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NLCS: Heroes & Goats
All series long, this has been a tale of heroes (Rockies) and goats (Diamondbacks). Monday night's clincher epitomized this theme. Here are the names of note.
Three heroes:1. Matt Holliday. The player showered with "M-V-P" cheers throughout Games 3 and 4 will have to wait for a few more weeks to find out if he earned the National League's top honor, but he did take home the NLCS MVP. Holliday blew the game wide open with two outs in the fourth inning. One at-bat after being pelted in the back, the 27-year-old slugger crushed a hanging slider 452 feet to straightaway center for a three-run homer that gave Colorado a 6-1 lead.
2. Seth Smith. Smith, who made his major league debut on September 16 (the day Colorado started this amazing 21-of-22 streak) and had just eight major league at-bats entering the postseason, came up with one of the biggest base hits in Rockies history. Trailing 1-0 with two outs and runners on second and third in the bottom of the fourth inning, Colorado manager Clint Hurdle pinch hit Smith for starting pitcher Franklin Morales. D-backs hurler Micah Owings quickly put the rookie outfielder in a 0-2 hole, but Smith took a ball and then fought off an inside fastball, dropping it just inside the foul line in shallow left field. The two-RBI double gave Colorado a lead it would never relinquish.
3. Manny Corpas. The momentum took a serious swing in Arizona's favor when Chris Snyder hit a two-out, three-run homer off Brian Fuentes in the top of the eighth inning and Justin Upton followed with a triple into left-center field. But Corpas entered the game and struck out veteran slugger Tony Clark with a nasty, 3-2 breaking ball. In the ninth inning, Corpas gave up a one-out double to Chris Young, but abruptly retired Stephen Drew and Eric Byrnes to end it. While we're on the subject of Colorado's bullpen, Matt Herges perfect work in the fifth and sixth innings also deserve some props.
Three goats:1. Conor Jackson. While CoJack produced the game's first run with an RBI single in the third, he made a horrible error in one inning later that cost Arizona four runs and ultimately put the game out of reach. With two outs and Smith on second, Willy Taveras hit a soft ground ball to Jackson that should have ended the inning. But for the second time this series, Jackson had the ball bounce off the heel of his glove. This error kept the inning alive for a Kaz Matsui RBI single and Holliday's three-run homer.
2. Eric Byrnes. Byrnes quickly became Public Enemy No. 1 in Denver with his comments after Game 2. ("I also don't think the Rockies have outplayed us, because they haven't. Not even close. They've had a little luck go their way. Definitely, the ball has bounced in their direction. They've been the beneficiary of some calls.") Much to the joy of Colorado fans, the Diamondbacks' regular-season spark plug completely disappeared in this series, especially in the clincher. Byrnes went 0-for-4, appropriately ending the game with a lame, check-swing, ground ball out.
3. Dane Cook. With his jet black rendition of Bart Simpson hair, Cook's been a goat throughout October, but he reached a new low Monday night. Even though Arizona was down 3-0, on the verge of elimination, Cook continued to grace the silver screen with his pro-D-backs spot ("You have to see how long they'll survive"). Here's to guessing more than a few TV remotes met their demise in Arizona households when the commercial ran following the sixth inning ... with the Diamondbacks down 6-1.
So, the Rox have now won 21 of 22 games and find themselves in the World Series. Do they have a chance against the ALCS winner? At this point, you'd have to be an idiot to count them out.
posted by SI.com | View comments |
Well, Holliday already EARNED NL MVP for this season, he just needs to wait a couple of weeks to see if the voters actually voted for the person who earned it, him, or some other slightly less deserving player. Basically, he's waiting to see if he's awarded the NL MVP cause, he already earned it during the season.
AL East blog (Monday)
NL West blog (Monday)
AL Central blog (Tuesday)
NL Central blog (Wednesday)
AL West blog (Thursday)
NL East blog (Thursday)
Wild Card (Friday)