The Phillies will face the Rockies in Game 1 of the NLDS on Wednesday afternoon. Quite frankly, I would rather see them face the Dodgers, but of course the recently-hot Rockies had to go and lose the final two games of the season to the Dodgers. Otherwise, the Rockies would have been the NL West champs, and the Dodgers would have been the wild-card team.
Of the four NL playoff teams, the Rockies seem to be the only one with any momentum. The Phillies, Dodgers, and Cardinals all seemed to go pretty flat after clinching their divisions. So I’d rather play against an equally flat team – despite winning the last two games, the Dodgers had lost 5 straight prior to that, while the Rockies had won 5 straight before the final two losses.
Also, if the Phillies were facing the Dodgers, we (hopefully) would not have this ridiculous 2:30-ish start time. The fans in the L.A. market don’t want to watch a game that starts before their lunch! But I guess the powers-that-be must think that the Phillies-Rockies matchup is the least desirable, therefore we get the crappy start times.
Besides, the Rockies bring back unpleasant memories. I’ve only seen the Phillies play the Rockies in person twice, and both games had outcomes that I would prefer to forget.
The first time was in 2007, and the Rockies were in town on my birthday. So we went to the game. The Rockies’ starter that night had an ERA hovering around 19 (!) at the time, which would seem to be a good thing, but that usually means the Phillies will make him look like the reincarnation of Cy Young.
After loading the bases with no outs in the top of the first, the Phillies managed to pull off a triple play, which was really cool, but things went downhill quickly from there. They ended up losing 12-0, in one of the most uninspired performances by a baseball team I have ever witnessed.
The second time was Game 2 of the NLDS later that same year. We managed to get standing-room tickets (which I will never do again – my feet were absolutely killing me by the end of the game), and this was our view:
Though the Phillies led briefly, for all purposes the game was over after the fourth inning, when Kyle Lohse gave up a grand slam to Kaz Matsui (!), not exactly a power hitter, who had hit a grand total of four home runs all season. The Rockies went on to sweep the Phillies in three games.
Which brings us to the present. The lineups are not the same, the Phillies now know what it’s like to win in the postseason, but nonetheless I still have my doubts. Just the natural Philadelphia pessimism that seems to be impossible to get rid of.
I’ll be watching on TV, back to holding my breath again, and hoping I can exhale happily later this week!