2011 MLB Playoffs: 5 Reasons the Arizona Diamondbacks Could Win the World Series
Out of the eight teams playing postseason baseball, the Arizona Diamondbacks seem to be the team getting the least attention. Vegas has set the odds at 10-1 for the Diamondbacks to win it all—tied with the Cardinals for the lowest.
I may be in the minority, but I'm expecting the D-Backs to be one of October's biggest surprises. Here are five reasons the Diamondbacks can win the World Series.
No. 5: Kirk Gibson
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Kirk Gibson has to be the front-runner for NL Manager of the year, regardless of what happens in the playoffs.
With him in charge, the Diamondbacks shocked many by overtaking the defending champion Giants in the NL West. His team is mostly made up of young, inexperienced players and he has turned them into winners.
As a player, Gibby is known for his pinch hit home run in the 1988 World Series. If he can hit a clutch home run like that on two injured legs, he can lead his team to playoff success.
No. 4: Momentum
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Once the D-Backs took the lead in the NL West, they didn't look back. They kept winning games and didn't let the Giants get back into it. They were 16-9 in September.
Even though they locked up a playoff berth a while ago, they were still playing for home field advantage in the first round until the final day of the season.
Sometimes it's hard for a team to go from playing meaningless games to playing post-season baseball. The Diamondbacks won't have to worry about that.
Not to mention, they pulled off one of the most remarkable wins of the season in all of baseball a few days ago.
After giving up five runs to the Dodgers in the top of the 10th inning, they put up a six spot in the bottom half to walk off with a win. Ryan Roberts capped off the rally with a grand slam.
If a team can pull off a win like that, I feel like anything is possible in the postseason.
No. 3: Matchups
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The Brewers seem to be the sexy pick to make it to the World Series from the National League, but I'm not 100 percent sold on them. They have a dynamic offense but I don't know about their pitching.
Yes, Zach Greinke has been great all year long, going undefeated at home. But the playoffs aren't the regular season. Greinke didn't want to play for a big market team which leads me to believe that being in the spotlight can have a negative effect on him.
It's just a gut instinct, but I can see the D-Backs hitting him around in the first round. And who knows what they'll get from Gallardo and Marcum?
If Arizona manages to get out of the first round, they most likely will have to go up against the big bad Phillies in the NLCS.
The D-Backs do have a primarily right handed lineup, but that could help them when they go up against Cliff Lee and Cole Hamels. Playing in two bandboxes would help them score runs too.
No. 2: Kennedy and Hudson
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I love the 1-2 punch the Diamondbacks have at the top of their rotation. Ian Kennedy really deserves some Cy Young consideration. Winning 21 games was no fluke.
He's a legitimate ace and has come a long way since he broke into the majors with the Yankees. He's always calm and composed on the mound so I don't think the pressure of the postseason will rattle him.
Hudson is just 24, but he too had a phenomenal season. He was 1-4 with a 5.64 ERA in April, but settled down and was great the rest of the way.
He had a stretch this year in which he did not lose a game for two months—he was 7-0 between May 17th and July 17th.
Joe Saunders is no slouch at No. 3 either. I feel like the Diamondbacks' rotation is the most overlooked of the playoff teams.
No. 1: 2001
The 2011 Diamondbacks remind be a lot of the 2001 Diamondbacks. They don't necessarily have a star-studded line up, but they play well together and score runs. They have a great starting rotation and a very good bullpen as well.
Can Kennedy and Hudson be this year's Johnson and Schilling? I'm not sure. But if the Diamondbacks manage to make it to the World Series, they could potentially meet up with the Yankees again.
I don't want to get too ahead of myself, but think about that match up. Remember, the NL won the All-Star Game, so Arizona would have home field advantage, just like in '01.
The Yankees have played a Game 7 in Phoenix before, remember? It turned out pretty well for the Diamondbacks.
And not to mention, the possibility of Cy Young contender Ian Kennedy starting three games, including Game 7, against his former team. How about that for a story line?
I'm not saying that they'll definitely pull off a deep run in October, but the Brewers shouldn't take the D-Backs lightly in the first round.