|Patience key to Rockies' success against Webb|
|Written by Admin|
|Friday, 12 October 2007 00:21|
The sinkerball thrower thrives on aggressive hitters.
``We didn't want to fire early unless we felt confident it was something we could square up,'' manager Clint Hurdle said.
That meant batters had to be comfortable allowing the count to get to two strikes.
``We have seen him a number of times,'' Hurdle said. ``And, you know, patience, not just in baseball but in a lot of different areas, usually has a tendency to work to your advantage.''
Brad Hawpe went 2-for-3 including a two-run single to improve his career average against Webb to .375.
``Webb's really tough. He's as good as there is in this league,'' Hawpe said. ``It's just fun to go up there and battle against him. He keeps coming at you. He doesn't give in. That makes it a lot of fun.''
HITTING 100: The radar gun will get a workout when Ubaldo Jimenez takes the mound for Colorado in Game 2 of the NLCS Friday night.
The 22-year-old right-hander has topped 100 mph and hits 99 with some consistency. The knowledge he could throw very hard came in his late teens, he said.
``I think like my second year in Dominica, I started to throw like 94,'' he said, ``and then I went to Casper, and that's when I started to throw really hard. I was like 18, 19.''
But Jimenez knows that against major league hitters he can't rely solely on his fastball, even one that hits triple digits.
``From the beginning I had to mix all my pitches,'' he said, ``because they're very good. If you make a mistake just like trying to throw a fastball, they're going to hit it.''
FAMILIER FOES: Todd Helton, Troy Tulowitzki and the Colorado Rockies are plenty familiar with the team they're playing in the NL championship series. Almost too much so.
The Rockies met the Arizona Diamondbacks four times in spring training in Tucson, then faced each other 18 times in the regular season.
``We know all their guys, they know all our guys. There's not going to be any secrets,'' Rockies third baseman Garrett Atkins said. ``It's just going to be about who can go out there and play good baseball.''
Tulowitzki said familiarity will make it tougher to outfox each other.
``I think it makes it tough for both of us to see if someone's going to throw a little wrinkle out there and do something different than what everybody's used to,'' the rookie shortstop said. ``This should be an interesting series, and a good one at that.''
Still, Helton said he'd rather be facing a fellow NL West team.
``It works both ways: they know us; we know them,'' the first baseman said. ``I'd rather be in that situation where I know the team we're playing and know what we're getting.''
Arizona manager Bob Melvin said: ``If any two teams are well-acquainted with each other, it's us and them.''
Not only are these teams filled with familiar faces but the ballclubs are very similar.
Neither is a big spender, each of them winning with about one-quarter of the New York Yankees' $200 million payroll. They both play good defense, get timely hits and have outstanding bullpens. The biggest similarity is the trust they've put in young players
``We have a lot of the same attributes,'' Arizona outfielder Chris Young said. ``We have a young team that still has some great veteran guys. Over here we have Tony Clark, over there they have Todd Helton. They have great team chemistry and you can see it on the field, just like we have over here. Great pitching. It's a great matchup.''
NICE-AND-EASY: Diamondbacks lefty Doug Davis is known for his deliberate style. With a complicated delivery, he said he gets in trouble when he hurries.
``I think the slower I am, the better my mechanics are, the more consistent I am,'' Davis said Thursday, a day before his scheduled start in Game 2. ``It may put the batter to sleep while I'm up there. So if I get them off-balance, that's what pitching is.''
It worked well this year. Davis won a career-high 13 games while matching his career high with 12 losses. From July 13 to Sept. 1, he went 7-1 with a 3.79 ERA. The Diamondbacks went from third place to first in the NL West during that stretch.
GETTING READY: Arizona pitcher Micah Owings got a little tuneup this week for his start in Game 4.
Owings, who did not work in the Diamondbacks' sweep of the Cubs in the division series, threw 70 pitches in an instructional league game in Tucson. He has not pitched since Sept. 27 in Pittsburgh, and is set to start Monday night at Coors Field against Colorado.
``More than anything, I was just happy to get some work in,'' he said. ``I'm just trying to get ready for the opportunity to get out there again.''
Owings (8-8, 4.30 ERA) has not allowed a run in his last two starts, a span of 15 1-3 innings.
Owings may see duty as a pinch-hitter during the NLCS. He batted .333 with seven doubles, a triple and four homers in 60 at-bats this year. He had almost as many RBIs (15) as strikeouts (16).