The NL pennant and a trip to the World Series were on the line when Arizona and Colorado played their final series of 2007. A year later, the final set is simply to finish off disappointing seasons for both clubs.
Fresh off being eliminated from postseason contention, the Diamondbacks look to avoid their fourth straight loss on Friday night when they host the Rockies.
In 2007, Arizona won the NL West and reached the NL championship series where it was swept by wild-card winner Colorado, which made an improbable late-season run to the World Series before losing to Boston.
One year later, however, both teams enter this series knowing they failed to build off that success and won’t be playing past this weekend.
While a number of injuries to key personnel contributed to Colorado (74-85) heading into the All-Star break 15-games under .500, Arizona (79-80) led the West by 4 1/2 games before play on Aug. 29, then lost 11 of 14 as the Los Angeles Dodgers took control of the division.
“Obviously, it hasn’t been the type of year we expected,” said Diamondbacks manager Bob Melvin, whose team led by as many as 6 1/2 games in April. “After the first month we couldn’t put together any kind of an extended period that resembled the team that played in the first month.”
Arizona’s 12-3 loss at St. Louis on Thursday clinched the division for the Dodgers while eliminating the Diamondbacks from the playoffs. After winning Monday’s series opener 7-4 for its seventh victory in eight contests, Arizona was outscored 23-9 by the Cardinals in the final three games.
“It was just disgusting,” Arizona’s Conor Jackson said. “It was embarrassing. You can’t pitch, you can’t hit, you can’t win games.”
Mark Reynolds drove in two for Arizona, but also set a major league record by striking out twice to give him 201 on the season.
“Of course, it’s not the greatest of records to have, but you move on,” said Reynolds, who is hitting .303 in 26 games versus Colorado.
Dan Haren (16-8, 3.27 ERA) looks to close his first season in Arizona with his third straight victory. He allowed three runs and seven hits in six innings of a 13-4 rout at Colorado on Sunday.
The right-hander, who set a career high for wins, is 3-0 with a 2.70 ERA against the Rockies this season and 3-2 with a 3.60 ERA in five career starts versus them.
Arizona is 12-3 versus Colorado this season and 5-1 against the Rockies at Chase Field.
On Thursday, Clint Barmes homered for the second straight game in Colorado’s 3-1 win over San Francisco to complete a three-game sweep of the Giants and win for the sixth time in eight contests overall.
“My guys want to play for all the right reasons,” Colorado manager Clint Hurdle said. “It’s going to be business and baseball as usual for us.”
Barmes is batting .341 with three homers and 10 RBIs in his last 10 games and .349 (15-for-43) with three home runs and eight RBIs against the Diamondbacks this season.
Colorado’s Jason Hirsh (0-0, 10.38) makes his first 2008 start in place of the fatigued Aaron Cook. Hirsh made three relief appearances this season, but hasn’t started since Aug. 7, 2007 against Milwaukee.
Though the right-hander has never started against the Diamondbacks, he allowed three earned runs and five hits in one inning of Sunday’s loss to them.