By Anthony McClean, Editor In Chief Emeritus NEW HAVEN (BASN) —...
BASN’s MLB Playoff Preview: Scouting The NLCS
By Tony McClean
Updated: October 10, 2007
NEW HAVEN, Ct. – Much like the famous line in the 1969 movie “Butch Cassidy & The Sundance Kid”, many casual baseball fans may look at this year’s National League Championship Series between the Arizona Diamondbacks and Colorado Rockies and say “Who are those guys?”
Despite one team having the NL’s best regular season record (D-Backs at 90-72) and the other being baseball’s hottest team (Rockies are 17-1 in their last 18 games, including the playoffs), only true baseball diehards know the difference between these two Western Division combatants.
While many of us “experts” have been caught up in the Mets’ September fall to grace, the title runs of the Phillies and Cubs, and Joe Torre’s seemingly endless search for “job security” in the Bronx, Colorado and Arizona have done what good teams do in October — ignore the bullshit and leave it all out on the field.
Can you say “east coast” bias, kiddies??
While I did pick Arizona to beat the Cubs (checkout BASN’s baseball archives), I also had the Rockies falling to the Phils in five games. Oh well, if nothing else I’ll immediately get the chance to (hopefully) redeem myself in this preview of the NLCS.
One first thing your should keep in mind about Colorado. Get that whole “they can only win at Coors Field” mentality outta your head. They’ve won eight straight road wins dating back to the end of the season. Last week, they all but pimp slapped the Phillies in both games at Citizens Bank Park in the NLDS.
HOW DID THEY GET HERE
Both teams are coming off surprising sweeps in last week’s NLDS. Western Division champion Arizona held the Cubs to just six runs over their three-game sweep against the Central champs. The wildcard Rockies outscored the NL East champion Phillies 16-8 in their whitewash of Philly.
Colorado won the season series, 10-8, while outscoring Arizona, 86-72. But the Diamondbacks had an easier time generating runs, out homering Colorado, 14-9. Something else to ponder: 12 of the games between these two were decided by two runs or fewer, with each team winning six.
WHAT TO LOOK FOR
History for either team that wins this series. The Rockies and Diamondbacks are among the six teams in Major League history which finished last one season (both were 76-86 last year) and reached the LCS the next. However, this will be the first time two such teams have faced each other in a League Championship Series.
This is Arizona’s second trip to the NLCS. They defeated the Atlanta Braves in 2001 (4 games to 1) en route to their World Series Championship in 2001. The Rockies are playing for their first-ever National League pennant. They’ve never met each other in the postseason.
DID YOU KNOW THAT?
Arizona was 32-20 in one-run games in the regular season, compared to Colorado’s 18-19 mark.
In many ways, both teams are year ahead of schedule in regards to being contenders. The leaps they’ve made from the All-Star break and beyond are the stuff books are written about. The postseason is all about pitching and defense. Both teams have plenty of it and then some. We’ll take our chances and pick the Diamondbacks only because of their home-field advantage.
Pick: Arizona in seven.
Tommorrow: Scouting the ALCS.