Red-hot Rockies now get to play the waiting game

Chris Ruddick, MLB Editor

Chris Ruddick Logo Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - The Colorado Rockies are going to the World Series. Let that sink in for a minute. Actually you have some time to let it sink in, because eight days will go by before you will see them on the field again.

Thanks to the brilliant scheduling of Major League Baseball, regardless of when the American League Championship Series ends, the World Series will begin on Wednesday, October 24.

By the way, Game 4 of the ALCS is slated for Tuesday, with Cleveland holding a 2-1 advantage.

I am sure the Rockies could care less about the long layoff, though. I thought the four days off they had between the end of the NLDS and start of the NLCS was going to hurt them since they were on such a roll. But it had no effect, as Colorado completed a four-game sweep of the Arizona Diamondbacks and is on its way to its first-ever World Series.

Keep in mind, though, the Detroit Tigers had to wait six days to start the World Series last season and never really got it going against St. Louis.

All season long, people said the National League was wide open. I guess they were right. But if you have told people in the middle of September that the Rockies would have been on their way to the Fall Classic you would have been told to go get your head examined.

Jeff Francis
Jeff Francis has put himself on the map as one of the premier pitchers in the National League.
At the end of action on September 16, the Rockies found themselves 4 1/2 games back of the wild card with a slew of teams ahead of them, and 6 1/2 back of the Diamondbacks in the NL West.

From that point on, though, all they have done is win 21 of 22 games, including their last 10 to become the first team since the 1998 San Diego Padres to go from last place in the division one season to the World Series the following year.

Don't forget the Rockies were also one strike away from elimination on the final weekend of the season. Now they have become the sixth wild card team in as many years to reach the World Series.

What Colorado has done here is truly historic. It is the greatest run I have ever seen, that is for sure. There has only been one other team to win its first seven games of the postseason, and that was the Cincinnati Reds in 1976. There have been teams that have won eight straight over the course of a postseason, most recently the 2005 Chicago White Sox, but never has a team ripped off a September and October like this.

Since entering the league in 1993, Colorado had never won more than 83 games before winning 90 this season, and has been known more for its power bats thanks to the thin air of Denver than its pitching. But it has been pitching that has carried them through this postseason, as the Rockies have posted a league-best 2.08 ERA in their seven playoff games.

Jeff Francis has put himself on the map as one of the premier pitchers in the National League. If his 17 wins this season were not enough to make people believers, Francis has had two tremendous starts in the playoffs, winning both of his outings, while pitching to a 2.13 ERA.

And how about closer Manny Corpas? He has picked up the save in five of the team's seven wins and got the victory in another after blowing the save by giving up his only run this postseason.

Then of course you have the bats, and none is bigger than that of MVP candidate Matt Holliday, who put a nice little cherry on top of the Rox pennant-clinching win on Monday with a three-run homer. Holliday, who led the NL in batting average and RBI this season, has hit four home runs this postseason and was the MVP of the NLCS.

So when you look at it, I guess it is not that big of a surprise that the Rockies are in the position they are in. Like everyone has been saying all along, anyone could come out of the NL.

But I have picked against them in their first two series and will probably go against them again in the World Series, regardless if it's Cleveland or Boston. However, judging by my picks thus far in the postseason, fans in Colorado should probably start making plans for a parade.

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Chris Ruddick
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