2017 Arizona Diamondbacks
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2017 Arizona Diamondbacks / Franchise: Arizona Diamondbacks / BR Team Page
Wild Card Clinched: September 24, 2017, vs. Miami Marlins
Managed by Torey Lovullo
History, Comments, Contributions
Under new manager Torey Lovullo, the 2017 Arizona Diamondbacks got off to a good start. Following a very disappointing season marred by numerous injuries in 2016, no one was quite sure what to expect heading into the year, but Arizona had a solid month of April, going 16-11, and followed that with a record of 17-11 in May. They ended that month only a half game out of first place, then after going 3-6 in early June went on a hot streak that saw them win 15 out of 18 games starting on June 6th. Because the hot streak coincided with a similar one by the Los Angeles Dodgers, they did not gain any ground to speak of, however: they were in third place, 2 games out when the streak started, and in second place, 1 1/2 game behind the Dodgers on June 26th. The Colorado Rockies were also part of a three-team race in the NL West.
Leading the charge for Arizona over the first three months was 1B Paul Goldschmidt, having his customary excellent all-around season. He was backed by 3B Jake Lamb, who was among the league leaders in RBIs, RF David Peralta, who was hitting .325 and utility player Chris Owings, who was contributing from whatever spot he was asked to occupy on the field by manager Lovullo. Zack Greinke was pitching like an ace again, while Robbie Ray and Taijuan Walker, a key off-season acquisition, were both having breakout seasons behind him. Even Shelby Miller, back from a disastrous season the year before, had pitched well, winning two of his first four starts, before having to undergo Tommy John surgery at the end of April. Closer Fernando Rodney seem to be unaffected by age, as he had already recorded 20 saves by the end of June at age 40.
The Diamondbacks managed to hang on in the wild card race even after the Los Angeles Dodgers went on a historic hit streak in May to run away with the division title. A number of players were major contributors to their good play, but none more so than 1B Goldschmidt, who was having an MVP-type season. The D-Backs finished the month of August on a strong note, winning their last seven games, including being the first team to sweep the Dodgers that season to conclude with a flourish. The final game was an 8-1 win behind the pitching of Greinke, who improved to 16-6, giving him the most wins in the majors with a month to go. The winning continued into September, as they won their first three games of that month to make it a ten-game winning streak, the longest for the team since 2003. Those last three wins came against the Rockies, allowing them to gain valuable ground in the wild card race by stretching their lead over their closest pursuers to 6 1/2 games, making a postseason appearance a virtual certainty. The streak reached 11 wins on September 4th thanks to a historic performance by mid-season acquisition J.D. Martinez, who became the 18th player in major league history to have a four-homer game in a 13-0 win over the Dodgers. Martinez had been red hot ever since being obtained in a trade on July 18th, with 18 homers in his first 40 games with Arizona. They beat the Dodgers again the next day to extend the streak to 12 games, matching a franchise record, then established a new record with a 3-1 win over L.A. on September 6th for their 13th straight victory. They clinched their spot as the first wild card team before long, with Martinez being named the NL Player of the Month for September, his performance obscuring a late-season slump by Goldschmidt that likely cost him his chance at the MVP Award.
Awards and Honors
- All-Stars: Paul Goldschmidt, Zack Greinke, Jake Lamb and Robbie Ray
- NL Manager of the Year Award: Torey Lovullo
- NL Gold Glove: Paul Goldschmidt (1B) and Zack Greinke (P)
- NL Silver Slugger Award: Paul Goldschmidt (1B)
- Ted Berg: "How the Arizona Diamondbacks can win the World Series", "For the Win!", USA Today Sports, October 5, 2017. 
- Dan Bickley: "Diamondbacks trying to avoid an epic collapse", "AZCentral Sports", The Arizona Republic, August 22, 2017. 
- Bob Nightengale: "Diamondbacks' sudden success bears fingerprints of several executives", USA Today Sports, April 25, 2017. 
- Phil Rogers: "D-backs, J.D. serving notice in LA", mlb.com, September 5, 2017. 
- Matt Layman: "Diamondbacks celebrate postseason clinch after walk-off win" Arizonasports.com, Sept. 24, 2017
- Eric Stephen: "Arizona Diamondbacks clinch playoff berth, will host NL Wild Card game", SBNation.com, Sept. 4, 2017