Sunday, October 14, 2007

Game 3 is a Must-Win Game for the Dbacks

So I went back and checked my Nostradamus record, and after last game I am officially 5-3. Just wanted to throw that out for all you nay-sayers. Quit your Nay-Saying!

That brings us to the match-up between Livan Hernandez and Josh Fogg tonight, at Coors. For all the Washingtonians, you remember Hernandez very well from his two years here with the Nats. We know that he is a work horse that understands pitching, but he can also lose his concentration at the drop of a hat putting himself in trouble and forcing him to pitch out of dangerous situations.
The rest of the world saw him do this against the Cubs in the NLDS when he put 11 runners on base in 6 innings. That kind of lapse in intensity could really hurt against this Rockies team, who are a much better hitting team from top to bottom than the Cubs are. There is some reassurance for Livan looking at the .211 team average the Rocks have posted thus far in the series. His recent success at Coors (1-0, 1.93 ERA) is also a ray of hope, as Colorado's efforts to minimize the Mile High effect with humidors has worked in his favor.

I've highly ignored important statistics during this series and will probably do so again, but it's important to notice Fogg's record against the Backs is 6-1 with a 3.71 era. You really can't mess with that and with so many starts to base his success off of, these numbers aren't a fluke.
Fogg was nicknamed the Dragon Slayer by his teammates after he raised his game to a whole new level during this streak, earning wins against Brandon Webb, Derek Lowe and Chris Young and pitching close games against Jake Peavy, Dontrelle Willis and Brad Penny. But while he did go 3-0 in those starts his ERA was a very hittable 3.82. And come on people, this is the clown from Pittsburgh! He has a lifetime 4.90 ERA and hasn't broken 100 strikeouts only once in his seven year career. That’s just not good pitching.

With all that said, Game 3 is going to boil down to which hitting team takes advantage of the opportunities they are given. Both pitchers are going to put runners on base and there will be chances to hit their very hittable pitches. In the first two games I've seen the Diamondbacks struggle at covering all sides of the plate. Their approached has seemed hesitant and timid. Francis and Jimenez were able to dominate the outside corner and force the young hitters to hit weak flyball and groundball outs. The Rockies have also been a part of this power outage with only one extra base hit. Also neither team has hit a homerun yet in this series, which will be rectified tonight at Coors.

With both pitchers sporting recent success against the opposing team, their impact will have to stem from experience and desire. While I take nothing away from Josh Fogg, this is a must win game for the Dbacks with a pitcher who thrives in these situations. Whenever Hernandez’s number is called to be the savior, he raises his game to the next level.
In addition to Hernandez going to that next level you will also see the emergence of a playoff hero on the offensive side of the ball tonight. My bet is on Chris Young, that kid can flat out rake the ball, but it could easily be Stephen Drew who steps up with the big hit to win the game.

Dbacks 7, Rocks 4

- The Hokie

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