2007 National League Division Series 1
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|2007 National League Division Series|
90 - 72 in the NL
|3 - 0
85 - 77 in the NL
|2007 MLB Postseason|
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|NL||ARI - CHC||ARI - COL|
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The first National League Division Series of 2007 featured two teams that had been out of the postseason for about half the decade: 2002 was the last time the Arizona Diamondbacks had been in the postseason, and 2003 for the Chicago Cubs. The Diamondbacks were considered long shots for the NL West with the Los Angeles Dodgers and San Diego Padres favorites to win the division. The Cubs, on the other hand, had signed the likes of Alfonso Soriano and Ted Lilly in the off-season, and were always expected to be in the race for the NL Central title, with the St. Louis Cardinals and the Milwaukee Brewers.
The Diamondbacks made their move for the NL West title in late May, when they won 8 straight games between May 24th and June 1st. They ended up finishing a half-game up over the surprising Colorado Rockies and one game over the favored San Diego Padres, with a record of 90-72, best in the National League.
The Cubs, on the other hand, started out with a lousy 22-32 record through May, but their turning point is considered to have taken place on June 1st and 2nd. On the 1st, in the midst of a loss to the Atlanta Braves, pitcher Carlos Zambrano and catcher Michael Barrett got into a brawl in the dugout which left Barrett with a bloody nose. The next day, manager Lou Piniella got into a heated argument over a caught stealing call, and was ejected for kicking his hat and dirt at the umpire. He was suspended for five games after that incident. The Cubs started to win games after that, winning 5 of their next 6, and hitting their stride in late June, when they won 7 straight games to reach the .500 mark and challenge the Brewers for the division title. The Cubs managed to hold off the Brewers through the rest of the season to win the NL Central with an 85-77 record, two games better than the Brew Crew.
|1||Chicago Cubs 1, Arizona Diamondbacks 3||October 3||Carlos Zambrano (ND) vs. Brandon Webb (1-0)||10:07 p.m.|
|2||Chicago Cubs 4, Arizona Diamondbacks 8||October 4||Ted Lilly (0-1) vs. Doug Davis (1-0)||10:07 p.m.|
|3||Arizona Diamondbacks 5 at Chicago Cubs 1||October 6||Livan Hernandez (1-0) vs. Rich Hill (0-1)||6:07 p.m.|
Game 1 @ Chase Field
|WP: Brandon Webb (1-0), LP: Carlos Marmol (0-1), SV: Jose Valverde (1)|
|Home Runs: ARI - Stephen Drew (1), Mark Reynolds (1)|
- Attendance: 48,864
In a matchup of two teams that had not been in the playoffs for a few years (Arizona's last appearance was 2002, Chicago's last appearance was 2003), the Diamondbacks took early control of the series with a 3-1 victory over the Chicago Cubs. Stephen Drew gave the D'Backs the lead in the 4th inning with a solo home run off Cubs ace Carlos Zambrano. The Cubs responded when Ryan Theriot tied the game with an infield hit that scored Derrek Lee. However, Lou Piniella took Zambrano out after 6 innings and 85 pitches in favor of Carlos Marmol, and the move backfired, as Mark Reynolds hit a solo home run to start the 7th. Piniella later explained that he wanted to save Zambrano for an eventual fourth game, and that "I trust my bullpen"; he was roundly criticized by the media, however. The D'Backs got their final run on a sacrifice fly by Conor Jackson. Jose Valverde shut down the Cubs in the 9th, and the D'Backs took an early 1-0 lead in the series.
Game 2 @ Chase Field
|WP: Doug Davis (1-0) , LP: Ted Lilly (0-1)|
|Home Runs: CHI - Geovany Soto (1) ARI - Chris Young (1)|
- Attendance: 48,575
Following their 3-1 loss the previous night, the Cubs sent Ted Lilly to the mound against Doug Davis of the D'backs. The night started out well for the Cubs, as Geovany Soto hit a two-run home run in the 2nd inning to give the Cubs a 2-0 lead and their first lead of the series. However, Chris Young, Arizona's top home run hitter in the regular season with 32, came through again with a three-run blast in the bottom of the inning to give Arizona the lead. Eric Byrnes added an RBI triple later that inning to give Arizona a 4-2 lead after 2 innings.
Arizona would add to their lead in the 4th and 5th innings, with Stephen Drew hitting a two-run triple in the 4th to stretch the lead out to 6-2, and then Augie Ojeda and Davis pushing runs across in the 5th to give Arizona a commanding 8-2 lead. Daryle Ward hit a two-run double to center in the 6th to cut the lead back to 4, but Arizona held on from there and won 8-4, taking a 2-0 series lead going to Wrigley Field in Chicago for Games 3 and 4, putting Arizona in a position to complete a sweep in Game 3.
Game 3 @ Wrigley Field
|WP: Liván Hernández (1-0) , LP: Rich Hill (0-1)|
|Home Runs: ARI - Chris Young (2), Eric Byrnes (1), Stephen Drew (2)|
- Attendance: 42,157
The Series moved to Chicago's Wrigley Field for the third game, but the results differed little for the two teams. The Cubs sent young Rich Hill to the mound against the experienced Livan Hernandez, a veteran of the 1997 and 2002 World Series, for the Diamondbacks. Arizona's lead-off hitter, Chris Young immediately quieted the large crowd by sending the first pitch of the game into the left-field bleachers for a home run. Stephen Drew then followed with a double over the head of right fielder Cliff Floyd and scored on a single to right by Justin Upton to put the Diamondbacks up 2-0 before the Cubs had even come to bat. Catcher Miguel Montero led off the 4th inning for Arizona with a walk, then advanced on a single by Hernandez, prompting manager Lou Piniella to replace Hill with Michael Wuertz. Wuertz walked Young to load the bases, then struck out Drew for the first out. Eric Byrnes followed with what appeared to be a double play ground ball to Aramis Ramirez at third base, but he just beat the throw at first base to allow Montero to score for a 3-0 lead.
Chicago managed to score a run off Hernandez in the bottom of the 4th, when a ground ball by Jason Kendall scored Mark DeRosa from third base, but that was it for Chicago's offense all day. The Cubs only managed seven hits, but grounded into four double plays and stranded nine runners, never seriously threatening the Diamondbacks' early lead. Arizona added two late insurance runs on solo home runs by Byrnes in the 7th and Drew in the 9th to complete the sweep. The Diamondbacks moved on to face the Colorado Rockies in the NLCS, while Chicago was left to contemplate a 99th fruitless season since its last World Series victory.
|Major League Baseball National League Division Series