King Kaufman's Sports Daily

Red-hot Rockies sweep into World Series. Now they'll cool their heels. Plus: Indians lead Red Sox 2-1. And: Where's that Zelasko poetry?

Published October 16, 2007 11:00AM (EDT)

Would you believe 21 out of 22?

The Colorado Rockies finally gave up that two-out RBI hit to the Arizona Diamondbacks Monday night in Denver, a three-run homer by Chris Snyder in the eighth that only served to make the end of the game a little more of a nail-biter as the Rockies swept to their first National League championship with a 6-4 win. Matt Holliday hit a three-run homer to sew up the series MVP.

The Rox beat the Diamondbacks in four straight games. They've won seven straight in the playoffs, 10 straight overall. They entered the playoffs having won three straight elimination games to end the season. They've won 21 out of 22. No matter how many times you look at that number, it just never stops looking crazy. Boxing champs go 21-1 against tomato cans. Baseball teams don't do it.

The Rockies have done it and now -- they wait.

They'll play the Cleveland Indians or the Boston Red Sox in the World Series starting next Wednesday. The Indians took a 2-1 lead in the American League Championship Series with a 4-2 win Monday night in Cleveland, Jake Westbrook outdueling Daisuke Matsuzaka, Kenny Lofton homering for the winners.

Soft-tosser Paul Byrd of the Indians and knuckleballer Tim Wakefield of the Sox will take the ball in Game 4 Tuesday night. Wednesday's an off day, and then C.C. Sabathia and Josh Beckett will stage a rematch of Game 1 on Thursday in Game 5.

Through it all, the Rockies will wait. They'll be off for eight full days, longer than anybody has ever been off prior to a World Series. That can only be bad for them, unless, of course, it's good. It'll definitely be one of those things. Or neither of them. That much we know.

The longest wait before this was six days off, which two teams have had to sit through. Last year's Detroit Tigers swept the Oakland A's in the ALCS, but they lost their momentum during the time off. They played sloppy baseball and lost 4-1 to the 83-win St. Louis Cardinals in the Series.

The other team that sat idle for six days was the 1995 Atlanta Braves, who had swept the Cincinnati Reds in the NLCS. The time off did them a world of good. They won the first two games against the Indians in the Series and took them in six.

So I think we can say pretty definitively that eight days off will either kill the Rockies' momentum or let them rest up. The Indians or Red Sox could have as many as five dead days before the World Series starts, or as few as two.

If you know what either of those layoffs will do to either of those teams, you probably knew the Rockies were going to win 21 out of 22 games. In which case, you should have spoken up.

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Where have you gone -- no, wait: Jeanne, we hardly knew ye [PERMALINK]

The Red Sox have shrugged off the curse, but they couldn't slice and dice their way to the ALCS lead with the Dice Man on the hill. Big Papi and Manny had been double trouble for opposing pitching, but last night three double plays and Jake Westbrook's sinker sunk the good ship Red Sock.

Thaaaaat's right, the Indians are on the warpath. They eliminated the Yanks in the House That Ruth Built, and now they have their hands full with the Babe's old team. Their two aces came up snake eyes, but Jake was aces, and now Paul Byrd will try to help the Indians fly away with this one and take a 3-1 lead.

But we won't knuckle under, says Tim Wakefield. Will his knuckler [shot of Joba Chamberlain with bugs on him] bug Cleveland? The Red Sox, the Indians. Game 4 is next, on Fox ...

It's a pale imitation of a Jeanne Zelasko opening to a postseason broadcast on Fox, but it may be as close as you're going to get to the venerable October tradition of the Purple Fox's prose.

For whatever reason -- oh, shucks I'm being modest: It must be the influence of this column -- Fox is keeping Zelasko under wraps, not letting her dial up the cliché machine to 11 each night at the start of the show. Instead, we get a few seconds of Joe Buck blandly narrating some shots of the crowd gathering and the players loosening up, and then Buck tosses it to Zelasko in the studio, and I haven't heard her let fly a howler yet.

Of course, I haven't been listening, but I think you get my point. Fox is playing it cool, perhaps saving the movie tie-ins, the top-shelf production tricks and the tortured poesy for the World Series.

Like the Colorado Rockies, I can wait.

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No one runs on this cannon (at least not on popups back of shortstop)! [PERMALINK]

Funny moment in the top of the second of the Red Sox-Indians game Monday. The Sox had loaded the bases with nobody out when Jason Varitek popped out to Kenny Lofton in shallow left field for a huge out. The popup wasn't nearly deep enough for Manny Ramirez to think about tagging up from third, but he gave a little bluff and Lofton uncorked a throw to the plate.

As Lofton stepped back to his position, Fox's camera caught him giving Ramirez, his Indians teammate for seven seasons in the '90s, a sidelong look. Catching his eye, Lofton, with a serious expression, shook his head and wagged his finger at Ramirez, Dikembe Mutombo style.

Might have been more of a badass gesture if the pop fly had traveled more than 125 feet and Lofton's throw had been better, but it was still pretty funny.

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Quiet please, we're on the phone [PERMALINK]

On several occasions Monday night, the raucous fans at Coors Field got a football chant going, with different sections of the crowd calling to each other, "Go!" and "Rockies!" TBS's camera focused on the batter would show about six rows' worth of fans in the stands behind him, maybe a half-dozen people across, and not one person was saying "Go" or "Rockies."

Hey, you pay all that money for seats right by the dugout, you're not going to go yelling yourself hoarse, are you?

Previous column: It ain't luck if you do it 20 times

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  • By King Kaufman

    King Kaufman is a senior writer for Salon. You can e-mail him at king at salon dot com. Facebook / Twitter / Tumblr

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