The Arizona Diamondbacks have nothing left to lose this year, so here are a couple of achievable goals we think they should aim for going into this weekend's series against the Colorado Rockies:
1) get the hell out of the cellar, which is an embarrassment to all the fans who've supported this three-legged dog of a team through thin and thinner (there's been precious little thick)
2) stick it to the Rockies, whose 2007 World Series debacle against the Red Sox was an aesthetic eyesore and an embarrassment to baseball fans everywhere, even (perhaps particularly) Denver
This is how badly we don't wanna see Colorado worm its way into another Series: We'd rather see the Dodgers sweep to victory than watch the Rockies get smoked again.
The aforementioned goals may be achievable for A.J. Hinch and the Diamondbacks, but they won't be easy. Having largely owned Colorado under the team's previous manager, Clint Hurdle, Arizona's struggled with new head coach Jim Tracy's crew this year. In advance of the two teams' final series meet-up of the season tonight through Sunday at Chase Field, the D-Backs are 6-9 against Colorado.
And the D-Backs aren't the only ones feeling the lash of the Rockies regime change. Owners of the whip hand in the National League Wild Card race (and still very much alive in the NL West sweepstakes), the Rockies have gone 64-36 under Tracy after bumbling out of the 2009 gate with a 19-28 record under Hurdle.
Colorado, though, lives by the streak and dies by it, and the Rockies have experienced a couple of spectacular skids in the last month -- ominously for them, perhaps fortuitously for the D-Backs, their recent tailspins have come against teams from the NL West.
At the end of August, they whiffed five straight to the Dodgers and Giants (the former their competition for the division title, the latter the main challenger for the Wild Card). They blew two gimmes in San Diego to the lowly Padres last weekend before choking away a couple more to the Giants in San Francisco Monday and Tuesday nights, and barely held off the pesky G-Men on Wednesday night to remain 3.5 games up on San Fran in the Wild Card.
Hey, we don't call 'em the Colorado Chokies for nothing.
The D-Backs, coming off a sorely needed series win (albeit against the Padres), need to put on the spoiler caps and just say no to another outbreak of Choke-ball.
Please. We're begging you.
Do it for baseball.
Here are the scheduled pitching match-ups:
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Tonight, 6:40: Jason Marquis for the Rockies (15-11, 3.78 ERA) vs. Kevin Mulvey of the D-Backs (0-1, 11.88).
Saturday, 5:10 p.m.: Jason Hammel (8-8, 4.38) vs. Max Scherzer (9-9, 4.05).
Sunday, 1:10 p.m.: Ubaldo Jimenez (13-11, 3.55) vs. Dan Haren (14-8, 2.79).
TV: Tonight and Sunday on Fox Sports Arizona (no TV Saturday). Radio: KTAR-AM 620, KSUN-AM 1400 (Spanish). More info: www.dbacks.com.