Originally posted on Fox Sports Arizona  |  Last updated 10/3/11
PHOENIX - No one personifies the Diamondbacks regime change more than rookie Josh Collmenter, who will get the ball in their must-win game Tuesday. Collmenter does not have a blow-them-away fastball. He does not light up a radar run. He developed his unique overhead arm slot by throwing hatchets in the woods as a kid with his brother and their friends in the Michigan woods. Manager Kirk Gibson called him the Ferris wheel in his press conference Monday. Pitch location and a 71 mph changeup are his best weapons. But he competes. He gets outs. He wins. Since Collmenter joined the starting rotation on May 14, the D-backs are 79-45, tied for the most victories in the major leagues with their Game 3 NLDS opponent, Milwaukee, which took control of the series by winning the first two games at home. Some of it has to be cause and effect. The D-backs understand what they are up against here, of course. Since the division-series tier was added to the postseason in 1995, only four teams have overcome a 2-0 deficit to advance, the last when Boston lost the first two games to Oakland in 2003 before recovering. The Red Sox opened that series on the road, too. Not that the D-backs seem fazed. They have bucked enough recent history this season to not worry about it. Their 29-game jump in the standings was part of it. So was posting a franchise-record and major league-high 49 comeback victories while becoming the ninth team since 1979 (manager Kirk Gibsons first year in the majors) to go from last place to first in a single bound. It wouldnt be us if we werent trying to come from behind, Geoff Blum said. Were comfortable with the uncomfortable, Willie Bloomquist said. One game at a time, but we are certainly capable of winning three games in a row. The D-backs have had 13 winning streaks of at least three games this season, and Collmenter -- who was 10-10 this season, led NL rookies with a 3.38 ERA and has a 1.07 WHIP -- just might be the right man to start another. His history against the Brewers suggests as much. Collmenter has not given up a run to the hard-hitting Brewers him in two starts this season. He threw six scoreless innings in a no-decision at Miller Park on July 6, when the bullpen could not hold a 1-0 lead. He followed that with eight scoreless innings in a 3-0 victory at Chase Field on July 18. Ryan Braun missed both those games, but Prince Fielder had just two singles, one that did not get out of the infield. Collmenters task today will be to let someone else carry the Brewers offense Braun and Fielder are 9 for 16 with two homers, three doubles and six RBIs so far in the series, and the D-backs haven't held a lead at any point. He has a lot of deception," Milwaukee manager Ron Roenicke said of Collmenter. "Great changeup. Good location on the fastball. Were not the only team hes done well against." Collmenter's addition to the 40-man roster was in question as 2010 wound down. While the D-backs brought in Kris Benson, Cesar Valdez and Billy Buckner to fill a rotation spot that originally was expected to go to Brandon Webb in their 97-loss 2010 season, Collmenter was putting together a 14-6 record at three stops in the five-month minor league season. New general manager Kevin Towers, hired in late September, liked what he saw of Collmenter in the Arizona Fall League and made sure to protect him, 89 mph fastball and all. Hitters tell you how good your stuff is, Towers said. Collmenter knows how to use it. He throws inside, a high-riskhigh-reward location. If the pitch gets too much of plate, it can get hit hard. But if it's in on the hands, pop-ups and broken bats ensue. It takes guts to pitch that way. You have to keep the hitters honest inside. Thats anybody," D-backs closer J.J. Putz said. "I played many years with Jamie Moyer, and hes a guy who threw ... some days he topped out at 81. And he would jam the (expletive) out of right-handed hitters. It was unbelievable. And hed just sit on the mound and laugh at them. Josh throws a little bit harder than Jamie, but just being able to be fearless about going inside on hitters knowing that you dont have a quote-unquote heavy radar fastball. ... Hes just fearless out there. Hes a competitor. Thats why hes so successful. From Fall League to two series short of the Fall Classic. I don't think last year I would ever have envisioned this," Collmenter said. "Maybe you think about it and dream about it, but when it comes down to reality, you don't think it's definitely going to happen. You don't plan that out."Follow Jack Magruder on Twitter
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