World Series: Why the Rockies will win
The Rockies are going to win this thing.
OK, you’re saying how can Mr. San Francisco Giants root for the Rockies in the World Series. First, the Rockies finished last in the NL West last season and are now in the Fall Classic. I can smell an omen for next year.
Seriously, it’s National League pride. The much-maligned Cardinal started restoring it last year by beating the Tigers, and this year, it’s the Rockies turn.
Whether you believe in them or not, the baseball gods like the Rockies. When you win 21 of 22 games, it’s a sign that somebody likes you. And make no mistake, luck is a very big part of the baseball postseason now.
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With three rounds, it is better to be lucky than good, though the Rockies are both. But some very strange things are happening for Colorado to be in the Series.
Laugh if you want, but Colorado’s opponent is none other than the Red Sox, the team theatrically-tormented by karma for 86 years. This is not a cosmic coincidence. The Sox have abused karma and now it’s time to pay.
Whatever happen to all those Boston fans who said, “God, just give us one World Series in our lifetimes.” You got it in 2004 in delicious fashion. Now shut up and go away.
You people are just about as obnoxious as Yankees fans. Yes, I said that. The Red Sox angst thing was cute when the Boston hadn’t won since 1918, but give it up. All season long, it was worrying about the Yankees. Then, the team was done against Cleveland, down, 3-1.
The bottom line is that Boston spends just like the so-called “Evil Empire” and this stuff does come back to get you. Welcome to payback, Red Sox fans. You’ll say this is a nebulous argument, but you’ll lived by this stuff from 1919-2003.
You’ve got to like the fact that the Rockies are a wild card. Since it started, Florida (1997 and 2003), the then-Anaheim Angels (2002) and some team from Boston (2004) have won the World Series as wild cards. (I believe the Angels also played a wild card in the Fall Classic, too, but it’s a bit of sore subject.)
As a sidenote, throw tradition out the window. The Arizona Diamondbacks won in 2001. The Florida Marlins have two titles. By comparison, the Rockies’ 15-year wait for title is short.
Continuing, wild cards do well because they’ve been playing do-or-die baseball from mid-September. Despite the melodramatic, media-hyped Yankees chase, the Red Sox honestly have had a playoff spot since, oh, about May. And don’t give me the Red Sox are more in sync because they beat the Indians in a taut seven-game series. This went seven because the Indians are the Cubs of the National League. That and the Red Sox pitched Eric Gagne in Game 2.
That brings us to the bullpen. Gagne (evil Dodger), if the Red Sox know what’s smart for them, doesn’t pitch in the series. Mike Timlin is overrated. That leaves Hidecki Okajima and Jonathon Papelbon as Boston’s only reliable arms out of the pen. They can only pitch so many innings, kids.
And this is going to be a long series as far as pitch count goes. Enter the Rockies with Manny Corpas, Brian Fuentes (much better as a set-up man) and two guys who couldn’t pitch worth a lick when they were Giants ” it’s good I’m not bitter ” Matt Herges and LaTroy Hawkins.
The Rockies have an ERA near two in the postseason.
Comparing the rotations, Boston did get a break by not having to use Josh Beckett in Game 7 of the ALCS, but he can’t pitch every game. Dice-K has been hit or miss, something you don’t want in a seven-game series. Curt Schilling is nice, but the bloody sock went out with 2004, and 17-game winner Tim Wakefield, who beat the Rockies during the regular season, is out for the Series.
Like the bullpen, the Rockies starters are no-names, but you don’t get the Majors’ best ERA in the second half, especially when half of those games are at Coors Field, by coincidence. Jeff Francis can keep the Sox off balance and Josh Fogg is better than his numbers look.
Little, er, big things
Red Sox fans tend to think that Boston’s lineup invented the art of hitting. But who are you playing? Colorado’s always had the hitting, kids.
Matt Holliday, Todd Helton, Brad Hawpe and on down the line know how to hit. The Rockies out-homered Red Sox, 171-166, this year, and only scored seven few runs than Boston, so let’s not make out the Red Sox to be Murderer’s Row. Oops, wrong AL team.
What’s more interesting is that the Rockies can play small ball. Watch for Willy Tavaras and Kaz Matsui to cause problems on the base paths. Yes, Julio Lugo has 33 steals this year, but with a wretched .294 on-base percentage, good luck.
Small things are important in the Series, say like defense, which upon further review, isn’t that small. Colorado is the best team in baseball with the leather. This is going to be an issue for the Red Sox, especially in the three games at Coors Field.
Not only does David Ortiz have to play first base, but Manny Ramirez has to deal with the outfield. (As a Giants fan, I have experience watching immobile left fielders in Denver.) There are no nooks and crannies like Fenway, but visiting teams always have problems at Coors Field. It’s not the thin air. It’s the fact that the wall is 350 feet down each line. That is a ton of outfield for the Red Sox to cover. Watch the gaps. Those are the killers for visitors at Coors Field.
The Red Sox are loose, and the favorites, but the Rockies play complete baseball. While their recent run may indicate that they’re a fluke, just ask the Phillies and Diamondbacks.
Rockies in six.
Sports Editor Chris Freud can be reached at 748-2934 or firstname.lastname@example.org. He will resume rooting for the Giants next year.