© 2007 MLB Advanced Media, L.P. All rights reserved.
10/25/07 2:10 AM ET
A loss, yes, but not a lost cause
Rockies ready to move on, already thinking of Schilling
By Lyle Spencer / MLB.com
BOSTON -- Educated at UCLA, one of the world's premier centers of learning, Garrett Atkins is smart enough to separate reality from perceptions that would be flying from the Back Bay to the Tijuana border in the wake of a blowout, Boston style, in Game 1 of the World Series.
"I'm sure there's a lot of people ready to hand 'em the trophy now," Atkins, the Colorado Rockies' slugging third baseman, was saying following a 13-1 Fenway Park roasting by the Red Sox. "We haven't given up all year, just to get to the playoffs. We've bounced back from tougher losses than this."
One that leaped to mind was administered by Arizona's Diamondbacks on the regular season's final Friday, casting the Rockies two games behind San Diego in the Wild Card race with two games to go.
We all know how that turned out. Here was Atkins to remind us that the Rockies rebounded fiercely from that Sept. 28 loss to win their next 10 games -- a streak Josh Beckett and Co. emphatically put to rest on Wednesday night to kick off the best-of-seven championship round.
"It's not like they broke our hearts," Atkins said. "We weren't up by five and blew it. It was their game from the start, and we couldn't get going. By the middle of the game, we were probably already thinking about tomorrow."
The rust plainly showed from their eight-day break after the Rockies clinched the National League pennant, while the Red Sox staying sharp and competitive by going the distance to put away Cleveland in the American League Championship Series.
"They were on top of their game in every aspect," Atkins said. "They put on a hitting clinic, and they didn't give us anything. A lot of guys got jitters out of the way and learned some things that will help them along the way.
"That loss to Arizona was probably tougher than this one, even though it was the World Series. This was just one loss. Hopefully, we'll come back tomorrow and play the way we're capable of playing.
"I'm going to go to bed tonight thinking about [Curt] Schilling."
With Thursday's Red Sox Game 2 starter on their minds, the Rockies can put all the talk of layoffs and streaks behind them and focus on the task at hand.
"Everybody was worried about the eight-day layoff, and we got this first game out of the way," said catcher Yorvit Torrealba. "This is over with; now we can just go out and play our game.
"If you look around the clubhouse, nobody's worried. Guys are going to get something to eat, go get some sleep and come back ready to play. It's the World Series. We're just down one game. We've still got a long way to go.
"They still have to beat us three times. This doesn't bother us at all. Tomorrow we can come back and even it up."
Starter Jeff Francis, whose struggle with command put the Rockies in an early 6-1 hole, understands the character of his team and feels it will respond well to its second loss since Sept. 15, a stretch of 23 games.
"Nobody here is defeated," Francis said. "We lost one game. We've got to lose four. We're not out of it."
Making his World Series debut after appearing in 1,585 regular-season and playoff games, Todd Helton -- the face and soul of the franchise -- already was ready to dismiss this one and move on to Game 2.
"I'm not taking anything away from this loss -- it's Game 1 of the World Series - but we'll come back tomorrow," Helton said. "We'll just regroup, like we've done all year."
He was reminded that the club took off on a 10-game winning streak the last time it tasted defeat, showing exceptional resilience.
"That's a good word, resiliency," Helton said. "We've been [resilient] this year."