I keep waiting for the other shoe to drop with this team, but so far, so good. Brad Lidge may be following the Byung-Hyun Kim career path (Kim was tonight's starter for Colorado, incidentally, and struck out nine) in that a single high-profile postseason failure has set back his psyche and career for years. Funny, considering the Astros won that series against Albert Pujols and the Cardinals, and Kim's Diamondbacks won the 2001 World Series against the Yankees. I guess that's baseball for you, though. Teams win, players lose.
Good team win for the Rockies tonight, anyway. Todd Helton was 1 for 4 in his first game back from the disabled list and his presence had an immediate effect. It was Helton waiting on deck when Dan Wheeler walked Jamey Carroll to force in the winning run in the bottom of the ninth. Bad Houston defense contributed to two of Colorado's scoring innings. Someone needs to tell Clint Hurdle to can it with the parade of sacrifices, however. Hell, I'll do it. Clint: can it with the sacrifices. Your guys can hit. Except for Danny Ardoin.
The Rockies really needed a win tonight, because here comes Arizona, winners of six in a row. If the NL West ends up this year as a neck-and-neck race between two up-and-coming teams with a lot of underappreciated young talent, will national writers still savage it as the Worst Division Ever? Well, both the D-Backs and the Rockies can make some inroads towards respect city this weekend as they match up with Cincinnati and Houston. They're both off to a good start.
Man, I wish I had been at the ballpark tonight. I don't talk about my job very often, because, well, what do you people care, but I write entertainment reviews for a couple of suburban Denver papers and for the most part my weekend nights belong to to the community theater circuit. Instead of watching BK and Helton make their triumphant Coors returns, I was suffering through fourth-rate Sondheim. I only wish I had taken a flashlight to the theater so I could have read my other current review project, David Maraniss's new Roberto Clemente book. It's quite good so far. Maraniss is a good writer and Clemente is pretty much a can't-miss topic. It's funny how the stathead revolution has changed how I read baseball biographies, though. Maraniss spends a lot of time making a case that Clemente was jobbed for the NL MVP in 1960, which he very clearly wasn't. The voting went like this:
Thanks, Total Baseball. Obviously Mays should have won it but it's not as if Clemente didn't have some seriously good other performers with him on the pennant-winning Pirates. Of course, it may well be true that writers in Pittsburgh hyped Groat and Hoak over Clemente for racial reasons as Maraniss contends, but whatever the case may be, Roberto wasn't the one who wuz robbed.