Yahoo! Sports national baseball writer Jeff Passan is blogging Game 2 of the Phillies-Rockies series. Send questions or comments to firstname.lastname@example.org for possible publication.
6:41 p.m. ET: Rockies win the game. Rockies will win the series. We'll be back at the end of the Yankees-Indians game with some analysis. Thanks for reading.
6:40 p.m. ET: OK, strikeout looking. Slider on the outside corner. Corpas has some nasty stuff.
6:37 p.m. ET: Best guess: strikeout swinging.
6:36 p.m. ET: Back-to-back singles for Utley and Burrell off Corpas. And up steps Ryan Howard.
6:23 p.m. ET: Sinker pounded into the ground. Atkins fields it cleanly and throws Ruiz out at first. Now I feel rather safe in saying: Adios, Phils. It was a nice run. TBS executives must be elated with the prospect of an Arizona-Colorado NLCS.
6:23 p.m. ET: Slider for strike one looking. Nice.
6:22 p.m. ET: For TBS producers: Have you had a Corpas-cam all day to ensure he's not using a foreign substance?
6:20 p.m. ET: OK, now this really is interesting. Iguchi walks. Fuentes is out. Manny Corpas comes in to face Jimmy Rollins with the bases loaded and the Rockies up 10-5.
6:15 p.m. ET: OK, so this is kind of interesting. Two on, two out, eighth inning, Tadahito Iguchi pinch hitting. Home run makes it 10-8.
6:02 p.m. ET: Even after Matt Holliday's hard lineout to Jimmy Rollins, the Rockies' top three hitters are 7-for-15 with a double, triple and three home runs. That's more hits than the entire Phillies lineup.
6:01 p.m. ET: No cycle. Lazy fly out to center field. Oh, well.
5:59 p.m. ET: Kaz Matsui is against Six Fingers Alfonseca. A single and he gets the first cycle in postseason history.
5:52 p.m. ET: Time to change your signs, Charlie Manuel. You're getting positively outmanaged, and then when Shane Victorino is running, the Rockies call a pitchout?
Good thing no one was covering second base, allowing Victorino to advance to third and score on a Jimmy Rollins tapper.
Phillies gnawing back. It's 10-5 with two outs in the seventh.
5:30 p.m. ET: Look back at the post from 25 minutes ago. And swallow it knowing that Ryan Howard just hit a home run off Jeremy Affeldt.
Had he done so in the last inning, it would have tied the score at 6.
Now, it cut Philadelphia's deficit to 10-4.
5:25 p.m. ET: Matt Holliday with a bullet up the gut. Matsui walks in. Rockies up 10-3. And Citizens Bank Park, with its largest crowd in history, is dead.
5:22 p.m. ET: Joe Table is out, Clay Condrey is in, and it's getting worse. Kaz Matsui triples to right-center to score Torrealba and make it 9-3, leaving him a single short of the cycle.
Odds on Matsui hitting for the cycle this postseason? Anyone in Vegas care to venture what they would've been?
5:20 p.m. ET: Jose Mesa, imploding in the playoffs? Noooooooo …
Back-to-back walks to lead off the sixth inning, then he leaves a fastball over the middle of the plate that Yorvit Torrealba hammers to right-center field to score Brad Hawpe from second and Ryan Spilborghs from first. Rockies 8, Phillies 3. And with the Rockies' bullpen, game over.
Quoth Tim Brown: "Well, this should ease the hate mail for not having Manuel as my manager of the year … "
4:46 p.m. ET: If this game plays out as it has, one of the big storylines will be Clint Hurdle's outmaneuvering of Charlie Manuel. Pinch hitting Seth Smith for Franklin Morales kept the top of the fourth inning alive and allowed for Kaz Matsui's grand slam.
Tim Brown, watching from Boston, IM'd after Jimmy Rollins' two-run double gave the Phillies a 3-2 lead: "Here's a question for you: Might you not have considered walking Rollins in that situation, pitched to the left-handed hitter who'd struck out five times in the series?"
He does bring up a good point. Then again, that left-handed hitter was Chase Utley, who, no matter his struggles, is one of the 10 best hitters in baseball. Pitching to him with the bases loaded, even when he can't seem to hit a softball, even when Rollins could smoke a golf ball, is not worth the risk.
5:05 p.m. ET: Josh Fogg, stud of the day. Utley on first, two outs, bottom of the fifth and Pat Burrell at the plate. On a full count, he unleashes a nasty changeup – an 80-mph dipper – that Burrell swings right through. Instead of two on and Ryan Howard up, it's inning over and lead preserved.
5 p.m. ET: Hey! Chase Utley singled! All is well with the world. Except the Phillies are more than halfway to completely blowing any chance they have in the series.
4:52 p.m. ET: Wes Helms should have scored on the ground ball hit by Kyle Kendrick. No matter how slow Helms is, the ball was a tapper, and he would have easily tied the game.
4:47 p.m. ET: Very interesting at-bat for Phillies catcher Carlos Ruiz in the second inning. Third-base umpire Derryl Cousins assessed a ball to pitcher Franklin Morales after it looked like he licked his fingers. In baseball parlance, he "went to the mouth," which is a no-no, considering what a well-hocked loogie can do to a baseball.
In fact, doctoring of balls is becoming a big part of this series. Manny Corpas' explanation of pouring liquid on himself last night: He was hot, writes Tracy Ringolsby.
Anyway, back to the at-bat. Morales, dinged the extra ball, went full and left a fastball up. Ruiz crushed it to center field, moving Wes Helms and his molasses self to third base with one out and Kyle Kendrick coming up.
4:39 p.m. ET: IMs with timestamps:
Mark Pesavento (10/4/2007 4:35:58 PM): Wow
Mark Pesavento (10/4/2007 4:36:05 PM): Charlie Manuel: You're fired!
Mark Pesavento (10/4/2007 4:36:11 PM): Kyle Lohse???
Yeah, that about sums it up.
4:36 p.m. ET: Yeah, that's more like it. Grand slam, Kaz Matsui. A no-doubter. With all of Citizens Bank Park cheering for a 1-2 pitch, Lohse left a 93-mph fastball over the inside corner and Matsui hammered it out to right field. Rockies 6, Phillies 3.
4:35 p.m. ET: From the No Way That's True Department: In four career postseason relief appearance, Lohse has pitched seven innings, given up just three hits, one run, no walks and struck out nine.
4:32 p.m. ET: Franklin Morales' day is done. Kyle Kendrick intentionally walked Yorvit Torrealba to get to Morales, and Clint Hurdle figured Morales wasn't going to give him much more, so he pinch hit Seth Smith, who squibbed an infield hit down the third-base line. Bases loaded, two outs and – well, Kendrick's day is done, too. Here comes Uncle Charlie, yanking an obviously displeased Kendrick for Kyle Lohse.
4:23 p.m. ET: Reader mail!
What are the chances that Chase Utley and Ryan Howard make contact this series?
Hmmmm. I presume you believe the answer is never, and after watching the pair strike out in nine of their first 10 at-bats combined, that may just be the case.
In Howard's case, it's not much of a surprise. He did set a single-season record with 199 strikeouts this season, and his numbers against left-handers pale compared to righties.
Howard vs. lefties: .225 batting average, .826 on-base plus slugging
Howard vs. righties: .297, 1.072
Utley has no such excuse. His splits don't really differ. He just looks awful.
I'm glad you mentioned the absolute horror that is Frank Caliendo. He reminds me of the ubiquitous, out-of-shape frat boy at every party trying to score chicks by demonstrating his ability to crush cans on his head, all the while doing bad impressions and C-list material. As a professional actor, it brings me unimaginable despair to think that this man now has his own TV show. It would be the equivalent of me starting at second base for the Phillies just because I played in high school.
Although after today, the Phils might be giving me a call.
If they make a commercial about you and run it instead of the Caliendo nonsense, I'm all for it.
4:15 p.m. ET: Is Howard going to have to pay Charlie Manuel a fine for getting picked off first base?
4:14 p.m. ET: Is TBS going to have to pay a fine for Ryan Howard dropping an F-bomb after Franklin Morales hit him on the right hand with a fastball?
3:56 p.m. ET: I will quote journal guru Mark Pesavento's IM: "Rollins is awesome." Yes. Yes he is. Morales left a changeup belt high, and Rollins belted it to left-center for a two-run triple. Morales spun and excoriated himself. At the end of two, it's Phillies 3-2. Rollins is halfway to a cycle, with the two toughest pieces down and probably three at-bats to nab the rest.
3:45 p.m. ET: Perhaps with the Phillies finally in the postseason, the myth about Coors Field being the best home run park in baseball will end.
Nearly 1.42 home runs per game were hit at Philadelphia 's Citizens Bank Park this season, the most in the major leagues. Cincinnati's Great American Ball Park was second with 1.35. Coors, at 1.22, was fourth.
All of this is pertinent, of course, because two of the three home runs hit thus far in Game 2 of the Phillies-Rockies series might not have gone out in the average stadium. Troy Tulowitzki's first-inning shot off Kyle Kendrick eked over the outfield wall – though a high wall it was, admittedly. Matt Holliday hit Kendrick's next pitch a mile. That would've left the Polo Grounds.
Jimmy Rollins' answer to the Rockies two first-inning shots, on the other hand, was classic bandbox bunk: a line drive that would have been a double elsewhere – or maybe a triple with Rollins' speed – landed in the bleachers. Rollins is smart. He knows Franklin Morales, the Rockies' rookie with all of eight major-league games under his belt, wants to throw a first-pitch strike. Rollins guessed fastball and blistered it.
Already, through 11 innings, there have been six home runs. And to think, they haven't played an inning in Denver yet.
2:30 p.m. ET: We're back for Day 2 of the MLB postseason, with Colorado trying to steal another game in Philadelphia, Cleveland kicking off its series against New York and Arizona looking for a 2-0 lead against Chicago. The live journal will be in effect throughout the first game, and for the final two we'll be checking in immediately after the last out with some notes and observations.
I'm looking forward to the first game of the day, with the Phillies trying to recover from Jeff Francis lulling them into an offensive coma. Colorado brings another left-hander, 21-year-old Franklin Morales, who has dazzled since joining the Rockies on Aug. 18. He throws 97 mph and complements his gas with a darting changeup and filthy curveball.
Rockies manager Clint Hurdle chose Morales to start Game 2 ahead of veteran Mark Redman, and it follows the pattern he has ridden into the postseason: Come strong, come fierce, come hard and see if anyone can handle it. Even if Morales did spend the majority of the season at Double-A.
The Phillies' starter, Kyle Kendrick, started the year at Double-A, too, before injuries to Freddy Garcia and Jon Lieber, plus the shift of Brett Myers to the bullpen, forced Philadelphia to summon him. The 23-year-old Kendrick, who hadn't thrown above A-ball to start the season, responded by throwing 121 innings over 20 stats, winning 10 games and stabilizing the Phillies when they were at their weakest.
Kendrick is not overpowering, not by any means. He has allowed 129 hits in 121 innings and struck out just 49, which leads you to believe perhaps his grand debut was nothing more than a fluke. Or maybe Kendrick is just your archetypal sinkerballer who doesn't strike out guys and gives up reams of hits but skates by anyway, like the Yankees' starter tonight, Chien-Ming Wang.
Whatever the case, the Phillies need him. A 2-0 deficit and they're cooked. Already it looks grim. The Rockies' 51 victories at home tied for the most in the National League this season.
First pitch is at 3 p.m. ET. The e-mail inbox is wide open at email@example.com. Look forward to hearing from you throughout the day.
- Jimmy Rollins
- Franklin Morales
- Ryan Howard
- Kyle Kendrick
- Kaz Matsui
- Ryan Spilborghs