© 2007 MLB Advanced Media, L.P. All rights reserved.
PHILADELPHIA -- The more the Colorado Rockies look like the next Wild Card team destined to reach the World Series, the more they should stick to what has them on the brink of a National League Championship Series berth, and that's ride their relentless offense and solid pitching and defense as far as this amazing run will take them.
In their lopsided victory over Philadelphia on Thursday in Game 2 of the NL Division Series, the Rockies did what they've typically done during the 16-1 run that carried them to this point: Answer each Phillies rally with one of their own, keep the pressure on and win the battle of the bullpens.
"We've got to keep the pedal down; this is the playoffs," Rockies reliever Brian Fuentes said. "Keep going, keep pushing, keep stealing, keep hitting and running, all that stuff. Mercy rules are out the window."
When the Phillies went ahead, 3-2, in the second -- the NL East champions' first lead of the series -- the Rockies answered with a four-run fourth on Kaz Matsui's grand slam.
When starter Franklin Morales lasted just three innings, five Colorado relievers held the best offense in the NL to two runs on six hits in six innings.
Whenever Philadelphia tried to mount a rally, the Rockies snuffed it out.
They've had an answer for each threat and a constant offensive attack that wears down opposing pitching staffs. They keep going until the final out, regardless of the score.
"We've been playing games in the season where if we lose we were done, and in the playoffs here being up 2-0, if we drop a game there's still tomorrow, whereas the games down the stretch, if we lost them, we were done, so it's nice to have room to mess up a little bit," shortstop Troy Tulowitzki said. "We've been going out every day and playing the game the right way [and] we're all believing in ourselves."
For the last three weeks, the Rockies have been playing like the season's over if they lose, and that was the case up until Tuesday.
Now that they're on this roll, they intend to keep playing like it's an elimination game, even though they can't possibly find themselves in one unless they drop the next two games at Coors Field.
It's a mind-set that has been working well, as they demonstrated quite convincingly again Thursday.
"We're not going to let up, we're going to go out after them," Colorado first baseman Todd Helton said. "We're not going to slow down. There's no reason to slow down now.
"We've got to keep playing the way we've been playing, nothing else. We've had a couple of good weeks now and we expect to keep going out and playing the way we've been playing."
Long Road Back
|Just seven teams in baseball history have overcome 0-2 deficits to win a best-of-five series:
|1984||San Diego||Chi Cubs|
They know firsthand what a dangerous team can do once it's backed into a corner. Better than most, they know all too well what a talented, confident team can do given the slightest opening. They don't want anybody turning the tables on their season as they did to San Diego and the Phillies did to the Mets.
The Rockies are here because they never let up when they were down, and they know what Philadelphia accomplished when the Mets couldn't slam the door on the Phillies when they had the chance. And so the Rockies plan to keep the full-court press on as long as possible.
"Everybody knows what can happen in this game. We just have to keep doing what we've been doing," Helton said.
The Rockies know how important it is to keep their foot on the throat of a dangerous team like the Phillies.
Just because the series moves west with Colorado holding a commanding 2-0 lead in this best-of-five set heading into Saturday's Game 3, it doesn't mean they will change anything or let overconfidence seep in.
As they demonstrated with their incredible rally off all-time saves leader Trevor Hoffman in the tiebreaker game Monday, in the playoffs you cannot let up until the final out is recorded. They do not want to find out what it feels like to be the team that squanders a commanding advantage.
The Rockies seem to pick it up a notch at the first signs of a threat.
"Tonight was a perfect example. We had the game in hand, I came in walked two guys and it was like one swing of the bat and they're right back in it," Fuentes said. "Fortunately Manny [Corpas] picked me up and we were able to get out of it."
A Wild Card team has reached the World Series each of the last five seasons. If they keep this up, the rolling Rockies have a good chance to run that streak to six.