I find it difficult to explain to wise baseball friends how important Kazuo Matsui was for the 2007 Rockies, as his statistical record simply did not paint the complete picture of how he stabilized the team. He didn't come up big often, but the moments he did were typically important, energizing bursts that acted as catalysts for the rest of the team. His grand slam off of Kyle Loshe in this game was the defining moment of the series. In one swing he turned what was looking like a back and forth, brutal dragout fistfight into a rout. The sentiment expressed above at the Good Phight just after Matsui's blast could be heard echoed throughout Phillie Nation, and as the poster predicted, the Phillies hitters seemed to get hit by it too and never recovered.
The outcome of this game was supposed to revolve around which potent lineup feasted most off of which untested rookie. It didn't disappoint. Troy Tulowitzki and Matt Holliday started things with a bang and back to back homers in the top of the first. Franklin Morales was hit hard by Jimmy Rollins and Carlos Ruiz. He gave up a pair of walks and plunked Ryan Howard before successfully picking him off. The foreshadowing of his performance in the World Series and perhaps even his early season 2008 struggles were pretty apparent, but as a fan I wanted to ignore them. In retrospect, Clint Hurdle was probably right to pull him for Josh Fogg after the third inning in this contest when the opportunity for a big inning presented itself. Seth Smith was more lucky than good in rewarding Hurdle for that decision before Charlie Manuel was faced with a devil's bargain of his own. Bases loaded with two outs, he could have Kyle Kendrick stay in against the switch hitting Matsui or pull him for the right hander Kyle Lohse. He chose the latter.
Matsui hit seven homeruns while wearing a Rockies uniform, five of the seven broke up scoreless ties (four were in the first inning), one tied the game at five and started an important four run rally against Houston in the bottom of the seventh in June of last year, and then there was this laser just over the right field wall which will likely be the biggest hit of Matsui's career. The Rockies roll continued right though Philly without a detour.