Well, five-and-a-half years later, the Diamondbacks are back in the Bronx, again (thanks to Mike of Green Pinstripes for reminding me of D-Backs first return trip to the Bronx, when Marcus Thames hit his first HR off Randy Johnson). It's a shame that they're returning for a pointless interleague game, rather than another late-October showdown. We can thank Bud Selig for that.
In case you’ve forgotten what happened in 2001, here are a couple of photos to jog your memory.
Tino’s two-run bomb in the 9th to tie game 4.
Jeter’s game-winner in the 10th inning of game 4. (I was at this game, 2nd greatest live sporting moment of my life)
Brosius’s two-run bomb to tie it up in the 9th inning of game 5.
I’d rather not talk about what happened in games 6 and 7.
Tomorrow, the Yankees will face a young Diamondbacks team, with only one player in common with the ‘01 team of our memories. It’s an intimately familiar (and ugly) face, that of Randy Johnson. Unfortunately, the Yanks won’t get to face the Big Eunuch. They will, however, face the reigning N.L. Cy Young winner. As far as I’m concerned, the N.L. Cy Young Award means absolutely nothing. They play a different game over there in the N.L. and I think succeeding has much less to do with stuff than it does strategy on the mound. Most N.L. lineups have at the most three hitters you need to worry about, at least 2 automatic outs, and four middling guys.
That being said, Webb pitches in a hitter’s park, and still puts up nice numbers. The Yanks can’t take him lightly. He has a devastating sinker, much like Wang, but his K/9 ratio is much better.
On offense, the D-Backs are being led by two players who are playing completely over their heads right now: Eric Byrnes (.319/.379/.518) and Orlando Hudson (.291/.372/.462). They’re a young team, with little power. Byrnes leads the team with 9 HRs. They’ve been carried by their pitching. They only have two pitchers on their staff with an ERA above 4.00.
Key to the game: Get into the pen. While the D-Back pen has performed well, they aren’t Brandon Webb. Get his pitch count up, get him out of the game early, and then go to work on a young pen.
D-Backs blog-of-the-day: Down the Left Field Line: Life, Baseball & Eric Byrnes