Notes: No regrets with Valverde
Pitching coach had faith closer would escape jam in Game 2
DENVER -- Others may have second-guessed D-backs manager Bob Melvin for leaving Jose Valverde in Friday's Game 2 of the National League Championship Series to face Willy Taveras, whom he walked, but still feels like it was the right decision.
The bases-loaded walk to Taveras forced in what proved to be the winning run.
"We had our most effective pitcher over the course of the year in that situation, and this particular time he didn't get it done," pitching coach Bryan Price said. "He's got 45 saves that suggest that he's pretty good at what he does and that he's earned the confidence and the right to stay in the game in that situation. That's the bottom line."
Right-hander Dustin Nippert and lefty Doug Slaten were both warming in the bullpen at the time with Slaten coming in following the walk to retire Kaz Matsui.
"The alternative is bringing in either Nippert or Slaten, two rookies that haven't pitched in a lot of those late-game situations, and expect them to come in there and throw the ball over the plate with a greater probability than Jose," Price said.
Valverde, who was in his second inning of work seemed to completely lose control of the strike zone, but both the pitcher and Price said fatigue was not the reason.
"He's lost his focus in spurts before, he's lost his command in spurts before and he's rallied," Price said of why they didn't remove Valverde after he walked Jamey Carroll to load the bases for Taveras. "He hasn't had 45 saves with 45 one-two-three innings. He's had to scratch and claw from time to time, and he's done it well enough to lead the league in saves. The point being is that my feeling is he's going to turn the corner. He's going to make the necessary adjustments to get the ball over the plate."
Keep 'em laughing: Eric Byrnes climbed to the top row of the Rock Pile located in the center field upper deck and challenged teammates to throw balls up to him from the field.
"Just having some fun," he said.
Lineup: With right-hander Josh Fogg on the mound for the Rockies in Game 3, Melvin will start switch-hitter Tony Clark at first and lefty Jeff Salazar in right field.
In addition, Miguel Montero, who has caught every one of Livan Hernandez's starts this year, will be behind the plate instead of Chris Snyder.
No future in the past: The D-backs have committed some uncharacteristic fundamental mistakes in the first two games of the series.
"Obviously it's been taking a toll the last couple of games," first baseman Conor Jackson said. "But there's nothing we can do about it now. We can sit here and critique how poorly we executed last night and the night before, but what are you going to do? That's just swimming in quicksand."
Steve Gilbert is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.