After last night’s Carlos Quentin show where he hit 2 home runs and drove in 5 of the 6 Diamondbacks runs I was feeling pretty good about life. The home stand was started, we had a small but exciting 3 game winning streak going and we were playing the Colorado Rockies. There was not a whole lot that could go wrong, right? Whenever I ask myself that question it usually precedes some kind of disaster. I fully expected that as soon as those words came out of my mouth the roof to Chase Field would come crumbling down causing the game to be cancelled and as if that were not bad enough, not one single piece of the roof would hit Rally Sally so I would be faced with the realization that she might be invincible. But I was confident that we could overcome the forces of nature and somehow find a way to win another game from the boys in purple and black.
It seems like there are 3 players on the Colorado Rockies that always give the Diamondbacks fits. The first of course is Todd Helton. He has basically owned the Diamondbacks for their entire existence. No matter how bad the Rockies were or how big a slump Helton was in, when he played the Diamondbacks he would come up with a monster game. The local press has been reporting that several Yankees and Red Sox scouts are in attendance at this series to scout Todd Helton as a potential acquisition at the trading deadline. I think the Diamondbacks should offer to pick up some of the salary just to see Helton leave the National League West. The only stipulation I would make would be that a trade for Helton cannot occur prior to the middle of June. The last thing we need is for Helton to show up at Chase Field wearing a Boston uniform or for the Diamondbacks to get to Yankee Stadium and have Helton holding the door open for them welcoming them to the house that Ruth built.
The second player who seems to be becoming a thorn in the side of the Diamondbacks is Brad Hawpe. He seems to get hits no matter who is pitching or where the pitch may be. For a young player he sure seems like he has been a pain for the Diamondbacks for a long time. This series has been no exception as Hawpe seems to have been up every inning and on base all of the time. Maybe the Rockies can make a blockbuster trade and send both Helton and Hawpe out of the division for us.
The final member of the three musketeers that bother the Diamondbacks pitcher is Kaz Matsui. This is a guy who was basically run out of New York on a rail due to poor play. He had lost his job and his confidence. Arriving in Colorado he spent some time last season in the minor leagues. This year though it seems like every time the Diamondbacks face him bad things happen for the Diamondbacks. Matsui is like one of those flies that seem to just annoy you. You want to smack it with a rolled up newspaper but every time you take a swipe the fly goes and lands just out of your reach only to buzz your ear to let you know that you missed. With Matsui it is not just his offense but also his defense that annoys you. Just when you think the Diamondbacks hitters have gotten one through the infield Matsui comes up with the ball and throws them out at first.
In tonight’s game these three players again did what they do best and pestered the Diamondbacks getting clutch hits or making highlight catches. The Diamondbacks matched their intensity and behind a strong pitching performance by Livan Hernandez held the Rockies in check for 8 innings. It looked as though the Diamondbacks may somehow find a way to squeeze another run across the plate and eek out yet another 1-run victory. That thinking though was just a half an inning premature. After throwing 122 pitches Hernandez left a 1-1 game in the capable hands of Brandon Lyon. The same Brandon Lyon who has been superb as the set-up man for the big potato. Everyone just assumed it would be a quiet inning for Colorado and that the Diamondbacks would come to the plate in the bottom of the ninth with last night’s hero Carlo Quentin leading off. It was a great plan, on paper. Instead Lyon came in and began to do his best Rickey Vaughn impression from the movie Major League. He was not anywhere near the plate for nearly every batter. With the exception of Yorvit Torrealba who laid down a sacrifice bunt on the first pitch; every other hitter that inning got to a full count and most of these were a result of Lyon coming back after giving up 2 or 3 balls to begin the at-bat. The number of pitches and location finally ended up costing Lyon as he allowed 2 runs to give the Rockies a 3-1 lead. Once they had that lead it was lights-out Fuentes in the bottom of the inning and the snakes watched their winning streak come to an end. It was a frustrating game probably more so after seeing how tough Hernandez pitched for the first 8 innings. It just seems as though the Diamondbacks can’t put together a game where the pitching and hitting both come together at the same time. I guess that is the price of having a young ball club.