Preview: D-backs vs. Giants, 6 p.m., FOX Sports Arizona
Having clinched home-field advantage for the National League wild-card game on Oct. 4 against a yet-to-be-determined opponent, the D-backs (90-66) have little at stake for the final six games of their season. But manager Torey Lovullo is hoping to keep his team sharp, unlike what he experienced as John Farrell’s bench coach in Boston last season.
The Red Sox clinched the AL East with five games remaining but dropped five of their last six games, losing home-field advantage in the American League Division Series before being swept by Cleveland in that series.
“I have a very good memory of what happened,” Lovullo said. “The Red Sox walked into a very hot team in Cleveland. That team was not overlooked. The Red Sox were preparing the best they possibly could. I think there was a clinching effect, and the Red Sox were not playing their best baseball down the stretch.”
While details have not been firmed up since the Diamondbacks did not clinch until their 3-2 walk-off victory over the Miami Marlins on Sunday, it seems safe to assume that there will be few lineup or rotation deviations for last regular-season series against the Giants and the Kansas City Royals.
“It is a natural concern of mine,” Lovullo said. “I want to think of the best strategy to make sure that these guys absorb what happened, enjoy what happened, celebrate what happened, and then get ready for the next step.
“We wanted to check box number one. (Now) we have to make sure that we are still playing the type of baseball that we want to play all season long, from start to finish.”
Arizona will make its first appearance in a wild-card game and its sixth playoff appearance. The Diamondbacks won the NL West in 1999, 2001, 2002, 2007 and 2011 and won the World Series in 2001.
“This is just the beginning,” said J.D. Martinez, whose two-out, bases-loaded single in the ninth inning ended the Sunday game.
“This isn’t it. It gets better. Every one gets bigger. Every one gets more celebration, more bottles. From the day I got here, they’ve been talking about making the playoffs and doing something that hasn’t been done in a while.”
Martinez has 27 homers and 58 RBIs since being acquired from Detroit, including the 18th four-homer game in major league history.
On Monday, Arizona right-hander Zack Godley (8-8, 3.20 ERA) will start against the Giants for the first start this season and the second time in his career. He pitched five innings of one-run ball vs. San Francisco in a September 2015 start, and he yielded three runs in one inning of relief against the Giants last year.
Godley is 2-1 with a 2.77 ERA in his past four starts overall.
Giants right-hander Johnny Cueto (7-8, 4.49 ERA) will start the series opener. He beat the Diamondbacks is his only start against them this season, although he allowed four runs in five innings of that April 4 game. He is 10-3 with a 3.40 ERA in 14 career starts against Arizona.