Monday, October 1, 2007

Padres, Rockies: OT!

It was about 3:37 PM in Denver, Colorado yesterday when the Milwaukee Brewers finished polishing off the San Diego Padres by an 11-6 score. At the time, the hometown Rockies were tied 1-1 with the Arizona Diamondbacks as they entered the 8th inning of their game. With that result, the Rockies knew that they would only need to win their game to force a one game playoff Monday at Coors Field against the Padres for the N.L. Wild Card… Not five minutes later, the Rockies were well on their way to playing at least one game in October. Garrett Adkins singled in Troy Tulowitski to give the Rockies a 2-1 lead over the D-Backs. Brad Hawpe then doubled in Todd Helton and Matt Holliday to give the Rockies a 4-1 advantage… there were still no outs in the inning, but Brandon Lyon was able to strike out Yorvit Torrealba and then induced Cory Sullivan to ground into an inning ending double play to end the threat. A three run lead and a closer with a 1.89 ERA made it certainly look like it was a safe bet to start selling tickets for a game 163.

But, as we know these things are never easy. Manny Corpus (he of that 1.89 ERA coming in) was summoned to close the game for the Rockies, and for once, he was very “rocky.” Miguel Montero squibbed an infield single towards first and Carlos Quentin doubled Montero to third. Suddenly, the tying run was at the plate with no one out! Augie Ojeda hit a scoring flyball to left to make it a 4-2 game. A Jeff Cirillo ground out moved Quentin to third and got the Rockies to within one out of October… Alberto Callaspo then lined a single to left-center to score Quentin. Now, the go ahead run was at the plate in the form of a .229-hitting Stephen Drew. Corpus quickly got two strikes on Drew, who then hit a sharp grounder by the mound. Corpus fielded it brilliantly, however, and then tossed the ball to firstbaseman Todd Helton to record the final out at right about 4:04 PM local time, pushing the Rockies’ 2007 season into October.

It’s been a few years since a one game playoff determined the final team to make it into the divisional races. Actually, this is the first time this millenium it’s happened - the last being in 1999 when the New York Mets beat the Cincinnati Reds by a 5-0 score for the N.L. Wild Card.

Tonight, the Padres will trot out their ace, and the likely 2007 N.L. Cy Young Award winner, Jake Peavy to face the Rockies and Josh Fogg. The game will be televised nationally on TBS (the Atlanta Superstation) beginning at 7:37 ET/4:37 PT and most importantly for those in Denver, 5:37 Mountain Time.


Tonight’s game has a lot of impact in one other type of leagues - fantasy ones! Against all odds, I happened to finish in a dead-heat tie for first in one of my leagues - my competitor and I each finishing with exactly 79.0 out of a possible 100 points. I also happen to own Padre playoff starter Jake Peavy and Rockies shortstop Troy Tulowitski. To make a long story short, if Peavy gets a win and pitches decently (an ERA of 5.0 or less and a WHIP - walks+hits per innings pitched - ratio of 1.56 or less per 9 innings), I will win the league. A similar strong outing from Peavy without a win and a Tulowitski steal or three runs scored from him would also give me the outright win. If Peavy has a poor outing (as he did last year at Coors 5 earned runs in 4 1/3 innings with 8 hits and 3 walks) then I would lose… and of course, there are all kinds of scenarios involved where I could end up tied… you better bet that I’ll be glued to my TV set those entire nine innings tonight! Go Peavy!!!


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