Keep up with the latest news, notes and developments with Fungoes, a daily journal for all things baseball that will last all season long.
NLDS: Destiny's Child?
Is Arizona, and not Colorado, the true "Team of Destiny" in this postseason?
It sure felt that way in Saturday evening's NLDS clincher. From the game's very first pitch -- which D-Backs leadoff man Chris Young smacked into the left-field bleachers -- the Diamondbacks appeared to have a charmed air about them. It was there when Eric Byrnes somehow beat out a routine double-play ball, allowing a run to score. It was there when Stephen Drew hit a homer onto Sheffield Avenue one pitch after being hit in the leg (umps didn't catch that one). And it was most definitely there every time Livan Hernandez killed a Cubs rally by inducing a double-play.
Arizona was invincible throughout the three-game series. Every time a pitcher got into a tight jam, he quickly got out of it. Every time a batter needed a big hit, he came through. During the opening round, Arizona players simply did everything that needed to be done to win. And this has been the story all season long.
In recent conversations with friends and colleagues, I've been presented with a common question: "How are the Diamondbacks winning like this?" This is an understandable query. Arizona has anything but a star-studded lineup. From an outsider's perspective, this team looks like a .500 team. But the D-backs just seem to possess that inexplicable "it" -- or what some would describe as unusual luck. During the regular season, Arizona was the first team to possess its league's best record (90-72) and worst batting average (.250) since the 1906 White Sox. This rag-tag group of underappreciated veterans and inexperienced, if highly promising, youngsters has that special something that can't be defeated, it would appear.
There’s only one problem with this theory. The ballclub Arizona will face in the NLCS -- Colorado -- has taken this whole Team of Destiny thing to a new level. The Rockies, who one of the greatest September runs in baseball history just to get into the playoffs, have won 17 of their last 18 games.
This sets up for an extremely interesting NLCS. Nobody in America could have predicted that these two NL West ballclubs would be the last teams standing in the NL. Colorado owns a slight edge (10-8) in the season series, but the D-backs possess home-field advantage.
Which one is the true Team of Destiny? That a question will come up more than a few times in the next four days.
posted by SI.com | View comments |
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)