Diamondbacks Spanish Radio and Television analyst Rodrigo Lopez will get the ball for the upstart 2010 Diamondbacks in this their 3rd game of the tournament. Lopez made 33 starts and threw 200 innings for the 2010, leading the staff in both categories. It was an up and down year for Rodrigo. He began the year well enough. His first start was 9-1 victory against the Pirates in the 4th game of the year in which he went 6 innings to get the W. He had 3 of his 4 best games (by game score) in the month of May, all of which were on the road. Through June 6th he had a respectable 4.27 ERA and a 2-4 record. But he was getting hit hard, surrendering 12 homers among his 88 hits in 78 innings.
Then the bottom fell out for the next 2 ½ months, as he had a 15 start stretch in which he was knocked around to the tune of a 6.10 ERA while going 3-8 and giving up 20 homers in 87 innings. He managed to right his ship and finish stronger in September, posting a 3.86 ERA for the month. But the end result was an overall 7-16 record and 5.00 ERA, 85 ERA+
Rodrigo’s two best seasons came with the Orioles in 2002 and 2004. In 2002 he went 15-9, with a 3.57 ERA, 120 ERA+, finishing second in the AL Rookie of the Year voting behind Eric Hinske. After a down year in 2003, Lopez bounced back working as a swing man, making 23 starts and 14 relief appearances. In 171 IP he had a 3.59 ERA and a 14-9 record.
In their first game of the tournament 2010 pulled off a mild 7-4 upset of the 2015 team, defeating Robbie Ray with Ian Kennedy on the mound. You can review that game HERE. They followed that up with an even bigger upset, knocking off 2011 and that year’s version of IPK, 9-4. The offense jumped out to an early lead and Daniel Hudson spun a gem. Recap HERE
The 2007 Diamondbacks defeated the 2004 team in very typical fashion. Tony Clark, the embodiment of that team’s “Anybody Anytime” spirit came off the bench in the 9th to deliver a walkoff two run homer and a 5-4 victory. Recap Here.
Brandon Webb is not available for this game due to starting the previous one. In a surprise move, three-time Manager of the Year Bob Melvin, (2007 DBacks and 2012 and 2018 with the A’s) will hand the ball to rookie Micah Owings. Owings who went 8-8 with a 4.30 ERA, 111 ERA+ for the NL West Division Champions. His best game of the year was September 18th, a complete game 2 hit shutout of the Giants.
Owings was perhaps best remembered for his bat however. The last time a pitcher had a better single season OPS+ than Owings 152 mark was in 1958 by the Yankees Don Larsen. Report Link. In fact Owings career 106 OPS+ is the highest of any pitcher in the modern era (Min 200 PA, 75% of games at pitcher) save one dead ball era guy from 1905 I never heard of. Another Report Link. In a nod to this prowess at the plate, Owings will bat 5th in today’s lineup ;)
[Jim: Sadly for Jack’s cunning plan, the WhatIfSports.com interface doesn’t allow pitchers to hit anywhere bar 9th. Bastards! So his line-up has been adjusted, with Owings hitting 9th, and everyone below moving up a spot]
#19 Arizona Diamondbacks 2010 9, #6 Arizona Diamondbacks 2007 5
This was a Tale of Two Bullpens. The 2010 bullpen held the opposition to one base-runner over 4.1 innings of work, capped off by Aaron Heilman and Sam Demel striking out the side in the ninth. The 2007 version was far less successful, allowing five earned runs over their 5.2 frames, with Tony Pena the only one of five relievers used not to be scored against. Chris Young had three hits, including a home-run, and three RBI for 2010; Adam LaRoche and Mark Reynolds also went deep for them. Chad Tracy finished a double short of the cycle for 2007.
Both starters looked good the first time through the order. Micah Owings took the mound first, and through three innings, only one batter got past first base. Gerardo Parra was hit in the knee to lead of the top of the third, and was bunted over by pitcher Rodrigo Lopez, but couldn’t advance further. Meanwhile, Lopez successfully worked around a two-out triple by Tracy in the first, and a two-out double from Young in the third, to match Owings zero for zero through the first third of the game.
Their success came to a screeching halt in the fourth, where both sides put up crooked numbers. In the top half, Young got 2010 on the board with an RBI single, and one out later, Reynolds fired a laser into the left-field bleachers for a three-run homer. That chased Owings, after allowing four runs over 3.2 innings, on five hits and a walk with one strikeout. But 2007 came back in the bottom half, Miguel Montero had a two-run single, cutting the deficit in half to 4-2. They were then able to tie it up in the next inning, on RBI hits by Reynolds and Eric Byrnes, ending Lopez’s night. Daniel Hudson got the final out, and we ended the fifth, tied at four.
It didn’t last. Adam LaRoche gave 2010 the lead back, with a solo homer off Yusmeiro Petit to open the sixth. LaRoche then added a sacrifice fly in the seventh, scoring Stephen Drew, who had singled to lead off the frame, making it 6-4. Tracy responded by crushing a solo home-run, pulling 2007 back within one run. But 2010 were not to be denied. Drew restored the advantage in the eighth with a two-out RBI single, and Young completed a fine performance with a two-run homer off the leftfield foul pole, on a pitch from Brandon Medders in the top of the ninth.
Tracy’s bomb was the only hit allowed by the 2010 bullpen. Hudson got the win for his three pitches, but Heilman was the most impressive, retiring all five batters he faced, three of them by strikeouts. Demel then finished the game off, getting Chris Young on three pitches, the last well outside the zone. The fairy-tale run of the #19 seeds continues, as they set up a semi-final match-up against the #10 seeds, the 2018 Diamondbacks, guaranteeing one “minnow” will be present in the grand final.
Next, however, we will have the first battle of the Final Four. The top seeds - indeed the only one of the top eight left in the tournament - of the 2002 Diamondbacks will be facing the #13 seeds from 2012. That will take place next Thursday, to determine who will be the first team into the climax of the event.