Post-season wins: 2. Wins needed: 9
Quote of the day #1: "It's exciting to hit a homer any time, but to do it in the playoffs with 48,000 fans out there yelling, you feel like you're floating on air when you're running the bases. You see your teammates in the dugout ready to congratulate you. There's no feeling like it." -- Chris Young
Quote of the day #2: "Chicago's longterm future on the autumn primetime schedule looks even more dubious than that of Frank TV" -- Jim Caple
If I was confident of winning on Wednesday night, I was much less optimistic about last night's game. I think the ceaseless bleating in the national media about how obviously superior the Cubs were, had taken its toll, even on a diehard fan like myself. But, after the first two games, said bleating has taken on a distinctly...is that a goat I hear? Because the D-backs have, clearly and undeniably, been the better team thus far. The much-vaunted Cubs offense has been held to five runs and a .179 average in two games, while the equally-lauded Chicago offense pitching has posted an ERA of 6.19.
The absolute worst-case scenario now, is we lose the next two games in the Windy City. But even then, we'd still a) be back in Phoenix, b) have the reigning Cy Young winner on the mound, and c) face the same pitcher whom we torched last night. It isn't over yet, but the last time the Cubs went 2-0 down in any post-season series, and even took it past the minimum, was the 1929 World Series. They can no longer win this series: the Diamondbacks can only lose it.
Things did look slightly rocky early on, with the Cubs taking their first lead of the series on a two-run homer by their catcher, after a squibby infield hit that Reynolds couldn't bare-hand. The first "Let's go, Cubs" chants were heard in Chase - fortunately, it was a brief resurrection. Some baseball genius - I forget who - described the deficit as "easily redeemable," and that's exactly how it proved. Snyder singled, Upton walked, and after Ojeda K'd, and a good bunt from Davis, we were a bloop single from tying the game.
Chris Young laughs in the face of bunt singles. Lilly shook off his rookie catcher's curveball, opted to throw a fastball, which Young immediately smacked into the left-field bleachers. "Let's go, Cu..." - no, you're not singing any more. Lilly was clearly disgruntled (left) - oh, with reference to today's headline, I'm not sure if "gelding" is a verb, but it was just too good a chance to pass up. And that was that, more or less. Those who thought the D-backs would fold like Motel 6 towels as soon as the "better" team took the lead, found themselves confounded. A Byrnes RBI triple made it 4-2, in the bottom of the fourth, Drew drove in a pair more with a triple, and then Ojeda and Davis (with a beautiful bunt) made it 8-2. As noted in the comments, I like a Win Expectancy of 98% in the fifth inning.
Davis, meanwhile, gave us all we could have hoped for. His line - four runs in 5.2 innings - wasn't perhaps stellar, but that was bloated by the walks a clearly-gassed Davis allowed to the last two hitters he faced before departing. Cruz allowed them to score on a double off the wall, but the Four Horsemen all got to play, striking out five in 3.1 innings. Naturally, Death made things interesting, even in a non-save situation, helped by an error from Ojeda that brought the tying run to the on-deck circle with one out, and the Cubs #3 and #4 up. No problem: Lee and Ramirez both went down swinging, and Arizona had done it again.
Drew and Ojeda both had their second consecutive two-hit games. Drew, thus far, is probably leading the chase for Series MVP, not just for his go-ahead homer in the first game, but some stellar defense, showing great range, a sure glove and a strong arm. But Ojeda is probably there or thereabouts, with a string of quality at-bats, going 4-for-7. And how can you argue against our pitching staff? The Cubs trio of Lee, Ramirez and Soriano, who hit a combined .309 with 81 homers and 253 RBI, are 4-for-27 thus far.
Gameday Thread pretty much bordering on the same record levels as Wednesday again. Present were azdb7, Peachy, Silverblood, Adam, DbacksSkins, Jim McLennan, snakecharmer, Stile4aly, peeklay, andrewinnewyork, hotclaws, batster, 4CornersFan, oklahomasooners, rknuppel, singaporedbacksfan, ncdbackfan, Xeifrank, Devin, frienetic, monica in el paso (welcome!), npineda, Redhawk (welcome!), razzpunk (welcome!), cj060896, Englishdback, DodgerBlueBalls, dahlian, NLWestFan, VIII, seton hall snake pit, johngordonma, Wimb, Red Army, soco, MattTheRock (welcome!) and dbackerinparadise.
[Click graph to enlarge, in new window]
Master of his domain: Chris Young, +31.8%
God-emperor of suck: Conor Jackson, -8.1%
Honorary quite-goodness: Eric Byrnes, +11.5%
One more. Just one more... NLCS tickets go on sale tomorrow. I think even I will unbutton the bank account for that. :-)