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The Colorado Rockies and Arizona Diamondbacks sole purpose in the sporting landscape right now is to keep their fans company until football season really cranks up in September. Both have long been out of playoff contention despite coming into the season with high expectations for themselves, and both teams seem desperate for a fresh perspective to get them back on the right track.
With that in mind, Arizona looked like the much sharper and more engaged team during their 5-3 victory against Colorado on Friday night, and one heads up play by D-Backs rookie David Peralta in particular may have proven that the Rockies have already checked out for the year.
It happened in the seventh inning with Arizona already leading 4-1. Peralta was the runner on third base after tripling earlier in the inning and Miguel Montero was at first after a walk. On the mound for Colorado was Rex Brothers and behind the plate was Michael McKenry. After Brothers delivered an 0-2 pitch outside to Jordan Pacheco, McKenry very casually lobbed the baseball back to Brothers, which many Diamondbacks players and coaches noticed he had a tendency to do.
In fact, McKenry's lobs had become a topic of conversation in the Arizona's dugout, and veteran teammate Cliff Pennington had planted the seed in Peralta's mind that he should take off if it happened with him on base. So as soon as Peralta saw McKenry lean back and lob it, he immediately took off for home. There was no hesitation whatsoever, and thanks to a bobble by Brothers, he recorded Arizona's first steal of home since Chris Young in 2007.
By the way, that was the same season Arizona and Colorado met in the NLCS, though that feels more like seven decades ago as opposed to seven years.
As for the odd play in question, it's one where you have to tip your cap and shake your head at the same time. On one hand, Arizona pulled a fast one. You have to applaud Peralta in particular for paying attention to details and playing aggressively when it would be easy to mail these games in. On the other hand, how can a big league club like Colorado allow this to happen?
It's unfathomable and inexcusable, but that's kind of become the norm for Colorado over the past two or three seasons. They continually get taken advantage of for being caught off guard or just executing poorly, and this latest one in Arizona may establish a new low point.
''I gave a quick glance and didn't really see much, and threw it right back and didn't think twice about it,'' McKenry said. ''It was on me, it was my fault. I feel awful about it.''
That sounds all well and good, but another look at the replay suggests McKenry never gave that glance. At least not until the ball was released and his dugout was probably yelling at him.
If there's good news here, it's that this is the type of mistake that only happens to a team once. If there's bad news, it's Colorado has done well finding new and exciting ways to be bad. This will be quite the test of their creativity.
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