Byrnes: D-backs 'not fazed' by Rox
Outfielder says luck, beneficial calls have propelled Colorado
DENVER -- Arizona outfielder Eric Byrnes doesn't share the opinion that Colorado is in command in the National League Championship Series just because the Rockies have built a 2-0 lead in the best-of-seven series.
"I think we're a good team, I also don't think the Rockies have outplayed us, because they haven't," Byrnes said Saturday afternoon before the Diamondbacks workout at Coors Field. "Not even close. They've had a little luck go their way. Definitely, the ball has bounced in their direction. They've been the beneficiary of some calls.
"So when we look at that as a group, we look back on those first two games, we have not been outplayed. If anything, I think it's the other way around, so that gives us confidence knowing that we can play with them. That and the fact that we faced them about 9,000 times this year. We are not really fazed by what's going on right now."
Byrnes' comments raised eyebrows in the interview room, but it did not produce much of a rise from Colorado manager Clint Hurdle or the Rockies players.
Byrnes' interview was broadcast on most the televisions at Coors Field, but the Rockies didn't tune in, choosing instead to watch college football in their clubhouse. Several members of the media took the liberty of informing the Rockies players later in the day.
"That's fine if they've outplayed us," Rockies shortstop Troy Tulowitzki said. "We're up 2-0 and we're here to win."
Said Hurdle: "I can't control what other people say, think or do. Perception's a wonderful thing. Everybody's got one. So my perception is our club has done enough good things to win two games."
The Rockies have outscored the Diamondbacks 8-3 in the series, but have hit just .211 in the first two games. Colorado pitchers have posted a 1.35 ERA.
"We've played every one of our games this year with people looking at it like, 'Wow, you guys aren't going to come back or there's no way you're going to hold onto this lead,'" Byrnes said. "Then we start talking about in the division context of it, it's like, 'Wow, the Diamondbacks are still hanging around, they're still there.' And then we ended up winning 90 games [and] winning the West. And everyone said, 'How did you do it?' We did it because we have a good group of guys that believe in themselves and have a lot of fun playing together and a bunch of guys that like each other. That, and I think this is a lot more talented team than people give it credit for.
"People talk a lot about the Rockies' defense and how great the Rockies' defense is, there's no doubt in my mind we match them defensively. Without a doubt."
Byrnes cited the play in Game 1 where Arizona's Justin Upton was called out at second base for interfering with Colorado second baseman Kaz Matsui, who was attempting to complete a double play, as one of the breaks that went against the Diamondbacks.
"I have just never seen that call before [and] I've been playing this game for a while," Byrnes said. "And you know, I didn't even know if that was a rule, that if you went in there with intent that they would call you and the runner out. I don't think I've ever in my life in playing this game have gone into second base without intent. Therefore, I think I should probably be called out every time I slide into second base trying to break up a double play, because I have intent every time. And there's 30 Major League baseball teams that teach the exact same way of going into second base, and that is with intent.
Rally caps: 0-2 deficit not insurmountable
|In postseason history of Major League Baseball, 66 teams have faced an 0-2 deficit in a best-of-seven series, with only 13 of those clubs coming back to win the series.|
|2004 ALCS||Red Sox||Yankees||7|
|1986 WS||Mets||Red Sox||7|
|1985 ALCS||Royals||Blue Jays||7|
Byrnes said the Diamondbacks, himself included, need to do a better job of hitting in key situations. But he still believes luck has been on Colorado's side so far.
"Yeah, there's a lot of things going their way right now, the ball's definitely been bouncing their way," Byrnes said. "But as we've seen before in this game, luck can change real quick. And I'm Irish, so you never know. Got a few Irish guys on our team. So hopefully it helps us out."
Jim Molony is a reporter for MLB.com. Reporter Steve Gilbert and associate reporter C.J. Moore contributed to this story. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.