Series Review: Diamondbacks at Rockies
Doug Davis (Lenny Ignelzi/AP)

Posted Apr 5, 2007


The Diamondbacks were outscored 21-15 in a series predictably dominated by offense, but nevertheless managed to salvage a victory on opening day. A timely hit from Eric Byrnes and four relief innings with only four baserunners allowed in that opener proved to be the highlights of this three-game set.

Opening Day - DIAMONDBACKS 8, ROCKIES 6

After falling behind the Mountain Men 6-5 in the sixth inning of the opener, the Diamondbacks fought back with some timely hitting to score a comeback victory at Coors Field. The bullpen behind Webb did the job, which was solidified by set-up man Brandon Lyon getting Willy Taveras to strike out for the fourth time. Closer Jose Valverde came on in the ninth and after allowing a leadoff double to Todd Helton, the big right-hander struck out Matt Holliday, Brad Hawpe and Troy Tulowitzki for the save.

INSIDE PITCH

The vast majority of the Diamondbacks' everyday starters are young, but they aren't afraid of the glowing preseason predictions that have been bestowed upon them.

"It's good added pressure, and we need pressure," first baseman Conor Jackson said. "We don't want to be the team that's not going to thrive under it. We want pressure, and we want to live up to it."

The press clippings won't go to their head, according to rookie center fielder Chris Young, because, "We haven't done anything yet."

"No matter what's assumed is going to happen, we have to go out there and compete and show it like we're supposed to," he said. "Everybody's been working extra hard, and we're doing everything we can because we know we've been put into a situation where we can thrive."

Jackson, who turns 25 next month but anchors a group of core young players that includes Young, starting shortstop Stephen Drew and soon, right fielder Carlos Quentin (presently on the disabled list), said there's a chemistry within the team that is unmistakable. And he thinks it can carry the club.

"We'll be able to make adjustments and do what we need to do over the course of a 162-game schedule," he said. "This (NL West) division is going to go back and forth, just like it always has, and I don't see anybody pulling away. All of us could be right in the mix until September.

"But if we can be the team we know we can be, we're going to be right there and we're going to be in position to do some big things. I think it's going to turn out pretty well for us."

BY THE NUMBERS: 43.7 -- The difference in millions the Diamondbacks spent last season, when their payroll was $59.7 million, from the amount they spent in 2002, when it was $102.8 million.

Game 2 - ROCKIES 4, DIAMONDBACKS 3 (11 innings)

A fantastic start by Livan Hernandez in Coors Field was wasted, as the Rockies were able to pull out an extra inning victory.

One of the Diamondbacks' concerns entering this season was the lack of proven outfield defense, and that issue bit them Tuesday, when right fielder Eric Byrnes couldn't handle a hard flyball by Colorado's Troy Tulowitzki, and then Chris Iannetta's infield smash bounded off the glove of third baseman Albert Callaspo, scoring Tulowitzki for the winning run in the bottom of the 11th inning. Arizona had taken a 3-2 lead in the top of the 11th when Chris Snyder drew a two-out walk, Callaspo was hit by a pitch on an 0-2 count, and Stephen Drew hit a single to right, scoring Snyder from second.

NOTES, QUOTES

--UT Alberto Callaspo might end up with at least 300 at-bats off the bench, according to manager Bob Melvin, who will use the versatile infielder at second base, shortstop and third base, in addition to the corner outfield spots on occasion. Callaspo will also see a lot of time as a late-inning defensive replacement in the infield, particularly at third for Chad Tracy, which he's done twice in the first two games.

As for the outfield, where Callaspo is relatively raw, according to Melvin. "The balls that he's gotten when he's in right and left (during spring training), he handled pretty easily and didn't look like he was panicking out there or had happy feet," Melvin said.

--LF Scott Hairston, who's getting a shot at regular playing time due to injuries to OFs Jeff DaVanon and Carlos Quentin, made a great throw in the eighth inning of Tuesday's game in Denver to nail Garrett Atkins at the plate and keep the score tied at 2.

--LHP Randy Johnson, on the disabled list in his comeback from October back surgery, threw four innings in a minor league camp game Tuesday in Tucson, Ariz. he again suffered no setbacks in his recovery.

Johnson, who threw 60 pitches, is expected to make two minor league starts -- one for Class A Visalia on April 8, the other for Class AAA Tucson on April 13 -- before joining the Diamondbacks rotation.

--RF Carlos Quentin may table his rehab from a slight labrum tear in his left, non-throwing shoulder to preclude his being ready at some point during Arizona's initial homestand. After hitting off the tee on Tuesday in Colorado, Quentin said his return might be a tad later.

"The best-case scenario is to rehab it for two, three weeks, and I won't feel it," said Quentin, who is bypassing surgery as an option and is working instead on trying to strengthen the shoulder.

Finale - ROCKIES 11, DIAMONDBACKS 4

Left-hander Doug Davis didn't pitch great, but he probably deserved a better fate Wednesday after allowing three unearned runs in the first inning thanks to two errors by first baseman Conor Jackson. Davis, making his Arizona debut, allowed eight hits and five walks with six strikeouts in five innings, but he only trailed by a run when he left. The Diamondbacks' bullpen failed him, however, as Juan Cruz gave up a solo home run and J.D. Durbin, also making his Arizona debut, allowed seven runs in two-thirds of an inning. Arizona has looked sloppy in losing two straight after beating the Rockies on Opening Day.

NOTES, QUOTES

--"The five walks are inexcusable. It can't happen again." -- LHP Doug Davis on his Diamondbacks debut Wednesday.

--OF Eric Byrnes had the only home run for the Diamondbacks following their first three games of the season -- all at Coors Field. He led off the second inning on Wednesday with a solo shot down the left field line and finished the club's opening series 7-for-13 with four RBIs.

--UT Alberto Callaspo got the start in right field Wednesday, his first outfield appearance in the majors. OF Eric Byrnes, who started the first two games in right -- and couldn't corral two line drives -- had moved there from left field to replace the injured Carlos Quentin, who started the season on the disabled list with a left shoulder injury. Byrnes started in center field Wednesday.

--OF Jeff DaVanon, on the disabled list with a sore left ankle and right shoulder, took batting practice before Wednesday's game but is still several days away from rejoining the Diamondbacks.




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