The sting of their Game 5 heartbreak at Milwaukee will linger a bit. Eventually, the Arizona Diamondbacks will be able to feel good about their stunning worst-to-first run in the NL West and what it means for the franchise's future.
''I just told these guys that they should be proud,'' manager Kirk Gibson said after Friday's 3-2, 10-inning loss, ''because they've set the stage and the standard for how we want to play and they've done it all year.''
This team that was supposed to be so lousy can expect to be labeled a contender come spring.
Take the 1-2 pitching punch of 21-game winner Ian Kennedy and 16-game winner Daniel Hudson, add young Josh Collmenter, who had an outstanding playoff start, and perhaps 22-year-old Jarrod Parker up from the minors, and the rotation is strong. Left-hander Joe Saunders is eligible for arbitration after earning $5.5 million this season.
The position-player core of right fielder Justin Upton, center ...