© 2007 MLB Advanced Media, L.P. All rights reserved.
10/13/07 4:28 AM ET
Spin Forward: Early runs could cool Rox
D-backs need to create more scoring opportunities
By Tom Singer / MLB.com
PHOENIX -- Two things the Arizona Diamondbacks clearly need in order to claw their way back into this National League Championship Series: A) Get a clutch hit. B) Instead of ignoring, perhaps start acknowledging and resolving to put out the Colorado Rockies' fire. Not necessarily in that order. "Destiny" is a trite word in sporting championship pursuits, but rarely have all the goddesses ganged up for one team as they appear to have for the Rockies. When they can't earn runs, they're given to them. Closer loses his perfection? Let's extract him off the hook. D-backs lashing line drives all over the field? Where there's a glove, there's a way to frustrate them. Which brings us back to point A, and Arizona's need to at least not end clutch at-bats with shots in the vicinity of Colorado's fielders, who in the postseason glare are proving that their defensive reputation is well-deserved. "We've swung the bats pretty well. You can't ask for more than what we've done," said Jeff Salazar, who in his platoon with Justin Upton occupied right field Friday night against righty Ubaldo Jimenez. "You can say that the key hit has been missing, but they keep making great defensive plays on us." The greatest in Game 2 victimized Tony Clark, who already had two hits when, with two outs and Eric Byrnes on base in the seventh, he ripped a liner snared in a full-boat dive by center fielder Willy Taveras. "I thought it would fall," Clark said. "But as much as I was begging for it to fall down, Willy covered enough real estate to make a tremendous catch." That theft contributed to Arizona's 3-for-19 with men on base. That is a good way to outhit Colorado in each of the first two games (18 to 15 overall) and still end up trailing two games to none. NLCS Game 2 actually unfolded as the perfect synopsis of Arizona's puzzling season, and as the ideal setup for one of those defiant D-backs moments. Eight innings of offensive silence from a lineup that seems to be swinging uphill, but is actually just waiting till just before the anecdotal stroke of midnight. That's when the D-backs would prowl and snatch one of those daring wins. It's how the NL's poorest-hitting team defied logic to the league's best record. But, sometimes, you stop defying logic and simply obey it.
Tom Singer is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.