PHOENIX -- The D-backs qualified for the postseason for the first time since 2011, but they have their sights set much higher than that."It was fun," D-backs first baseman Paul Goldschmidt said the night the team clinched a National League Wild Card spot. "We know our ultimate goal isn't to
PHOENIX -- The D-backs qualified for the postseason for the first time since 2011, but they have their sights set much higher than that.
"It was fun," D-backs first baseman Paul Goldschmidt said the night the team clinched a National League Wild Card spot. "We know our ultimate goal isn't to just make the playoffs. But we've been working hard and it's a long season -- so definitely take some time to enjoy getting into the playoffs and get back to work."
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Yes, they are aware that after hosting Wednesday's NL Wild Card Game they will not have home-field advantage in any series, but the franchise's second World Series title is not out of the question, and here are three reasons why:
1. One-two punch
Right-hander Zack Greinke and lefty Robbie Ray form one of the better one-two starting combinations in baseball, and having two dominant starting pitchers is key in the postseason. Greinke will get the start in the NL Wild Card Game, and with the exception of one start, the right-hander has been outstanding at home this year. In a five-game NL Division Series, as well as the seven-game NL Championship Series and World Series, Ray and Greinke could start three or possibly four games. That gives Arizona a big advantage. Greinke has postseason experience with the Brewers and Dodgers, while Ray's swing-and-miss stuff is perfect for the postseason.
2. Adjusting offense
With Goldschmidt and J.D. Martinez -- not to mention A.J. Pollock, Jake Lamb and David Peralta -- there's no question the D-backs have a strong lineup. Aside from Martinez, all those players have been together for a number of years, and one thing they've gotten good at is what manager Torey Lovullo calls "linking at-bats." In other words, they are able to communicate as a group after at-bats to make sure that the next hitter understands exactly what a pitcher might be featuring. It was one of the big reasons Arizona's offensive numbers jumped the second time through the batting order this year.
Bradley, the seventh overall pick in the 2011 Draft, was a starter up until this season, when the team shifted him to the bullpen. He has thrived in the role, dominating opposing hitters in the eighth inning before putting the game in closer Fernando Rodney's hands. Given Bradley's background as a starter, the D-backs could end up using him like the Indians did Andrew Miller last season. That is, bring Bradley in for a crucial time through the order in the sixth or seventh and let him throw multiple innings, thereby shortening the game. He is also insurance in case Rodney hits a rough patch, which he's done a few times this season.
Steve Gilbert has covered the D-backs for MLB.com since 2001. Follow him on Twitter @SteveGilbertMLB.