10/10/07 10:46 PM ET
Notes: Melvin sets up Game 1 lineup
Manager may stick with lefty-righty strategy against Rockies
By Steve Gilbert / MLB.com
With Colorado southpaw Jeff Francis scheduled to start Thursday's Game 1, Melvin will stick with the same lineup he used against Cubs left-hander Ted Lilly in Game 2 of the NL Division Series: Chris Young (CF), Stephen Drew (SS), Eric Byrnes (LF), Conor Jackson (1B), Mark Reynolds (3B), Chris Snyder (C), Justin Upton (RF) and Augie Ojeda (2B).
The lineup figures to change in Game 2 with right-hander Ubaldo Jimenez on the mound for the Rockies. Against righties in the postseason, Melvin has gone with switch-hitter Tony Clark at first and the left-handed-hitting Jeff Salazar in right.
"The lineups will be pretty consistent as far as left-rights, probably not as exact this series," Melvin said. "We may take it more day-to-day depending on how somebody does the previous day."
Left-handed-hitting catcher Miguel Montero will likely start behind the plate in Game 3, as he has caught all of starter Livan Hernandez's games during the regular and postseason.
"We'll take the roster down to the wire, I guess, until it's submitted," Melvin said, referring to the 10 a.m. MST Thursday deadline. "Obviously, it's going to be pretty close, if not very close, to what we did the previous series."
Is it time yet? After sweeping the Cubs in the NLDS, the D-backs took Sunday off and had workouts at Chase Field Monday through Wednesday.
"It seems like this has been the longest four days ever, I'm not going to lie," center fielder Chris Young said. "[We're] just chilling, just relaxing and mentally getting ready, but [Thursday] night, when those lights come on, we'll be locked and loaded and ready to go."
And Thursday can't come soon enough.
"It stinks. A day or two would have been good, but three or four, you're just sitting at home and you know what's going to happen in a few days," said third baseman Mark Reynolds, "and you just want it to get here, and you're anxious for it to get here, and it's killing you. If we didn't have these workouts, I'd be going crazy."
Get your tickets here: Ticket sales have been relatively brisk, but the team still has seats remaining for Game 1. Fewer seats are available for Friday's Game 2.
"I predict that one will sell out," Arizona managing general partner Ken Kendrick said of Friday's game. "And the other one will be close. Tickets have been moving steadily. It's going to look full even if it's not 100 percent sold out."
Not selling out an NLCS game is nothing new for the D-backs. Arizona drew just 37,729 for Game 1 of the 2001 NLCS against the Braves.
One of the factors that Kendrick cited was that Arizona's market ranks last in per-capita income in Major League Baseball.
Twists of fate: An article in the local newspaper on Wednesday speculated on what would have happened had the D-backs stuck with their choice of Wally Backman for manager in November 2004.
Backman was dismissed four days after being hired after details about his past brushes with the law came to light. The D-backs wound up hiring Melvin, who is the leading candidate for the NL Manager of the Year Award.
"I remember sitting in my living room with Mel making that deal in the middle of that storm," Kendrick said. "And when you look back on it, it was a great moment that we didn't anticipate at the time. Sometimes things were meant to be. For this club, he's ideal."
Sharpness: Micah Owings, who is scheduled to start Game 4 in Colorado, threw around 75 pitches Tuesday for the D-backs' instructional league team in Tucson in an attempt to stay sharp.
Owings has not pitched since tossing 6 1/3 scoreless innings against the Pirates on Sept. 27. The right-hander was scheduled to start Game 4 of the NLDS, but of course, the series didn't get that far.
"I was able to get some much-needed work in, and it just felt good to get back out on the mound," said Owings, who did not allow a run in his final two starts of the year. "It felt like it had been a while, but it felt good. The main thing is, I threw all my stuff and got a feel for everything."
Old school: When Brandon Webb takes the mound to begin his warmups in the first inning Thursday, the song "Jam On It" by Newcleus will blare over the stadium's public address system.
It's somewhat of an odd choice, and it actually wasn't Webb's idea to play it. Back in 2003, then-D-backs reliever Matt Mantei picked the warmup songs for the rookies and chose that for Webb.
"I've had success with it," Webb said. "So I haven't changed it. It's old-school rap."
Surgery: Right fielder Carlos Quentin had surgery on his left shoulder on Tuesday.
One of the club's top prospects a year ago, Quentin was penciled in as the Opening Day starter in 2007. He suffered a slight tear in the labrum in his left shoulder midway through Spring Training, forcing him to start the year on the disabled list. He never seemed to be able to recover his rhythm at the plate and struggled to a .214 mark.
The estimated recovery time for Quentin is six months.
Steve Gilbert is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.