The Diamondbacks have lost the first two games of the National
League Championship Series, and despite all the promise of youth for a team
that won 90 games and a NL West Division title at least a year or two
before most observers could have expected, another loss could be at
Could Arizona be on the verge of losing two-time Gold Glove
Award-winning second baseman Orlando Hudson, whom Arizona already is missing
because of season-ending thumb surgery?
Hudson, the effervescent backbone of this Diamondbacks team in many
ways, from his enthusiasm and athleticism to his leadership and
commercialism, conceded before Arizona's loss in Game 2 against the Colorado Rockies that there's a chance he might not be back next season.
Though Diamondbacks fans would expect management to do what it did
with outfielder Eric Byrnes not so long ago and sign Hudson to a
multi-year contract extension to keep another veteran presence around a young
team that is brimming with confidence, Hudson isn't so sure it will
He looks at the likes of Augie Ojeda, who has filled in admirably at
second base in Hudson's absence, and the super speedy prospect Emilio Bonifacio, who could beckon for more playing time at the position, too,
after a stellar minor league season and call-up to the majors late in
the season. To Hudson, it all adds up to one thing: He could be traded
in the offseason.
"If that's the case, then that's the case," Hudson told The Arizona
Republic on Friday. "Then I have to move on. I'll still have much love
for Augie. He's a great dude, a great teammate, a great guy to have on
a team. And I told him things happen for a reason.
"The man wouldn't be playing if I was healthy. He wouldn't be doing
the things he's doing now, and maybe God has shown a sign that this man
here can still play the game. I ain't got nothing but love for the
man. So if it's him that gets the deal and plays here, a big hug and a
kiss. I'll move on."
Right now, the chances are even greater that the Rockies will move
on and advance to the World Series for the first time in their history.
No team has ever lost the first two games at home in the NLCS and
recovered to win the series.
ROCKIES 3, DIAMONDBACKS 2 (11 innings): Jose Valverde led the major
leagues with 47 saves this season, but when he walked Colorado's Willy Taveras on four pitches with the bases loaded in the 11th inning Friday
at Chase Field, it might have ended the Diamondbacks' hopes of
returning the World Series.
Arizona, which won the World Series in 2001 with a thrilling Game 7
victory over the New York Yankees, now has the unenviable position of
trying to battle back from an 0-2 series deficit with the next three
games scheduled for Coors Field in Denver.
The Diamondbacks rallied to tie the score in the ninth when Rockies
second baseman Kaz Matsui made a throwing error on a groundball hit by
Arizona's Eric Byrnes. Arizona had a chance to do more damage, but
shortstop Stephen Drew didn't know he was safe at second and started
trotting toward the dugout. He was tagged out, killing a further rally.
In the 11th, Valverde loaded the bases thanks to an infield single
and two walks, and then he walked in Taveras to give Colorado the lead
and help the Rockies win their 19th game in their last 20 tries.
"It's baseball," Valverde said. "Sometimes it's good, sometimes it's
bad. But everybody has confidence and we'll be ready for the next game
in Colorado (on Sunday)."
--RF Justin Upton's hard slide into second base during the seventh
inning of Game 1 was still a hot subject of debate a day later, but
Diamondbacks manager Bob Melvin tried to downplay the situation that led to
an automatic double play and some unruly actions by a handful of fans
who pelted the playing field with water bottles and other objects.
"It's human nature," Melvin said. "His job is to go in there and try
to take the guy out."
Because the play was an interpretation call by second base ump Larry
Vanover, Melvin said there was no reason to file any complaints or
"We just want to move on and play," Melvin said. "Not dwell on it
--3B Mark Reynolds said the play involving teammate Justin Upton in
Game 1 won't affect the way the Diamondbacks slide into second base,
especially as far as he is concerned.
"Definitely not," said Reynolds, a rookie like Upton. "I thought it
was a clean slide. But it's just the way it goes sometimes. It's a
tough break for us because it really killed a rally right there."
--RHP Tony Pena has six strikeouts in two innings of relief for the
--Diamondbacks assistant general manager Peter Woodfork is drawing
interest from a few major league teams, including the St. Louis Cardinals, who have been asking to speak with him. It wasn't immediately known,
however, if the two sides have spoken or if Woodfork is a possible
candidate to interview for the Cardinals' vacant GM position.
--RHP Brandon Webb, after throwing 98 pitches in losing Game 1,
probably won't pitch on short rest and start Monday's Game 4, although
manager Bob Melvin would not entirely rule it out.
"Not as I'm standing here right now," Melvin said, keeping his
options fully open.
--The Diamondbacks were anticipating some cold weather in Denver as
the NLCS shifts to Coors Field, where temperatures are expected to be
in the 40s during the day, with a 60 percent chance of rain on Sunday
for Game 3.
"You're not as loose, to an extent, and the ball probably doesn't
travel as well," Diamondbacks manager Bob Melvin said. "Once the game
gets going, you just have a feel for the conditions. You've played in them
before, maybe not recently, but it's not something brand new. Both
teams have to deal with it."
BY THE NUMBERS: 0 -- Number of teams in the history of the National
League Championship Series that have the lost the first two games at
home and come back to win the series.
QUOTE TO NOTE: "Tough losses, tough stretches, we've been through
the gamut. I've told our guys periodically that all the things that have
transpired this year have enabled us to be able to overcome whatever it
may be coming down the stretch." -- Manager Bob Melvin on his team's
resilience this season.
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: The Diamondbacks stranded 20 more runners Friday, giving
them 34 left on base in two games of the NLCS. That's horrendous. Their
season-long hitting woes seem to have caught up with them.
ANALYZING THE ROTATION:
1. RHP Brandon Webb
2. LHP Doug Davis
3. RHP Livan Hernandez
4. RHP Micah Owings
Comment: Davis had a typical performance Friday. He was in near
constant trouble and wriggled out of it, for the most part. But he needed
so many pitches to do so, that he lasted only five innings.
ANALYZING THE BULLPEN:
RH closer Jose Valverde
RHP Brandon Lyon
RHP Tony Pena Jr.
RHP Juan Cruz
Comment: This group was once again lights-out in Game 2 until Valverde lost the strike zone in the 11th.
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