[MLB.com] D-backs' Taijuan Walker to start NLDS Game 1 - Walker's 6-foot-4, 235-pound listing doesn't do justice to the imposing figure he is on the mound. That and his nasty stuff allow him to work both high and low in the strike zone, which means he doesn't have to work the horizontal edges as much as others. When he's on, as he mostly was against the Dodgers this season, he gets a festival of popups, which have a low hit expectancy no matter how hard they're hit, and ground balls for his infielders. According to Statcast™, he has yielded just two "barrels" (95 mph or greater exit speed) in 46 batted balls against the Dodgers.
[AZ Central] Diamondbacks name Taijuan Walker starter in Game 1 of NLDS - The Diamondbacks appear to be leaning toward starting Robbie Ray and Zack Greinke in the following two games. “(I’m) ready to go whenever they ask me to,” Ray said. “Obviously, they haven’t decided anything yet. But I’m sure that’s something we’ll talk about today and leading into tomorrow and figure something out.” Asked to compare the way he feels Thursday to the day after a start, Ray said, “Not even close. It feels like a day after a bullpen.”
[Arizona Sports] D-backs executive Tony La Russa proud of team's "readiness to compete" - La Russa was impressed by one particular aspect of the D-backs triumph — what led up to it anyway. “It was the preparation, the readiness to compete that was obvious from that team from the first pitch to the last one,” La Russa told Doug & Wolf on 98.7 FM, Arizona’s Sports Station. “They got in, what was it September 24th or 25th, they had some days, a week to get ready. It was an incredibly impressive effort by the manager, coaching staff, the people upstairs are all apart of getting that team ready to play, and for the players to embrace it…”
[AZ Central] Diamondbacks say they won't be intimidated by LA Dodgers in NLDS - The Diamondbacks think they match up well with the Dodgers. At the very least, they won’t be, to use Lovullo’s word, intimidated. “That's a great team. You've obviously seen the year they've had,” Lamb said. “They've got a great team over there. But in our clubhouse and with our guys, we know how good we are. As a team, we have confidence going in there.” “People can portray us as underdogs or (having a) chip on our shoulders, whatever,” added reliever Archie Bradley. “We know how we played them in the regular season.”
[MLB.com] D-backs' Fernando Rodney stays calm, confident - Experiencing Rodney from inside the clubhouse is different than watching him outside it. He's among the most popular players in the clubhouse, and his teammates have never lost confidence in him. "It's awesome playing behind him," D-backs right fielder J.D. Martinez said. "He's an exciting player, and he has those two great pitches that can get anyone out. He's just one of those guys you feel comfortable when he's out there because he's been there. It's like, 'OK, Fernando is out there. We got this game.'"
[AZ Central] Diamondbacks' Ariel Prieto denies sign stealing with watch - Diamondbacks coach Ariel Prieto admitted he made a mistake wearing his Apple Watch in the dugout during Wednesday night’s wild-card game, but he said he was not using it for any illicit purpose. “My watch has been in airplane mode for about two days,” Prieto said. “If they want to take my Apple Watch, take my phone, they can do it. I wasn’t doing anything. I know it’s a rule, I know I missed that, but if they want to investigate, they can have it.”
[Washington Post] Diamondbacks enter the NLDS with rotation issues. But they do have momentum - On the day after their epic, harrowing win Wednesday night in the National League wild-card game, the champagne-soaked celebration of which lasted deep into the Phoenix night, the Arizona Diamondbacks awoke to survey the damage, much like the aftermath of a teenager’s party where the detritus is ankle-deep, the couches are on the front lawn and two of mom’s expensive vases are lying in shards in the corner.
[Yahoo] Diamondbacks ready for challenge that is Dodgers - Arizona manager Torey Lovullo, though, said his team's success against the Dodgers this season is not relevant to the teams' National League Division Series matchup, which begins with Game 1 on Friday night at Dodger Stadium. "I don't know the exact reason why we did (have success vs. the Dodgers)," Lovullo said Thursday after his team's workout. "I just think we have good players. I just think we have guys that like to step up and they're not intimidated. Look, the Dodgers got on a tremendous run there, and I think they were steamrolling teams and intimidating teams, and I don't think we have that mentality. We love that battle mindset. We love that challenge."
[Arizona Sports] Archie Bradley dares fan to go through with face tattoo of Archie Bradley - With pitcher Archie Bradley at the plate and two runners on in the Diamondbacks’ NL Wild Card win on Wednesday, an Arizona fan tweeted a promise to get the reliever’s face tattooed on his back — only if the D-backs reliever drove in a run. Not only did Bradley become the first player in MLB history to enter a postseason game as a relief pitcher and hit a triple, the 25-year-old responded to fan Jeff Buss on Twitter after the Diamondbacks clinched an NLDS berth.
[SI] Astros Crush Chris Sale En Route to Game 1 Win Against Red Sox - We knew this going into it, but it was fun to see it borne out so quickly: Altuve is the best (and most fun) player in this series, if not the whole playoff field. Two years ago, in his first postseason, he hit .136 as the Astros fell to the eventual champion Royals in the ALDS. “Now we know how it feels to be there,” he said on Wednesday. If experience is all he needed, the other seven teams have their work cut out for him. He became the ninth player in history—after the likes of Albert Pujols, George Brett and Babe Ruth—to hit three home runs in a playoff game.
[ESPN] Trevor Bauer gives Cleveland Indians a 1-0 series lead - Even as some people wondered about his decision to start Trevor Bauer over Corey Kluber in the series opener against the New York Yankees, Francona clearly had earned the benefit of the doubt. By the end of the evening, the Cleveland Indians' manager had added another line to his reputation as a genius, Bauer was a local hero, and the Indians maintained the roll that established them as baseball’s dominant team through the final month of the regular season.