Oh what a difference one day makes. Yesterday live was filled with fear, frustration, and an overall sense of impending doom. Although the Arizona Diamondbacks had their ace Brandon Webb on the mound there was still grounds for worrying since Webb’s numbers this season against the Rockies were not exactly Cy Young worthy. I know I should have had a positive attitude and confident at the Diamondbacks chances but when you are playing a team at home who has not lost since September 15 in front of a sold out stadium and your pitcher has not won a game against them all season doubts do linger in your mind. Adding to the stress was the fact that the second place San Diego Padres seems to be getting stronger every day erasing the Diamondbacks NL West lead to a single game. I’m no astrologist but it did seem to me that the heavens had conspired against this team. But oh what a difference 2 hours and 45 minutes can make to your outlook.
In that brief amount of time the young Diamondbacks hitters took things into their own hands and spotted Brandon Webb to a lead that they continued to build upon as the night rolled on. In typical fashion this Diamondbacks team lived up to their mantra “anybody, anytime”. Tonight the team rode the bats of Mark Reynolds, Conor Jackson, and the suddenly hot Stephen Drew. These three players accounted for two-thirds of the Diamondbacks hits and scored 75 percent of the runs. That was enough breathing room for Brandon Webb who went 7 innings allowing only 2 runs. Very few of those 7 innings were easy. He seemed to battle every time out. Although he bent against the powerful force of the Rockies hitters; he never did break. Brandon Lyon threw a masterful inning allowing only 1 hit. The Diamondbacks were poised to win this game with their closer Jose Valverde coming in for the ninth inning. In typical Valverde fashion he struck out the first batter he faced then walked two batters putting the tying run on base and the winning run in the batter’s box. He struck out the next two batters to record his 47th save of the season which increases his franchise best mark to equal his jersey number.
As the game ended, another game some 3000 miles away was also just finishing. The Florida Marlins defeated Oliver Perez and the New York Mets. In what has to be the most ironic twist to the 2007 season, the winning pitcher for the Florida Marlins was Byung-Hyun Kim. The pitcher who was so unceremoniously tossed by the Arizona Diamondbacks just a few short weeks ago. The Mets loss guaranteed the Diamondbacks a play-off berth. The out of town scoreboard at Coors Field showed the New York game still in progress but the Diamondbacks were told they were in the play-offs for the first time in 5 years. Pandemonium erupted on the field as players jumped around and hugged each other celebrating the news. The fans in Denver were not privy to the fact that the New York game was over and perceived that the Diamondbacks celebration was for eliminating the Rockies from NL West contention. The fans were rightfully unhappy at the perceived lack of respect for the Rockies and booed from the stands. It was not until news finally came of the Mets loss that the fans understood. I can completely relate. No one wants to see the opposition celebrate on your home turf. It leaves you with a feeling of helplessness. You’re happy that they won; you just don’t want to see that joy demonstrated while you are dealing with a devastating loss.
Today the sun rose and seems to be glowing especially bright. Everything seems to be right in the world. While last night was a great accomplishment, the work is not done yet. The Diamondbacks still need another win in the next two games to try and solidify their stake to the National League Western Division title. They can’t assume that San Diego is going to lose any of their games against the Milwaukee Brewers so they have to take care of business.
I hope the team comes out hungry today and tries to put away the Rockies in this game. That would help their chances for a division crown and would also ensure that the Diamondbacks do not have a losing record while wearing their gray jerseys. Their record in the road uniforms stands at 25-26 with one game remaining in gray. They are 15-13 on the road wearing Sedona Red so even if they happen to lose tomorrow they still have a winning record in Sedona Red. That may not seem important but any little bit of luck we can gather going into the play-offs is going to be necessary to reach the end goal, a World Series championship.