PHOENIX -- The D-backs were the Dodgers' primary division contender the last time a menacing Manny went West, in 2008. That time it was Manny Ramirez. This time, Manny Machado.The D-backs, a half-game behind the Dodgers in the National League West at the All-Star break, still plan to show up.
PHOENIX -- The D-backs were the Dodgers' primary division contender the last time a menacing Manny went West, in 2008. That time it was Manny Ramirez. This time, Manny Machado.
The D-backs, a half-game behind the Dodgers in the National League West at the All-Star break, still plan to show up. No demoralization here.
"It's just another guy whose name is on the lineup card," Arizona left-hander Robbie Ray said. "Just another scouting report you have to do.
"It's not like it's Babe Ruth."
The D-backs, who open the post-break portion of the schedule with a three-game series against Colorado at Chase Field starting Friday, made the biggest move for a bat in the division last year, adding J.D. Martinez.
Even if the front office doesn't make a move this season, the D-backs seem just fine with the group they have, believing a return to health for players such as A.J. Pollock, Ray and Steven Souza Jr. will be a big plus.
"Last year, [the front office] did something to make us better, and I imagine they are going to do that again," right-hander Archie Bradley said. "If they don't, the guys in here are good enough to do it. We'll wait and see. Our mindset right how is, we have the guys in this clubhouse and those are the guys we are going to go to battle with."
Dodgers right-hander Thomas Stripling told reporters after the All-Star Game that he believed Machado's arrival would "be pretty demoralizing" to the other teams in the NL West.
"You want to talk about being demoralized, let's go back to May and the way we were playing [winning 2 of 17 games entering May 28]. That's demoralizing," Bradley said. "Another team making a big trade, we have to go play ball. Obviously it's going to make them better. He's a top five player in this game probably, but at the end of the day you still have to lay it all there on the line. You have to go out and compete."
The D-backs have had their projected middle-of-the-order group of Paul Goldschmidt, Pollock, Souza and Jake Lamb in the lineup for only the past several weeks because of injuries to all but Goldschmidt.
"The guys in here, including myself, just need to play the way we are capable of," Souza said. "As soon as we do that, we are a really good ballclub. Yeah, we've had an up-and-down year, but I still feel we are the team to beat in the division.
"[Machado] is a really good ballplayer, but we have a really good ballclub. He's only going to be able to bat four times in a game."
The D-backs were three games ahead of Los Angeles on July 31, 2008, when the Dodgers acquired Manny Ramirez, and they took over first place in the division with a three-game sweep of Arizona on Sept. 5-7.
Ray will start the opener of the three-game series against the Rockies, manager Torey Lovullo said, with right-handers Zack Godley and Zack Greinke to follow. Patrick Corbin will start the opener of a four-game series against the Cubs in Chicago starting Monday.
Greinke (10-5, 3.18 ERA) and Corbin (6-4, 3.24) were All-Stars and went through the accompanying swirl despite not pitching in the game.
"We were trying to give Patrick and Zack some days down," Lovullo said. "They didn't have time off. It's a tough circumstance. We want to give them as much time off and proper rest mentally."
The D-backs will play 12 consecutive games before an off-day on Aug. 1, then will play seven more in a row in a homestand against San Francisco and Philadelphia. They have not announced a starter for the second game of the Cubs' series on Tuesday.
Miller's MRI results encouraging
Arizona received some good news regarding right-hander Shelby Miller.
Miller, removed from his last start because of forearm tightness, did not incur any new damage to his right ulnar collateral ligament, Dr. Neal ElAttrache reported after reading the recent MRI.
Miller will be shut down for another week or so, the D-backs said Thursday. He underwent Tommy John surgery last May and missed the rest of 2017 before returning to the rotation in June. He is 0-4 with an 11.40 ERA in four starts.
Jack Magruder is a contributor to MLB.com based in Phoenix.