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World Series may be better than you think

Chris Ruddick, MLB Editor

Chris Ruddick Logo Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - I have to admit I had zero interest in last year's World Series between the Detroit Tigers and St. Louis Cardinals. I lucked out too, because it turned out to be a snooze fest.

I may be in the minority here, but I am actually looking forward to this year's Fall Classic between the Colorado Rockies and Boston Red Sox, and I don't think it will be quite the beat-down that most people are assuming it will be.

Colorado is the real deal. You don't win 21 of 22 games by accident. The Rockies have a legitimate ace in Jeff Francis, a bona fide MVP candidate in Matt Holliday and a bullpen that is every bit as good as Boston's.

The Rockies, though, have lost a little bit of their mojo with this eight-day layoff. Eight days? That is crazy. They can play all the intrasquad simulated games they want, none of them will have the intensity they will face in Fenway Park on Wednesday.

Colorado can spin it any way they like. There is no way they wanted to sit this long after being so hot. The Tigers also won seven in a row heading into last year's World Series and had a six-day break from playing actual games. They seemed out of if from the start and never got it going against the Cards, falling in five games.

Jeff Francis
Jeff Francis may give Boston fits in Game 1.
Not to state the obvious here, but if the Rockies have any chance of winning this series, they are going to have get one of the first two games in Boston. Sports Network managing editor Jim Gillis seems to think that if they win Game 1 they could sweep, thinking they will just continue their roll right on through.

I can't imagine Boston being swept, but I can see them getting to Josh Beckett. He has just been so good in the playoffs thus far, he is due for a dud. Why not now? The Rockies already hit him hard this season, tagging him with his first loss of the season in the finale of their three-game set in June.

As much as I would like to think all that is going to happen, though, I keep going back to two things - Manny Ramirez and David Ortiz. They have both been monsters this postseason, and are absolutely going to rake Colorado's pitching.

Francis may give them fits in Game 1, but if Beckett is dealing, it might not even matter.

Once you get past Francis, there is nothing there. Ubaldo Jimenez, Josh Fogg, Aaron Cook? This is your World Series staff? Boston's lineup is going to do some serious damage to that group.

While we are on that topic, why is Colorado manager Clint Hurdle throwing Cook in Game 4 instead of Franklin Morales? Cook hasn't pitched since August 10 because of an oblique injury. You really want a guy that has thrown just a couple of simulated games in the last two months going for you when chances are you are going to be behind at that point in the series?

Stick with what got you there, Clint.

If it is offense that you crave, this is the series for you. The Rockies led the NL with a .280 average, and were second only to the Philadelphia Phillies in runs scored (860). Boston hit .279 on the year with 867 runs scored.

Game 3's matchup between Daisuke Matsuzaka and Josh Fogg in Coors Field has a 14-13 slugfest written all over it. I hope there is some snow in the mix in that one too.

Tuesday was the 14th anniversary of Joe Carter breaking the hearts of fans in Philadelphia with his World Series winning home run in 1993. I reminded some of my Philly friends of that just to rub it in, then someone brought up the point that that was Game 6 of that series. This year's World Series hasn't even begun yet.

Rain is in the forecast for Wednesday and parts of Thursday in Boston. If this series goes seven games, it will already be carrying into November. A few rainouts or snowouts in Denver and MLB could have a real problem on its hands.

Either way, though, I am looking forward to the start of this series.

Both teams are going to hit. I am certain of that. Boston, though, is just going to pitch a little better. The Red Sox have two of the best postseason pitchers ever going for them, while the Rockies have nothing but question marks. Would I be shocked if the Rockies won? No, probably not, but I am not picking them. Then again, I haven't picked them at all in the postseason, and they continue to prove me wrong.

Red Sox in six games.

Be sure to check out my blog at http://ruddickmlbblog.blogspot.com/ throughout the World Series, as I will be checking in with intermittent updates.

Comments? Criticism? Applause? Contact Chris Ruddick at cruddick@sportsnetwork.com.
Chris Ruddick


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