Touch 'Em All: D-backs sweep Giants
I would've believed you.
If you would've told me that the Diamondbacks were going to rough up Tim Lincecum and Madison Bumgarner and come back from being down 6-0 against Matt Cain…
I would've said no way.
I guess I completely forgot about the 2011 Arizona Diamondbacks, because what I learned from that team was that they are never out of a game, and when they win, most of the time they do it the hard way and make it interesting all the way to the end. And that's exactly what they did in this series.
Never mind that the D-backs are one of five 3-0 teams in baseball, this series showed that this team has the same fire, the same never-say-die attitude and the same belief in themselves and their teammates that they had last year.
While it may be too early to tell for sure, the D-backs may have just answered my biggest question mark for them heading into this season; can they hold on to the same mindset as last year, and not get caught in the media storm? So far, it looks like they can.
"For some reason, you create a little more fire under you when you're playing teams in your division," Chris Young told reporters after Saturday's win.
One thing is for sure, if the D-backs play with that kind of fire throughout the year, they'll be raising at least one more A in the outfield come next April.
Series Report Card
Record: A+ I don't care how pretty it was, a sweep is a sweep. The fact that this team still has the edge and attitude it had last year should make every other NL team shudder.
Offense: A- At times, the offense did not look good, if Justin Upton is going to make an MVP run he can't get punched out with the bat still on his shoulders, but they got it done when it mattered, and mounted one of the largest comebacks in franchise history on Sunday.
Defense: C+ The defense would have probably warranted an A, had it not been for Sunday's game, in which the Diamondbacks had five errors, one short of a franchise record. Some of the errors looked like they could have been fixed with just a little more focus (too much thinking about what was to be for Easter dinner perhaps?). It's also pretty obvious that Jason Kubel isn't totally used to left field in Chase yet, but that should come with a few more series at home.
Pitching: A- Couldn't have asked for a better pitching performance to start off the season from the D-backs top two starters. Ian Kennedy and Daniel Hudson each went six and two thirds, while David Hernandez and J.J. Putz did their thing out of the bullpen. Josh Collmenter had a poor performance on Sunday, but Wade Miley looked fantastic in relief as he pitched four no-hit innings to give the Snakes the chance for the comeback.
Managing: A+ Kirk Gibson's pure mastery of his lineup was evident on Friday and Saturday when he shuffled around the number two spot in the order and each day the man hitting second (Chris Young, Aaron Hill respectively) had a huge game.
Play of the Series: Tatman wins the award for a play he made in Friday's Diamondbacks win. Ryan Roberts took a Tim Lincecum pitch with the bases loaded into the corner in left that scored two runners, KO'ed Tim Lincecum for the day, and gave the D-backs all the runs they needed to win on Opening Day.
Unsung Hero of the Series: This goes to Wade Miley, for his outstanding four-inning performance on Sunday. Miley allowed no hits and no runs from the Giants, while fighting off a bunch of errors from his defense to keep the D-backs in the game long enough to come back.
Kirk Gibson Quote of the Series: "That one will make you smile… It really does; the guys battled. It was an interesting battle and they got the job done." - Following the D-backs 7-6 comeback win on Sunday.
Player of the Series: This could go to any number of the D-Backs' pitchers, but I'm giving it to Chris Young. Kirk Gibson has said that he sees a difference in Young's swing this year, and that he thinks CY is due for a big season. Let's just say I agree. He's on pace to hit 54 home runs, 108 doubles and have 216 RBIs… Will that happen? No. But that doesn't mean you won't be seeing him win this award very often, I have a feeling he'll be putting up good numbers in most of the series this year.
The "Any Other Part of the Ballpark" Award: This one is going to Chris Young as well. More specifically, for his RBI double in the 1st inning on Saturday. It was about 4 feet shy of being a 3 run home run, and had it been hit anywhere else in the park, some lucky fan would have a souvenir…
Best Moment of the Series: Undoubtedly my favorite moment of Opening Weekend was just before first pitch on Saturday. Baxter, the Diamondbacks mascot, noticed a bunch of Giants fans sitting behind home plate, so he proceeded to cover them in silly string. This had no real impact on any part of the series, but I have to give Baxter his props. Well done indeed.
The Road Ahead: The Diamondbacks head west to Petco Park in San Diego for a three-game set with the Padres… Keep an eye on Trevor Cahill's first start for the team on Tuesday, and you may want to have your brooms ready, the D-Backs have a great opportunity to sweep their way to franchise history…