Brownie Points: D-Backs have the players to avoid 2008 repeat - East Valley Tribune: Sports

Brownie Points: D-Backs have the players to avoid 2008 repeat

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Jerry Brown is a contributing columnist who appears every Sunday in the Tribune. Contact him at

Posted: Friday, April 13, 2012 4:42 pm | Updated: 5:05 pm, Fri Apr 13, 2012.

As happy as I am to see the Diamondbacks off to a strong start, I will caution all those joining the bandwagon: After winning the NL West in 2007, Arizona was the hottest team in baseball in April of 2008 when they won 20 of 29 games.

Do you remember the 2008 D-Backs? Me neither.

But that team didn’t have the pitching depth, offensive punch or manager this team possesses. To win five of the first six games with Justin Upton and Paul Goldschmidt both scuffling out of the box is a good sign and this team has a confidence about them.

Ian Kennedy picked up where he left off last season in dominating the division. Daniel Hudson, Joe Saunders and newcomer Trevor Cahill, who battled through wildness in San Diego, were effective in different ways. Save one hiccup, the bullpen had the kind of solid look that makes this team a contender.

From its aggressive style to its confident approach, this team appears to have carried its mojo through an off-season, and that’s not often a given. If the middle of the lineup begins to click, they have the arms to reel off the kind of streak that can put some distance between them and the pack.

Forever Young

I hope Jamie Moyer pitches forever, and that’s a totally selfish statement.

Moyer, who will turn 50 in November, is 0-2 to start the season in Colorado as he attempts to become the oldest player ever to win a major league game. For myself and every other graying, balding, short-of-breath-while-getting-the-morning-mail American, he’s something else.

He’s a guy playing a major sport who’s still older than us.

I’m 48. On Thursday, I interviewed Oliver Ekman-Larsson, the Phoenix Coyotes best defenseman, who is 20. He’s great a kid, but he was born in 1992. I have suits older than that.

Saw a stat this week that Moyer has faced 8.9 percent of all hitters in Major League Baseball history. I remember him pitching for the Cubs when I was in college, and he’s still getting them out a quarter-century later, without a knuckleball or some 50-mile-per-hour eephus pitch.

We’re all a little younger and a little more hip thanks to him. When he’s gone, it’s one step closer to the seventh-inning stretch of life.

Quick hitters

•After scoring two goals in the Philadelphia Flyers’ win over Pittsburgh on Wednesday, Danny Briere now has 98 points in 98 career playoff games. Has anyone seen Chris Gratton lately? Ouch. Ten years after the Coyotes dumped him over the side, Briere remains a world-class player.

•With a new two-year contract for $40.5 million tucked in his back pocket, Tim Lincecum is 0-2 with a 12.91 ERA after his first two starts, both against the teams the Giants will be battling in the NL West this season. He lasted only 2 1/3 innings against the Rockies. After allowing eight earned runs in the first inning all of last season, he’s already allowed five. Uh oh.

•Give Suns coach Alvin Gentry credit for sticking with his bench and playing them until they figured it out. Markieff Morris has it going again after a midseason slump. Michael Redd is the latest medical miracle story at US Airways Center and Sebastian Telfair and Shannon Brown contribute regularly. Gentry took the Suns to the Western Conference finals in 2010, but this might be his best coaching job under very difficult conditions.

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