Notes: Davis feels less is more
Lefty doesn't want to overthrow when he takes the mound
DENVER -- When Doug Davis takes the mound on Sunday, it could be the most important game of the season for the D-backs, or it could be meaningless, depending on what happens on Friday and Saturday.
One thing is for certain, whether he's pitching for a playoff berth, or just to get tuned up for Game 2 of the National League Division Series, Davis hopes to give 80 percent.
No, he doesn't mean he wants to be at less than his best. He'll still put in a large amount of time studying the Colorado hitters, and he'll want to win more than anyone. The 80 percent refers to not overthrowing.
"I'm an 80 percent guy," he said. "Less is more for me. I'm not a 100 percent guy. I've got to stay between 80 and 90 percent."
When he tries to go above that on the mound, he overthrows. When he overthrows, it lessens the movement he gets on his pitches, as well as his control, and that is a recipe for disaster for a pitcher that doesn't crack 90 mph on the radar gun and instead relies on movement and location.
"Some guys are 100 percent guys, like Tony Pena or Jake Peavy, guys that let it all hang out on every single pitch," Davis said. "I can't do that. I give 100 percent mentally, doing my research and preparing."
Career year: As the world of baseball collectively scratches its head at the dizzying array of National League division races, Wild Card scenarios, and postseason matchups -- all completely unresolved at game time Friday -- manager Bob Melvin is enjoying one of the best rides he's experienced in his career as player, coach, and manager.
"2001 was unbelievable, but I wasn't calling the shots," he said, ranking his tenure as Bob Brenley's bench coach during the D-backs' victorious World Series run among his favorite years. "In '87, with the Giants, we were one game away from going to the World Series, and that was probably right there with it. We won 93 my first year in Seattle, which was a lot of games to win and not get into the playoffs. But I think as far as excitement goes, and some of the influence we've had with some of the younger guys here, and the type of team we have, I don't know that it's been any more exciting than this year."
The D-backs hope to wrap up the season the way they started it, beating the Rockies at Coors Field. A single win in the three-game series assures them of a spot in the postseason. The Rockies, conversely, need to win all three to guarantee a berth.
Though few prognosticators could have picked Arizona and Colorado in a final series showdown with so much on the line, Melvin is taking the situation in stride.
"The way this season has played out, and the way it's turned over so many times, and [with] so many teams involved in it, I don't think it's a surprise," Melvin said. "It's apropos of the way the season's played out. I think it's great for baseball. It's great that you're seeing quite a few teams that haven't been in races recently. There's a lot of parity, especially in the National League."
And though the Rockies may be the biggest surprise player in the season's final weekend, bringing an 11-game winning streak into Friday's opener, they have long been on the Arizona radar as a force to be reckoned with.
"They're playing better than anybody in baseball right now," Melvin said in praise of his opponent. "We always respected the heck out of them. Especially offensively, they were probably as good as any team in baseball. The contributions they've gotten from [rookie pitcher Ubaldo] Jimenez and [rookie pitcher Franklin] Morales and some of the younger guys in their rotation have really allowed them to take off. I know it hurts when you lose [No. 1 starter Aaron] Cook and so forth, but these guys within their organization have stepped up and are very, very talented guys. No longer is this just an offensive club. There's as good defensively as any club in baseball. And their rotation and their bullpen is very, very good."
Nice to see you: D-backs first-round pick Jarrod Parker saw his first game action since signing with the organization, when he pitched two innings on Thursday in an instructional-league game against the Rockies in Tucson.
The right-hander, who graduated from high school in June, registered between 93 and 97 mph with his fastball. After signing just before the Aug. 15 deadline, Parker spent a couple of weeks with the club's Rookie League team in Missoula, where he did some bullpen work, but did not get into a game.
"He looked really good," farm director A.J. Hinch said. "It was good to see him in a Diamondbacks uniform."
On tap: Edgar Gonzalez (8-3, 4.73 ERA) takes the hill in Saturday's middle game of the three-game set at Coors Field, facing the Rockies veteran southpaw Mark Redman (1-4, 8.67 ) at 5:05 p.m. MST.
Steve Gilbert is a reporter for MLB.com. Owen Perkins is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.