Wasn’t Colorado supposed to lose Game 1?
Letdown, fatigue, Cole Hamels being a stud, and on full rest, Jeff Francis’ history of sucking against that loaded Philadelphia lineup, and being on the road, dealing with a hostile crowd, were all used as valid reasons why they should lose. But these Rockies don’t like being told what they should, and should not do. They decided to show up anyways, and now take a 1-0 lead to Thursday’s Game 2.
The main reason they took Game 1, Jeff Francis. Not usually an overpowering strikeout guy, he sent a message by mowing down the Phillies first four batters with swinging strikeouts. However, the message wasn’t meant for the Phillies, it was meant for himself. He needed that great start more than the Phillies didn’t need it, because confidence is a huge issue for him.
Francis made his pair of mistakes in the 5th, with the back to back homers, but the damage remained limited. The Phillies could only muster two more hits the rest of the game. LaTroy Hawkins, Brian Fuentes, and Manny Corpas also played a huge role in holding the offense down. What a beautiful thing it is to have three relievers with closer stuff, and slow heartbeats.
This began as a game the Rockies wanted to steal, but it quickly became a game they couldn’t afford to lose. I’ll give you five reasons why.
1. Cole Hamels: left the game trailing.
2. Jimmy Rollins: 0 for 3, K, BB
3. Shane Victorino: 0 for 4, K
4. Chase Utley: 0 for 4, 4 K’s
5. Ryan Howard: 0 for 4, 3 K’s
If you don’t take advantage of that, you’re screwed, because it’s not happening again.
There was a short conversation between TBS broadcasters Don Orsillo and Joe Simpson that caught my attention. Orsillo asked Simpson (a former 11 year MLB vet, and regular Atlanta Brave analyst) if he thought home plate umpire Dale Scott had a smaller zone due to both teams starters being young, and unproven in big starts. Simpson said that was likely the case, and the expanded strike zone we saw later in the game proved him to be right.
WTF? The strike zone is the strike zone isn’t it? What if it was Clemens vs Hamels or Francis? Two entirely different zones? That’s ridiculous.
Game 2 of the NLDS series pits the Rockies fearless, flamethrowing, 21 year old lefty, Franklin Morales, against Philly’s Kyle Kendrick. Look for more runs and hits in that one. Just a guess.
2-0 would be pretty nice heading back to Denver too.