LOS ANGELES (AP) – When the Los Angeles Dodgers clinched the first of their five consecutive NL West titles in Phoenix four years ago, they infamously celebrated by jumping into the Chase Field pool, angering a few Arizona Diamondbacks and their fans.
According to Paul Goldschmidt, anybody looking for long-simmering hard feelings from that drama in the teams’ upcoming NL division series is all wet.
“I don’t think anyone cared then and nobody cares now,” the Diamondbacks’ veteran first baseman said Thursday at Dodger Stadium. “When you win, you get to celebrate, and that’s awesome. That was my feeling back then. Those guys beat us. They won the division. Now they’ve done it five years in a row.”
Indeed, that pool party is a puddle in distant memory for the current players in this division rivalry, which finally gets an October chapter in Game 1 tonight.
Arizona spent most of the season pursuing the Dodgers in the NL West standings, meeting 19 times and forging a mutual respect that outweighs any enmity.
The D-backs did a little celebrating of their own Wednesday after their incredible 11-8 victory over Colorado in the wild-card game. Both teams agree Arizona heads into this best-of-five series with more momentum than the 104-win Dodgers, who finished with the best record in baseball even after meandering through a late 1-16 skid.
Taijuan Walker will take the mound for Arizona against Clayton Kershaw after the craziness of the Diamondbacks’ wild-card game depleted their pitching staff.
Manager Torey Lovullo announced his choice Thursday.
Walker is stepping up after presumptive starter Robbie Ray was forced to throw 2 1/3 innings in the Diamondbacks’ wild 11-8 victory over Colorado on Wednesday night. Ray had to come on in relief after ace Zack Greinke couldn’t get through four innings against the Rockies.
Walker went 9-9 with a 3.49 ERA in 28 starts during his first season with Arizona.
Lovullo didn’t announce a starter for Game 2 on Saturday. Ray says he feels fresh after his relief appearance and would be glad to pitch Game 2.