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October 03, 2007
Colordao Rockies @ Philadelphia Phillies
Citizens Bank Park,
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Colorado leads series: 1-0
Franklin Morales (0-0) vs. Kyle Kendrick (0-0)


Starting Lineups/Batting Order

Colorado Rockies:

1 - Kazuo Matsui, 2B
2 - Troy Tulowitzki, SS
3 - Matt Holliday, LF
4 - Todd Helton, 1B
5 - Garret Atkins, 3B
6 - Brad Hawpe, RF
7 - Ryan Spilbourghs, CF
8 - Yorvit Torrealba, C
9 - Franklin Morales, P

Philadelphia Phillies:

1 - Jimmy Rollins, SS
2 - Chase Utley, 2B
3 - Pat Burrell, LF
4 - Ryan Howard, 1B
5 - Aaron Rowand, CF
6 - Jayson Werth, RF
7 - Wes Helms, 3B
8 - Carlos Ruiz, C
9 - Kyle Kendrick, P

Primary stats:

Colorado Rockies: 10  (12 H)
Philadelphia Philles: 5  (9 H)
Colorado leads series 2-0
WP: Josh Fogg (1-0)
LP: Kyle Kendrick (0-1)
S: Manny Corpas (2)

Notable Stats:

Kazuo Matsui, COL: 3-5, HR, 3B, 2B, GS, 2 R, 5 RBI
Matt Holliday, COL: 2-5, R, 2 RBI
Troy Tulowitzki, COL: 2-5, R, RBI
Franklin Morales, COL: 3 IP, 3 H, 3 ER, 2 BB, 3 K, HR

Jimmy Rollins, PHI: 2-4, HR, 3B, R, 4 RBI
Chase Utley, PHI: 2-5, K
Ryan Howard, PHI: 2-4, R, RBI, 2 K, HBP
Aaron Rowand, PHI: 0-4, 2 K
Jose Mesa, PHI:  0.1 IP, 1 H,  3 ER, 2 BB, 0 K, 0 HR


Pitches: Morales 58, Fogg 34, Affeldt 16, Speier 20, Fuentes 19, Corpas 15, Kendrick 66, Lohse 22, Mesa 16, Condrey 26, Alfonseca 11, Romero 12.
Umpires: HP: Jim Reynolds. 1B: Chuck Meriwether. 2B: Jeff Kellogg. 3B: Derryl Cousins. LF: Ed Hickox. RF: Dale Scott.
Att: 45,991


This game was all about poor execution from the Phillies. Game 2 was theirs to lose, and boy, did they do a fantastic job of it. Everything from starting pitching to relief to clutch hitting to fielding reflected nothing of a team that has won 13 of its last 18 games. Dropping both games at home, the Phillies are going to be living on nothing short of a prayer if they're hoping to topple the Rockies twice in Denver and again at home, against Jeff Francis, who already beat them in Game 1.

On to today's game. Rockies and Phillie fans alike woke up this morning with a plethora of questions for Game 2. Would rookie pitcher Franklin Morales continue to dominate opposing teams, or would he buckle under the pressure of the postseason? Would rookie southpaw Kyle Kendrick? Could the scariest threesome in baseball (Jimmy Rollins, Chase Utley, Ryan Howard) recover from an abysmal performance last night that combined to total 0-11 with 8 strikeouts? And finally, would the white hot Rockies, a team with 22 final at-bat victories, continue an incredible streak to win their 16th of its previous 17 games?

The answers: Buckle, buckle, yes, and yes. Let's start at the beginning of the game with the starting pitching. With the afternoon sun cutting through the second deck of Citizens Bank Park, the game began. On paper, Morales versus Kendrick looked like the best rookie matchup of this postseason. Oh, how the dreaded baseball gods love to deceive us. Morales pitched especially poorly, lasing just 3 innings after letting off 3 runs, 3 hits and a leadoff home run to Jimmy Rollins. Manager Clint Hurdle was forced to replace him with the Dragon Slayer and number 2 starter Josh Fogg, who successfully pitched the next 2 frames, long enough to get the bullpen in there with a comfortable 6-3 lead.

Kyle Kendrick fared even worse, hurling 3.2 innings and giving up 5 hits, 5 runs, 2 walks, 2 strikeouts, and 2 homers. The home runs, and there were plenty of them, played a large part in the game. In the first inning, Troy Tulowitzki and Matt Holliday hit back-to-back solo shots of Kendrick, giving the Rockies a 2-0 lead. In response, MVP candidate Jimmy Rollins led off the bottom half for the Phillies with a dinger of his own, making it 2-1. As if that weren't enough, Rollins added to his healthy statbook with a 2 out, 2 run triple in the following inning. At one point in the game, all 7 of the hits had been for extra bases, a bad sign for either side.

After getting into a bases loaded jam with 2 outs in the 4th, Kyle Kendrick was replaced by manager Charlie Manuel by another Kyle, Kyle Lohse, to face second baseman Kazuo Matsui. Ironically, after getting away with using a bit too much of the plate, Lohse was warned by the announcer not to put one down and in to Kaz Matsui, a lefty's dream location. Sure enough, the very next pitch missed low and in, and was cranked way out to left field for a grand salami, putting Colorado up 6-3 and silencing a raucous Philly crowd.

At this point in the game, I've seen so many commercials for Captain Morgan with the two drunk guys who order delivery pizza that I'm planning on never touching a Captain Morgan in my life. Frank TV, however, looks funny. I'm ready for that to premier; Frank Caliendo is a funny guy.

After an uneventful next few innings that including a smooth catch by center fielder Ryan Spilborghs and some exchanged words between Holliday and homeplate ump Jim Reynolds, Jose Lima entered for the 6th inning. If anyone saw Jorge Julio pitch against the Padres on Monday, then you know what happened. Surely Lima, an MLB veteran, had his command under control, but what an odd strategy by the team to have him throw the ball everywhere within a 10 foot radius of the batter excluding the strike zone.

Needless to say, Lima walked his first two batters, a living nightmare for any manager from the pros to the p.e.e wees. Thank god he didn't walk the next batter, number 8 hitter Yorvit Torrealba. Instead, he let off a high-flying double that landed just over the head of right fielder Jayson Werth, the scoreboard reading 8-3. With damage still to come, Clay Condrey allowed a triple from Matsui (9-3), attributed to Lima, and a single to Holliday (10-3). 

In the lower half, Howard smashed a 1-0 pitch from Jeremy Affeldt way out of the park the opposite way to left field. The power that Howard has in incredible, and even down 10-3 he has the ability to show it off. However, one run was far from enough to catch the Rockies.

The rest of the game was sadly uneventful, but for a few highlights. Matsui, with a double, a triple, and a home run on the night, was a single away from becoming the first player in MLB history to hit for the cycle in the postseason, but he flied out in the 8th. Utley, with "Kashmir" by Led Zeppelin playing the background, ended his short postseason slump with a golfed single up the middle. Set up man Brian Fuentes got Colorado into a jam in the 8th, when he walked 2 straight batters to load them up with 2 outs. However, closer Manny Corpas came in and shut down Carlos Ruiz, a career .192 hitter with the bases loaded, with a slow chopper to 3rd.

With only half the seats still with butts in them, Corpas came out again in the 9th to complete the 4 out save in a 1-2-3 inning. En route to giving his team a 2-0 series lead, Corpas got Chris Caste to line out to center, Rollins to ground out to 2nd, and Howard to go down looking on a 2-2 fastball, ending the game.

Overall, a great showing of power from the two offenses (particularly the Rockies), but not much else. Both teams used 6 pitchers. Both made fielding mistakes. Torrealba threw the ball into center field on a pitchout, trying to throw out a stealing Shane "The Flyin' Hawaiian" Victorino at 2nd. On the Phillies side of the ball, Utley missed a slow grounder to second that dribbled under him as he tripped in the outfield grass. If either of these teams are going to make a run for the pennant or for the World Series, they are both going to have to step their game up.

The outlook for Game 3: It looks like the Phils will be throwing Jamie Moyer against a TBA Colorado pitcher, most likely either Mark Redman or Ubaldo Jimenez. Either way, look from plenty of offense from the Phillies' side, who I'm predicting will see an outburst from Rollins, Utley and Howard. Moyer, the Phillies' starter, is struggling this year. His +5.00 ERA and his 14-12 record is unappealing, and seeing Colorado jump on Kendrick today, expect to see more of that on Saturday. Overall, it may shape up to be a sloppy, high scoring win for somebody come Game 3.

Cardsox' prediction: Rockies pull out another one and storm the NLDS with a sweep of the Phillies.
Final score: 7-6, Rockies

Next Game: Game 3 - Rockies vs. Phillies
                  Philadelphia @ Colorado
                  Coors Field
                  Saturday, October 06, 2007
                  9:30 ET    TBS




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