|Lack of offense biggest problem for reeling Arizona|
|Written by Admin|
|Monday, 15 October 2007 01:37|
The problem is, the Arizona Diamondbacks can't get a base hit when it matters, and that has them one loss away from being swept by the steamrolling Colorado Rockies in the NL championship series.
When a Diamondbacks player has hit one hard with runners in scoring position, one of those charmed Rockies makes a big defensive play.
``We've tried everything,'' catcher Miguel Montero said. ``Our hitters haven't come through. You saw it tonight. We hit into three double plays. We haven't been able to get a hit when we needed one. They have.''
Whether in the heat of Phoenix or the cold and rain of Denver, the results have been the same.
After its 4-1 loss on Sunday night, Arizona has totaled four runs in three games. The Diamondbacks actually have a better batting average in the three games than Colorado - .248 to .231.
But Arizona is 2-for-17 with runners in scoring position, 0-for-3 on Sunday night. They have left 24 runners on base, only five in Game 3 because they hit into double plays in each of the first three innings.
``It's not just me,'' Arizona's Chris Young said. ``It's (Eric) Byrnes, (Tony) Clark, all of us. There isn't much more we can do than hit the ball hard. We hit the ball hard, but without many results.''
The Diamondbacks were the first team since the 1906 White Sox to have a league's worst batting (.250) and best record (90-72). They survived by getting hits at the right time, leading to a major league-best 32-20 record in one-run games.
Perhaps, though, the team's youth is finally showing as the spotlight grows brighter.
``It doesn't feel like our guys are going up there and pressing,'' manager Bob Melvin said. ``We've gone through stretches this year where we have not swung the bat very well. And the amount of runs that we've put up in three games aren't going to win you very many games.''
The same Arizona lineup that tore through the Chicago Cubs' pitching in a three-game division series sweep has come up empty time and again against Colorado.
Some of the Arizona struggles are attributed to the Rockies' outstanding defense, highlighted by what might have been the biggest play of the series, the run-saving diving grab of Clark's line drive in right-center field in Game 2.
Young and Drew singled to start the game Sunday night, then Byrnes hit a screaming line drive that pitcher Josh Fogg somehow snagged. He easily doubled up Young at second and nearly pulled off a triple play with a throw to first.
``Our offense just isn't going yet,'' said Byrnes, 3-for-13 (.231) in the series. ``I don't have an explanation for it. We haven't gotten the big hit in situations we'd normally get them.''
Only one team has come back from 0-3 to win a series, the 2004 Boston Red Sox, but they didn't lose the first two at home as the Diamondbacks did. Arizona has to beat Colorado twice at Coors Field just to send the series back to Phoenix.
Factor in that Colorado has won an unreal 20 of 21 games, and this mountain looks to steep to climb.
Leave it to Clark, the team's leader, to try to stay upbeat.
``We know we can hit and drive in runs,'' he said. ``That isn't happening right now. We can't get anything going. But remember, we're playing a hot team. That could be us just as quickly as it happened for them.
``Baseball has a way of evening out. We can start tomorrow and continue on Wednesday.''