May 27, 2024

Let’s get this out of the way: Nobody expected the Arizona Diamondbacks to reach the World Series. Not us, not you, not even your buddy in Phoenix. When we wrote “Nine concerns the Dodgers should have about facing the Diamondbacks in the NLDS,” we didn’t think those concerns would produce much concern.

The Dodgers, a 100-win team, were huge favorites. The Diamondbacks, an 84-win club, were riding high after sweeping the Milwaukee Brewers in a best-of-three wild-card series. Advancing that far was supposed to be the highlight of their season. Oddsmakers and computers projected the Dodgers to end the ride. Then the Diamondbacks dominated them in a three-game sweep, not even letting the Dodgers take a lead in the series.

Three weeks later, the Diamondbacks are cruising into the Dallas-Fort Worth metro area with a full tank of gas after another upset. Down 2-0 and 3-2 in the National League Championship Series, the Diamondbacks slithered from behind to shock the Philadelphia Phillies with two road wins to advance to their first World Series since 2001.

The Diamondbacks are the first club with fewer than 85 wins to reach the World Series since the 83-win St. Louis Cardinals won the title in 2006. Two years after losing 110 games, Arizona is playing for the championship. The feat is even more unlikely when you zoom in on their season.

The Diamondbacks, once 50-34 with a three-game lead in the NL West on July 1, went 7-25 through Aug. 11. The free fall left them 12½ games behind the Dodgers and outside the playoff picture. They finished 27-19 over the final six weeks to claim the third and final NL wild card. Their 84 wins tied the Miami Marlins for fewest among the 12 playoff teams.

All that doesn’t matter now. What matters is the Diamondbacks, 9-3 in the postseason, are four wins away from one of the most unlikely championship runs in major North American sports history.

Here are nine things to know about the Diamondbacks heading into Game 1 of the World Series against the Texas Rangers on Friday at 5:03 p.m. PDT:

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