October 24, 2007
One of the reasons not many people have heard about who these Colorado Rockies are is because that they have been ignored by the network who chooses to showcase what games to show nationally on Saturday afternoons. With the Rockies' play-in game versus the Padres, the NLDS and the NLCS being cable-only affairs, tonight marks the first time this season that the Rockies will actually appear on broadcast television. What a way to make a debut, huh?
The New York Sun's Tim Marchman, after a couple of articles that were overly dismissive of the Rockies, came back with a more thoughtful, even-handed article this morning that finally caught what he had been missing about the Rockies' remarkable run to and through the postseason:
I realized that among the many Rockies virtues I'd neglected was their sheer classic style. Holliday and Helton drive the offense but what drives the team is pitching and defense, purely and simply.
Pitching and defense, perhaps surprising to many, really has been the engine that drove us this far. Starting tonight they have to try and find a way for it to carry them one final step further against perhaps the one team most capable of bashing through their "classic style." The Rockies, and tonight's starter Jeff Francis, can't be afraid of pitching inside to Red Sox hitters. They've got to keep the ball down, and they've got to keep the Red Sox guessing.
Josh Beckett isn't the only ace the Rockies have faced on their path to get here. In fact, over the course of the 2007 season and the playoffs they have gone 19 13 in games where they squared up against a starter with one of the lowest 10 ERA's in either league. No other team in baseball has close to as many wins in these situations. The list of pitchers beat includes Jake Peavy, Brandon Webb, Erik Bedard and Beckett himself. Say all you want that October changes everything, but it won't change the fact that the Rockies will not be afraid on this stage tonight, and you can ask anybody who has played them in the last month if they buy into the Red Sox as overwhelming favorite line. Heck, ask Jon Papelbon.
Brandi Griffin writes about the Colorado Rockies under the name Rox Girl at Purple Row.