The sun hasn't set on the Dbacks yet, but it's time to step up
Down 0-2 in the NLDS, and with the Milwaukee Brewers' offense making minced meat (minced bratwurst?) of the top two pitchers on the Arizona Diamondbacks' staff, the scenario certainly looks gloomy. Most analysts, if they hadn't written them off already, are now formalizing the Brew Crew's date with the Philadelphia Phillies in the NLCS.
But this series is not over. The Fat Lady isn't singing. The desert sun has not quite set on this team, and for the time being, hope remains.
However, the Dbacks must take action—and fast—in order to stay alive in this short series. The following slides offer five ways the Dbacks can try to get themselves back into this series.
Sure, it's not the way the team would prefer to be coming back home, down 0-2, but at least they're back in the friendly confines of Chase Field. With their home crowd behind them, the Dbacks are a far better club. During the 2011 season, the Dbacks have a home winning percentage of .629, compared to just .530 on the road. All of their statistics are inflated at home, including a 60 and 90 point increase in Slugging and OPS, respectively.
Besides, a little home cooking never hurt anybody, and at this point in the series, the Dbacks could certainly use some. In order to have any say in this series, they must continue to play their best baseball in the desert and do a little home sweeping.
It's do or die time. TIme to break out the black!
The Dbacks need a little dose of intimidation, and nothing says intimidation like the black unis. They're far more imposing. And stylish.
The Dbacks could do well to shake things up a bit, and break out the black.
Throughout the 2011 season, Miguel Montero was a key ingredient in the Dbacks offensive attack. He hit .282 with 18 HRs and 86 RBI, and was a major reason why the Dbacks are in this postseason at all.
However, he has yet to show up. Miggy has been a non-factor, going 0-8 in the first two games, and has yet to reach base.
Montero has to get his bat going and contribute offensively—really quickly—if the Dbacks are going to battle their way back into this series.
Who? That's right: Josh Collmenter.
With their season on the line the Dbacks pin all their hopes on Collmenter, the tomahawk-chucking April call-up who solidified the back end of their rotation and won 10 games in 2011. His task? No big deal. Shut down the potent Milwaukee Brewers offense—something the Dbacks two top starters, Daniel Hudson and Ian Kennedy, were unable to do.
However, there is a small gleam of hope: the next run Collmenter allows against Milwaukee will be his first. Hopefully, for the Dbacks, that comes some time in 2012.
Collmenter will have to pitch the game of his life to get the DBacks on to Game 4.
To say that Prince Fielder and Ryan Braun are locked in is the understatement of the series. They each have one HR and three RBI apiece in the first two games, with Braun slugging 1.375 and Fielder with an OPS of .875. The two sluggers are almost solely responsible for the Brewers being up 2-0, and it seems like they're playing against the Dbacks all by themselves. And winning.
Somehow, the Dbacks must find a way to neutralize the havoc Braun and Fielder have wreaked over the past two games. Whatever the Dbacks have done up to this point has been ineffective, and they must find a way to break up Braun and Fielder's rhythm. Put them on whenever possible. Get effectively wild—and fast. Keep the ball on the ground. Sure, this task is much easier said than done, but if the Dbacks want to have any kind of shot at rallying down 0-2, they must quiet these two bats.
Perhaps these five steps may seem like pie in the sky to some, but at least it's a place to start. Certainly Arizona has their work cut out for them, but this is baseball, after all, where hope springs eternal—all the way down to that final out!