The Colorado Rockies were the only National League team to sweep the first two rounds of the playoffs. They left as the second victim of a Boston Red Sox sweep in the World Series in the last four years.
Coming into the World Series, the Rockies made baseball history. They had won 21 of 22 games and 10 in a row. With last Sunday’s loss, their record over their last 26 games is 21 and 5, still good but not good enough to win a World Series.
The team found multiple ways to lose games. In game one, it was a blow out of staff ace Jeff Francis, who looks no older than a sophomore in high school and lasted only four innings.
The Rockies lost a pitcher’s duel after Ubaldo Jimenez went only 4.2 innings and Red Sox ace 1A Curt Schilling barely outdueled him.
Game three was another blowout, with starting pitcher Josh Fogg giving up six runs in 2.2 innings. The World Series was over when the Red Sox struck for four in the last two innings. If anybody was going to win the World Series for the Rockies, it had to be a dominant bullpen that could maintain leads or keep games close enough while the Rockies offense caught up.
A victory for the Red Sox in game one felt like an inevitably after they scored in the top of the first. The Rockies, it seemed, had no fight left him them.
So, what happened to the team that couldn’t be stopped? Outside of a lack of production from the offense and quality innings from the starters, part of the blame can be laid on their own success and the schedule maker.
Because of their second round sweeping of the Arizona Diamondbacks, the Rockies lost their momentum. With eight days off before the next series started, they were relegated to intra-squad competitions that definitely could not simulate the pressures of the World Series.
Their starting pitchers were given 12 days off in between the NLCS and their World Series appearance. Their offense was not helped by the time off, especially after its dismal showing against the Diamondbacks.
All of this extra rest likely cooled off the Rockies. But, as manager Clint Hurdle said, you can’t apologize for sweeping a team. What’s a team to do? Lose on purpose to keep the series going?
But let’s not forget the schedule maker’s role in all of this. Major League Baseball and Fox “agreed” -- of course MLB would bow quickly to the demands of the Fox network, there is no such thing as a true agreement when money is involved -- to move the date of game one from a Saturday, which is has always been since 1991, to Wednesday.
The reason? Ratings. Saturday night is one of the least-watched television nights, so Fox decided to bump up its number of viewers by trying a different night. All of the extra days off added two extra days off for the Rockies, which definitely added a little bit of rust.
After a dreary showing in the Fall Classic, What does the future hold for this Rockies squad? The magic carpet ride could just as easily happen once again next season.
Defensively, the Rockies set a major league record for highest fielding percentage this season, as well as ranking second in the major leagues in its ability to turn batted balls into outs.
With guys like shortstop Troy Tulowitzki and right fielder Brad Hawpe getting another year of experience under their belts, the offense should be just as productive next season as it was this season.
Starting pitching is where they are lacking. If the Rockies really want to compete next season, they are going to need to add a big arm to complement Francis at the front of the rotation. With the free agent market looking bleak, general manager Dan O’Dowd, a Rollins College graduate, will have to get creative and swing a trade.
This just wasn’t the year for the Rockies. However, Rocktober lives on. The team has decided to get a copyright for the phrase used to describe their late-season run.
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