Well, that sucked.
The Phillies did exactly what they did the last time they played a game in Coors Field: had a huge ninth inning and ripped the hearts out of many Rockies fans en route to yet another victory over the guys in purple. Since the Rox swept the Phils in the 2007 NLDS, they have gone 3-13 against Philadelphia and have crumbled in the ninth inning in several of those games.
Offensively, Seth Smith and Jason Giambi did their best to keep the Rockies close. Smith went 3-for-5 and fell a home run short of the cycle, while Giambi was 3-for-4 with three runs batted in. Brad Hawpe had a couple of hits and an RBI in his first game back from the DL, as well. In fact, as a whole, offense wasn't really the issue for Colorado tonight (other than a few not-out-of-the-norm instances of failing in high-leverage situations), as they struck out just twice and had as many hits (12) as the Phillies. All in all, they hit Kyle Kendrick very well. However, the relative power shortage does remain a legitimate concern. Oh, and Jim Tracy used Esmil Rogers as a pinch hitter in the bottom of the sixth. I know the bench was shorthanded, but man...
Pitching and defense, on the other hand, well - that WAS the issue for Colorado tonight. Greg Smith, despite striking out six and showing signs of life, struggled with control (four walks) and allowed four extra base hits (including a homer to the red-hot Carlos Ruiz). In all, he gave up five runs (four earned) on eight hits in 5.2 innings. It is important to note that two of those runs may not have ever had the chance to score had Melvin Mora been able to do his part in what should have been an easy double play (in my mind, anyway). Matt Daley entered the game and recorded the final out of the sixth inning, but not before he uncorked a wild pitch that scored the temporary (Giambi tied the game with a single in the seventh inning) go-ahead run for the Phillies. The middle relief combination of Joe Beimel, Matt Belisle, and Randy Flores held serve until the ninth, where Manuel Corpas absolutely imploded. After plunking Ryan Howard, Corpas was able to get Jayson Werth to pop up. Then, after falling behind Raul Ibanez, Tracy elected to have Manny intentionally walk him to get to Ruiz. Bad idea, as Corpas left a 3-2 pitch up in the zone and Ruiz slapped it into left field to score Howard. Then came the icing on the cake for Philly as Ross Gload lined a straight slider over the right-center field wall for a three-run homer to put the game out of reach.
15 - 17
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In what is surely a blowout-on-paper, Aaron Cook (1-3, 6.03) will take the mound for the Rockies and will face Roy Halladay (6-1, 1.45). Same time, same place. I'll be here urging the Rockies to boycott paper...I hope y'all will join me.
Go Rockies and such.