Rockies Ring Up a 2-0 Lead on Phillies
Friday, October 5, 2007
PHILADELPHIA, Oct. 4 -- There is a special sound that wells up on the south side of this city, hard by Interstate 95, where all of Philadelphia's professional athletic teams reside. It is louder than any cheer, and likely more heartfelt. The denizens of the City of Brotherly Love have no qualms about spewing it to whoever might be around. It is the boo, Philadelphia-style, and there is no sound like it in sports.
Ask Charlie Manuel. As the manager of the Philadelphia Phillies, he is familiar with that sound, ringing in his 63-year-old ears as he traverses the minefield between his dugout and the pitcher's mound at Citizens Bank Park.
Thursday afternoon, he heard it with particular poignancy, just as his team suddenly found itself in something of a free-fall. A 10-5 loss to the Colorado Rockies -- who, apparently, don't lose -- in Game 2 of their National League Division Series here brought with it all manner of heckles, enough, perhaps, to last an offseason. The Phillies now trail the Rockies two games to none, and head to Denver with no guarantees they will play another game here.
"We don't have a panic button," Phillies shortstop Jimmy Rollins said. "We're a confident team -- regardless of the situation."
Leave the panic, then, to the fans. The Rockies got started with back-to-back homers in the first from Troy Tulowitzki and Matt Holliday. They got six innings of bullpen work from five relievers who allowed just one earned run. And they completely changed the game with Kazuo Matsui's grand slam in the fourth.
Thus, the Rockies -- who have never won a playoff series in their 15 seasons -- will return to Denver for a Game 3 on Saturday night that will be full of unprecedented possibilities. You won't find a fan in the Coors Field stands who will boo this brood, which has now won a staggering 16 times in 17 games.
"But you make one mistake," said Tulowitzki, the rookie shortstop, "and people start second-guessing."
That, then, is what will fill the next 48 hours here, all the empty hours leading up to Game 3. The boos came from the 45,991 because Manuel made a decision to remove starting pitcher Kyle Kendrick in the fourth inning of a game the Phillies actually led, 3-2. The pitcher he turned to: Kyle Lohse. The next Colorado hitter: Matsui.
"I made the decision," said Manuel, who added, lest there was any mistake, "and I was the guy that made it."
Kendrick wasn't without his transgressions in the fourth, which he opened by allowing a double to Garrett Atkins. He retired the next two hitters. He then made a decision to pitch around catcher Yorvit Torrealba, the eighth-place hitter. Kendrick started him with a strike, but after consulting with Rollins -- who had provided all the Phillies' runs with a solo homer leading off the game and a two-run triple in the second -- decided to force the Rockies' hand. Walking Torrealba to put men on first and second would likely bring on a pinch hitter in place of left-hander Franklin Morales.
"Jimmy came out and said, 'Get their lefty out of the game,' " Kendrick said. " 'Throw four balls outside, and if he swings at 'em, fine.' That's what I was going to do."
When he threw ball four -- intentionally -- the Rockies sent up rookie Seth Smith.