter Bobby Miller.
“They’re both great pitchers and things have been going our way,” Fan said.
Late in the season, the Defenders’ offense collectively fell into a slump as Arizona lost its final four games. At the time, head coach Torey Lovullo said he wanted to see more “mature” hitters on the young team, meaning he wanted them to not chase so many pitches outside the zone.
Once the playoffs began, the offense changed, as Arizona’s hitters were locked in from the start, refusing to swing on boundary pitches.
“I think there might be a little less pitching at the plate,” backfielder Corbin Carroll said. “We’ve just done a good job of not getting ahead of ourselves and trying to make things happen. Just take what they give us. Especially in the Milwaukee Series, for example, recognizing that the quality of our hitters is going to determine who we are. Who we saw the next night and so on. Everyone was so supportive.”
Carroll once again led the charge. With Monday’s three at-bats and one hit, he has reached base 11 times safely in his first four career postseason games. That’s the second-most by a rookie in his first four career playoff games, trailing only the Rangers’ Evan Carter, who has 12 this season.
“It’s part of the velocity, it’s the impact of the bat on the ball,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said of what makes Carroll so good. “When he puts the ball on the ground, he has a chance to hit the infield. He controls the area. Even Bobby, the first batter today, he threw a couple of fringe balls, and obviously the moment was good for him. It doesn’t matter too much. He knows how to hit the ball.”
As the D-backs loaded up the bus to head to the airport and fly home, they arrived in Los Angeles with some carry-on baggage they didn’t have when they arrived in Los Angeles — they knew they could beat it at home at Dodger Park, a place that has plagued Arizona for years.
“We don’t want this team to hang around,” guard first baseman Christian Walker said. “We want to put a foot on their neck and move on.”
However, with their talent and playoff experience, the Dodgers are a team to be proud of and will not surrender without a fight.
“We’ve won three games in a row (before),” Roberts said. “We know this club very well. They are playing well and we have to find a way to turn it around.”