The Arizona Diamondbacks begin their new life without Stephen Drew with a home series against the Colorado Rockies. The Rockies (47-52) are six games behind the D-backs and 10 games out of first in the NL West. Many experts in their mid-season predictions suggested the Rox have a late-season surge left in them and that it would be them, and not Arizona, chasing the Giants for the pennant in September.
If the Rockies have any hope of fulfilling that prophecy they will need to get things started by eating into the D-backs' second-place position. The D-backs, obviously, have no interest in rolling over and letting that happen which sets up this three game home series to have important (or at least some) playoff implications.
This will also be the first full series for the D-backs without the services of Stephen Drew. Willie Bloomquist is clearly the first choice to play short but journeyman Cody Ransom will likely also see time in Kirk Gibson's ever-changing lineup.
Pitching remains a question for the D-backs with Barry Enright sent back to Reno after a miserable outing. Gibson announced on Friday that Micah Owings will get the start on Sunday. He's not sure how deep Owings will be able to go, but with a day off on Monday, Gibby's prepared to empty the bullpen if he has to.
The bullpen is slated to get J.J. Putz back soon which will help since youngsters like Bryan Shaw and Ryan Cook haven't exactly torn things up in their few appearances.
- Friday (6:40 p.m.) : Aaron Cook (0-5, 5.82) vs. Daniel Hudson (10-5, 3.56)
- Saturday (5:10 p.m.) Jason Hammel (5-9, 4.36) vs. Josh Collmenter (5-5, 2.65)
- Sunday (1:10 p.m.) : Ubaldo Jimenez (6-8, 4.00) vs. Micah Owings (3-0, 2.76)
Audio: Kirk Gibson's pregame press conference (including funny story about visiting Stephen Drew in the hospital): Kirk Gibson pregame 072211
We start with the Rockies, who come to Arizona this weekend, in a state of some disarray. Remember the 2009 Diamondbacks? Expected by many to compete, they struggled with injuries and under-performance, limping their way to 70 wins, while frustrating and disappointing their fanbase. Welcome to your 2011 Rockies.