Heading into playoff series, everybody likes to figure out who they think will when certain match-ups, who has the advantage over who at certain positions and starter slots, and of course ultimately who wins the series. I'm the same as everybody else in this, but I also like contemplating the alternatives, the but-what-ifs. Sometimes its easy, as in, sure Jake Peavy is a better pitcher than Josh Fogg, but what if the Rockies beat him? Answer: the Rockies go to the playoffs.
I would argue that the but-what-ifs in this series definitely give the Rockies an advantage as they seem to have more fall back positions. Not that he's expected to win, but if Francis loses tonight, we have another shot at a weak starter tomorrow. If U-ball loses then as well, it gets trickier, but we're going home for three with a chance to turn it around and it's still a tenable position. I don't think Arizona has that same luxury. If Brandon Webb loses tonight, the Diamondbacks are in serious trouble for the rest of the series. They'll have to try and scramble from an inferior position to salvage the split tomorrow and then hope they can pick one off of us in Denver. Sure they picked up one win in Chicago, but this isn't the Cubs lineup they are facing anymore, if our guys smell blood in the water, they've learned to go after it.
Put simply, I just don't think the pressure's on the Rockies this game. I don't know if that means we get the win either, Webb's a big game pitcher and he's handled situations like this before. But if Francis comes through like he did against Philly and if we do take a W out of tonight, Arizona will be pressing for the rest of the series, and it could wind up being another very short one.
Oops, before I forget, I did promise Jay at Esquire that I would get over their talking about how bad Matt Holliday is (psych, they say "overrated" I can interpret that how I want) and give his NLCS Preview a shout-out. After the piling on he took from D-back fans, he's wise to not take sides this time and writes a fairly balanced piece. His partner on the other hand...