ST. LOUIS -- There were some raised eyebrows when Bob Brenly named
Batista his No. 3 starter for the National League Division Series.
|Batista allowed two runs on three hits in six innings.
While most pundits said the St. Louis Cardinals had the edge in
pitching matchup, and some Diamondbacks fans were hoping for a rainout
Curt Schilling could start Game 3 a day later, Batista quietly went
about preparing for his start with a quiet confidence.
He has a picture of Albert Einstein that hangs in his Bank One Ballpark
locker, and he is very fond of Einstein's quote about imagination being
important than knowledge. Even those with the wildest of imaginations
would have predicted back in March that Batista would be the winning
in the biggest win of the season.
Back then, he was battling for the fifth spot in the rotation. Friday,
may have saved the season for Arizona by allowing just two runs on
hits in six innings as the Diamondbacks beat the Cardinals,
push St. Louis within one game of elimination.
"It's about taking advantage of an opportunity," Brenly said of
many times in this game you get your chance, and either you're not
for it physically or mentally. He got an opportunity with a pretty good
to show what he could do this year, and he took advantage of that
and ran with it."
With Arizona up two games to one, Brenly will start Albie Lopez in
Saturday's Game 4 rather than bring Schilling back on just
days' rest. Had the Diamondbacks been facing elimination Saturday,
was going to pitch.
Schilling and Lopez both knew the situation, which made for some
moments for the two of them, especially when Arizona fell behind early.
"It was the hardest nine innings I've ever had to watch," Schilling
"It was unbelievable. I'm spent. I feel like I pitched. One minute I
I'm pitching Saturday, then I'm not, then I am.
"The only thing fun about tonight was the last out."
Meanwhile, Lopez knew that if he wasn't going to pitch Saturday, there
good chance he would be used in the bullpen Friday. That meant that he, too,
was on edge the entire game.
"I was going back and forth thinking I might pitch tonight for an
start tomorrow," Lopez said. "Then, at one point, I thought I might do
It was a real roller coaster."
Batista calmed both men as he did what he's done all season for the
Diamondbacks -- keep the club in the ballgame when he's pitched. In his
three starts of the regular season, he allowed just two earned runs in
innings (0.95 ERA). In the process, he earned Brenly's trust and earned
himself the No. 3 spot in the postseason rotation.
And if there were those who had doubts about how he matched up against
Cardinals' Darryl Kile, there weren't any skeptics in the Arizona
"I hope everyone around baseball knows how good he is now," Craig
said of Batista. "He did what he's done all year. He kept us in the
gave us a quality start, and we scored enough runs for him."
Batista was 11-8 with a 3.36 ERA in 48 regular-season games. He was
remarkably consistent as a starter or reliever, compiling a 6-6 record
a 3.36 ERA in a starting role and a 5-2 record with a 3.35 ERA out of
A voracious reader, Batista, who was signed by the Diamondbacks as a
agent last November, draws inspiration from the many books that he
religious man, he took comfort in one of the stories from The Bible.
"Someone told me earlier today, 'David beat Goliath, so why can't you
the St. Louis Cardinals?'" said the 30-year-old, who has pitched for six
big-league clubs. "I always believed that I was a good pitcher. I have a
confidence in my ability to go out there and pitch. I try to go out
every game and keep my team in the ballgame."
Both of the runs Batista allowed came on a home run by Jim Edmonds.
"He made one bad pitch to Edmonds," Brenly said. "Other than that, he
executed pitches, and got ahead of hitters and did what he's done for
Batista struck out four Cardinals batters, but part of his strategy was
let the St. Louis batters put the ball in play.
"I have confidence in them," Batista said of his teammates. "I know if
just go out there and make the other guys hit the ball we have a chance
win because we have one of the best defensive teams in the league."
Steve Gilbert is the site manager of azdiamondbacks.com