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Touch ‘Em All: D-backs sweep Giants

If you would’ve told me the Diamondbacks were going to
sweep the
Giants on Friday morning…

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.


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Series Awards

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…