October 6th, 2007
Arizona Diamondbacks @ Chicago Cubs
Wrigley Field, Chicago, Illinois
D-Backs Lead Series 2-0
Livan Hernandez vs Rich Hill
Arizona Diamondbacks Starting Lineup/Batting Order:
1. Chris Young (CF)
2. Stephen Drew (SS)
3. Eric Byrnes (LF)
4. Conor Jackson (1B)
5. Mark Reynolds (3B)
6. Justin Upton (RF)
7. Augie Ojeda (2B)
8. Miguel Montero (C)
9. Livan Hernandez (P)
Chicago Cubs Starting Lineup/Batting Order:
1. Alfonso Soriano (LF)
2. Ryan Theriot
3. Derek Lee (1B)
4. Cliff Floyd
5. Aramis Ramirez (3B)
6. Mark DeRosa
7. Jacque Jones
8. Jason Kendall (C)
9. Rich Hill (P)
Chicago Cubs: 1 Arizona Diamondbacks: 5
Diamondbacks Win Series 3-0
Livan Hernandez: 6 IP, 5 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 5 BB, 2 K's, 101 Pitches
Stephen Drew: 3/5, 3 H, 2 R, 1 RBI, 2 K's
Eric Byrnes: 2/5, 2 H, 1 R, 2 RBI's, 1 HR, 1 K
Rich Hill: 3.0 IP, 6 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 2 BB, 3 K's, 1 HR, 73 Pitches
Alfonso Soriano: 0/4, 1 BB, 3 LOB
Derek Lee: 2/4, 2 H, 2 LOB
Umpires: Home-Greg Gibson, First Base-Mike Everitt, Second Base-Mike Reilly, Third Base-Mark Carlson
Attendance: 42,157 (102.5%Full)
The friendly confines of Wrigley Field were packed on Saturday afternoon. Every fan standing and had their rally caps on. Rich Hill was prime and ready to take the mound and put a W on the board for the Cubs. Livan Hernandez, Chris Young, and the Rattlers of Arizona had something else in mind.
On the very first pitch of the game, Chris Young went buck wild on a Rich Hill offering. He sent a ball into the seats filled with shocked Cubs fans. Right off the bat, the Cubs were playing catchup in a game they needed desperately. Rich Hill ended up allowing 3 H, 1 BB, and a HBP in the top half of the 1st. From the start, the Cubs were bullied into an 0-2 hole.
By the 4th, Rich Hill was punched out of the game by a Livan Hernandez single to put two men on and no outs. Hill was not able to deliver a solid outing for the Cubs and he finished his night with an astonishing 73 pitches through 3 Innings. The bases eventually became loaded as Michael Wuertz pitched in relief. This point in the game was the most critical portion. The Diamonbacks were on the brink of blowing it open and the Cubs were able to only allow one run. Hope was still alive being down 3-0.
And as if the Cubs realized that they had created an opening for themselves, they slammed on the gas pedal in the bottom of the 4th. DeRosa singled, Jones doubled, and Kendall grounded out to bring in DeRosa. At 3-1, the Cubs had done themselves justice by inching closer.
What you have read before was me just typing from the box score. I had not watched the game until the 5th. And boy, am I glad I saw the 5th. Livan Hernandez got himself into a massive jam in the bottom half of the inning. He walked three Cubs batters to eventually load the bases with only one out. For the 3rd time of the night, the Cubs grounded out into a DP. This was the first of two back breaking moments.
The 2nd, being Eric Byrnes' HR to LF. Basically, the nail was slammed swiftly into the coffin. The Cubs never threatened again during the course of the game and the Cubs are now going home. By a score of 5-1, the Arizona Diamondbacks sent themselves to their first NLCS since 2001. And of course, 2001 was the season that the Diamonbacks brought down the beast that was and is the New York Yankees.
Arizona played some of the best baseball I've ever seen. They are the personification of a dark horse. No one had this team doing anything even though they came in with 90 wins. The stats from this team were ones that could be used for a punch line. This D-Backs team scratches and claws out games. They play the inch by inch game with lights out pitching and timely hitting. Chicago just couldn't produce offensively. In the three games of this NLDS, the Cubs had 27 men LOB. They only scored two runs per game and never got the pitching performances they needed. Piniella made what we now consider a QUESTIONABLE move in Game 1 by taking Big Z out of after only 6 innings of work and 85 pitches. In Game's 2 and 3, both Cubs starters didn't make it past the 4th inning. Arizona was phenomenal in completely dominating their opponent. This band of brothers that we've never heard of are moving on.
For Chicago, there's always next year. For Arizona, it's time for the NLCS and I'd be willing to bet now after seeing them in this NLDS that whoever they get will have a tough time.