Rockies' secret weapon? Jimenez and his 100 mph heater
Originally Published: October 10, 2007By Tim Kurkjian | ESPN The Magazine
The top five questions heading into the National League Championship Series between the Rockies and the Diamondbacks:
1. How hot are the Rockies?We've never really seen a team this hot at this stage of the postseason: The Rockies have won 17 of their past 18 (including a three-game sweep of the Phillies in the NL Division Series). The 1960 Yankees won their last 15 games but lost in the World Series to the Pirates. The 1965 Dodgers finished the regular season with 14 wins in their last 15 games -- which is how the Rockies finished -- but then L.A. lost the first two games of the World Series to the Twins before rallying to win in seven games. There is nothing to suggest that the Rockies will suddenly stop hitting, or suddenly realize where they are, and start playing tight. Manager Clint Hurdle, who said "we're not here to two-putt" before Game 1 of the NLDS, won't allow that to happen. Plus, their defense -- which set a major league record for the highest fielding percentage in a season -- is going to be as good as ever.
2. How good is D-backs starter Brandon Webb?He is the best pitcher in this series and has been the best pitcher in the National League over the past two years. He is the one pitcher who is capable of dominating a game in this NLCS, as he did in Game 1 against the Cubs in the NLDS. His sinker is virtually unhittable, especially to right-handed hitters: They can't see it when it dive-bombs toward their feet. Entering this season, Webb was 7-4 with a 3.16 ERA lifetime against the Rockies, but they hit him hard this year. In 39 innings, he allowed 43 hits, walked 17 and had a 5.77 ERA. Arizona starter Livan Hernandez allowed only six runs to Colorado this season in 35 innings.
3. Which two young players will show the world how good they are?We know how good Rockies left fielder Matt Holliday is, and we're beginning to understand how much Rockies shortstop Troy Tulowitzki means to that team. But there aren't many more talented young players in the game than Arizona shortstop Stephen Drew. "How did he hit that low [.233]?" asked one scout, who hadn't seen Drew much until the playoffs. "Down the stretch and against the Cubs, he played really, really well."
Rockies vs. D-backs
The Hawpe-Helton-Holliday trio feasted on Diamondbacks pitching this season.
|B. Hawpe||.352, 3 HR, 6 R, 18 RBI, 12 BB|
|T. Helton||.375, 1 HR, 9 R, 9 RBI, 16 BB|
|M. Holliday||.361, 2 HR, 10 R, 13 RBI, 7 BB|