Game 1 Notes: Drew on Fire

Drew homers at Wrigley in July (Nam Y. Huh/AP)

The Arizona Diamondbacks may want to change their slogan from "Anyone, anytime" to "Stephen Drew, right now."

INSIDE PITCH

Just be patient. Don't get too far ahead of yourself. It'll come. Give it time.

That's what Diamondbacks manager Bob Melvin kept telling Stephen Drew, and that's what he also told the media members who kept wanting to know what was wrong with the second-year shortstop and his offensive production.

Drew was just fine defensively, but his .238 batting average wasn't a thing of beauty. However, he finished the regular season on a high note, batting .414 (12-for-29) during his final seven games, and opened the Division Series by going 2-for-4 with a solo home run in the fourth that staked the Diamondbacks to a 1-0 lead.

"I've been comfortable for a while, but balls are just starting to fall," said Drew, who also added an opposite-field base hit to left in the sixth during Arizona's 3-1 victory over the Chicago Cubs in Game 1. "Hopefully they keep falling. They've been falling at the right time."

Melvin made sure to point out that the postseason is a time where players who perhaps haven't produced the way the wanted can shine when the batting averages start over at .000.

"Sometimes, for the guys who haven't had the numbers they're used to seeing, to wipe the slate clean to an extent gives you a breath of fresh air," Melvin said.

Drew had some big hits along the way to help carry the Diamondbacks to the NL West title, including a home run in July at Wrigley Field against the Cubs that seemed to propel Arizona into turning around its season.

"I don't look at that," Drew said. "I just play every game and play it hard and see what happens. That's all you can do."

NOTES, QUOTES

--3B Mark Reynolds on Cubs RHP Carlos Zambrano and Cubs manager Lou Pineilla's decision to pull his ace after six innings, after which Reynolds hit a go-ahead home run of Carlos Marmol: "He's a top-of-the-line pitcher. Anytime a pitcher like that comes out of the game, there's a sigh of relief."

--RF Carlos Quentin and 2B Emilio Bonifacio were among the notable players left off Arizona's 25-man playoff roster finalized before Wednesday's Game 1 against the Chicago Cubs. Arizona kept 11 pitchers and 14 position players, including three catchers.

Manager Bob Melvin said he didn't feel comfortable with only 10 pitchers, two fewer than he carried most of the season.

"Who knows? You may end up using eight or nine," Melvin said. "Ten is just a low number, I think."

--1B Conor Jackson on the seemingly pro-Diamondbacks crowd at Chase Field during Game 1 -- many wondered who would be more vocal among an audience also full of Cubs fans: "It was awesome. What an experience for the fans, the players. We haven't had that support all year. That's phenomenal. I don't think I heard a 'Let's go Cubs' chant all game."

--C/UT Robby Hammock made the club's postseason roster, and manager Bob Melvin privately let one of his favorite players know days ago. "I probably told Robby before I should have," Melvin said.

Hammock, who caught Randy Johnson's perfect game in Atlanta in 2004, missed virtually all of the 2005 season because of shoulder and knee injuries and has rarely seen much playing time with the Diamondbacks the last two seasons.

"Just from the stuff that's happened to me over the years, to be able to be in this situation is just unbelievable," Hammock said. "I'm on Cloud Nine right now."

--RHP Micah Owings threw 35 pitches during a simulated game on Wednesday, facing three hitters, as he prepared to pitch Game 4 of this series vs. the Cubs, if necessary.

"The main thing was to get work in and then come and see some hitters," Owings said.

BY THE NUMBERS: .414 -- SS Stephen Drew's batting average over the final seven regular-season games despite hitting just .238 for the year. Drew went 2-for-4 on Wednesday in Game 1 against the Cubs, including a solo home run in the fourth inning to stake Arizona to an early 1-0 lead in a game it would eventually win.

QUOTE TO NOTE: "His numbers are video-game numbers with the strikeouts and so forth. Zambrano the same way." -- Diamondbacks manager Bob Melvin on Cubs reliever Carlos Marmol, who allowed a go-ahead home run to Mark Reynolds in the seventh inning of Arizona's 3-1 victory over Chicago in Game 1.

ANALYZING THE LINEUP:
1. CF Chris Young
2. SS Stephen Drew
3. LF Eric Byrnes
4. 1B Tony Clark
5. 3B Mark Reynolds
6. RF Jeff Salazar
7. C Chris Snyder
8. 2B Augie Ojeda
Comment: This might be the weakest lineup ever fielded by a playoff team ... or at least by a playoff team with the best record in the league. And yet they win. But it wasn't as if they knocked the cover off the ball. The D-backs hit two timely home runs in Game 1 and scratched out another run. That's it.

ANALYZING THE ROTATION:
1. RHP Brandon Webb
2. LHP Doug Davis
3. RHP Livan Hernandez
4. RHP Micah Owings
Comment: Webb is solid, but Arizona will go far only if Davis, Hernandez and Owings step up. Davis was the only one who had a winning record, and he was just 13-12.

ANALYZING THE BULLPEN:
RH closer Jose Valverde
RHP Brandon Lyon
RHP Tony Pena Jr.
Comment: Valverde has finally learned how to channel his emotions and led the majors in saves with 47. Pena was the setup man until faltering in the final weeks of the season, but Lyon provided an effective bridge from Webb to Valverde in Game 1.


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