Diamondbacks clinch a spot in the NL wild-card game

Big League Stew

The Arizona Diamondbacks are headed to the postseason after securing a spot in the National League wild-card game. And even though they were on the field playing a game when it happened, the celebration was still plenty sweet after they pulled off a dramatic walk-off win.

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The D-backs clinched Sunday afternoon, when the St. Louis Cardinals and Milwaukee Brewers each lost their games, giving the D-backs one of the two NL wild-card spots. They were playing at the time. But then the D-backs pulled off a 3-2 walk-off win over the Miami Marlins when J.D. Martinez hit a two-out, bases-loaded single to left field. The D-backs flooded onto the field to celebrate.

With their win Sunday, the D-backs assured that they’ll host the NL wild-card game in Phoenix. The Colorado Rockies, a D-backs division foe, seem most likely to meet them in the NL wild-card game. The Rockies have a game and a half lead over the Milwaukee Brewers for the final NL playoff spot. The St. Louis Cardinals are two games back.

Chris Owings celebrates after the D-backs win. They clinched a wild-card berth Sunday. (Getty Images)
Chris Owings celebrates after the D-backs win. They clinched a wild-card berth Sunday. (Getty Images)

This marks the first time the D-backs have made the postseason since 2011. They seemed poised to contend for a playoff each of the last two seasons as well, but fell well short of expectations. Last season, they lost 93 games despite a bold offseason that had many thinking they might be postseason contenders. That resulted in sweeping changes, including the hiring of general manager Mike Hazen and manager Torey Lovullo. Together, they’ve helped Arizona develop into a team that could be very dangerous should it advance into the NLDS.

We know one thing about the D-backs: They’re not afraid of the Dodgers. Arizona won 11 of 19 matchups against the NL West champions, including a pair of sweeps in their two most recent series. That was in the midst of Arizona’s 13-game winning streak.

The offense had been led by perennial MVP candidate Paul Goldschmidt. He’s putting together another strong case as he closes in on career highs in home runs and RBIs. He’s not alone though. Arizona made a massive addition at the trade deadline, acquiring J.D. Martinez from Detroit. All he’s done since then is hit 27 homers in 56 games. With Jake Lamb, A.J. Pollock and David Peralta all having solid seasons, Arizona might have the NL’s most well-rounded offense.

Arizona’s starting pitching has been tremendous as well. Zack Greinke is still the ace, and will likely get the ball in the do-or-die wild card, but Lovullo has some other good options in Robbie Ray, Taijuan Walker and Patrick Corbin. Ray, in particular, has enjoyed a breakout season. He should get some Cy Young votes.

Arizona is a darn good team that’s ready to make some noise. The only question left now is who will they face on Oct. 4.

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Mark Townsend is a writer for Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at bigleaguestew@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!

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