When Lou Pinella told the media that he pulled Carlos Zambrano from the first game of the NLDS when the game was tied 1-1 game in "order to save him for game 4", a lot of us wondered if there was even going to be a game four. It turns out there wouldn’t be - Pinella had "saved" Carlos Zambrano for next season. The Arizona Diamondbacks swept the Chicago Cubs from the playoffs, in front of the Wrigley faithful.
This third game wasn’t as close as the final score of 5-1 indicated. The Cubs never managed to get a real rally going and failed time after time to convert with men in scoring position. Their only run came on off a weak groundout by Jason Kendall.
The Diamondbacks on the other hand came out roaring. Leadoff hitter Chris Young got a good pitch from Cubs starter Rich hill and grooved it into the seats to lead off the game with a home run. A second run followed shortly when Stephen Drew doubled and then scored on a base hit by Justin Upton.
And then the Cubs finally made it to the plate. They managed three baserunners in the first inning but a double play erased Alphonso Soriano, and Derrek Lee and Cliff Floyd were left stranded. It was to be a common sight on Saturday as the Cubs stranded 8 runners, seven of them in the first five innings.
And the Diamondbacks' offense didn’t seem to have the same problem. They added another run in the third on a fielder’s choice with the bases loaded. Added another in the sixth on an Eric Byrnes home run, and a fifth on a Stephen Drew home run in the ninth it was Drew’s second home run of the series and his seventh hit in 14 at bats versus Cubs pitching.
For the Diamondbacks it is their second NLDS series win, and the first since they won the World Series back in 2001. For the Cubs it was their 99th year of futility struggling to win a championship of their own.
Now the Diamondbacks have a couple of days to prepare for the Rockies who swept the Phillies later in the evening. The Diamondbacks and Rockies are well acquainted with each other just about splitting 19 games (10-9 in favor of the Rockies)- with the Rockies taking the tiebreaker on the last day of the regular season while the Diamondbacks were resting their regulars to get them ready for the playoffs.
What that means is that we should expect a great NLCS.
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