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10/07/07 3:15 PM ET

NLCS breakdown: Rockies

Colorado has more than just great hitting club

The Colorado Rockies' success this season, which culminated in a 90-73 regular-season finish, largely was attributed to their relentless offense. Yet the Rockies displayed their versatility while sweeping the Phillies in the Division Series -- which will make them a formidable opponent in the National League Championship Series.

Pitching, always a critical postseason factor, sustained Colorado against Philadelphia. Ace left-hander Jeff Francis throttled the Phillies in last Wednesday's Division Series opener. Then, although the Rockies erupted for 10 runs in Game 2, Colorado's underrated bullpen limited the Phils to one run in six innings. Then the Rockies' pitching held the NL's top offense to a single run in the 2-1 clincher.

This reinforced the notion that these Rockies aren't just a one-dimensional, offensive-oriented club taking advantage of their Coors Field home -- although the Rox indeed fattened up at Coors, where they batted .298 and scored 478 runs (both NL highs) while compiling a 51-31 record.

Another thing about the Rockies: They're not scared of anybody. Arizona's Brandon Webb, the NL's reigning Cy Young Award winner, was 1-3 with a 5.77 ERA against Colorado this year. The Rockies also rapped 11 hits in 8 2/3 innings off Arizona closer Jose Valverde, so they won't be intimidated if or when "Papa Grande" enters the scene.

Colorado won the season series, 10-8, while outscoring Arizona, 86-72. But the D-backs had an easier time generating runs, outhomering Colorado, 14-9. Twelve of the games were decided by two runs or fewer, with each team winning six.

Key late-game matchup
• Colorado's bullpen vs. D-backs hitters. Closer Manny Corpas was 1-0 with a 1.64 ERA and two saves in as many opportunities in 11 appearances when facing Arizona. Brian Fuentes, Colorado's erstwhile closer who now handles setup duties, was unscored upon in 9 2/3 innings spanning nine appearances against the D-backs.

Rockies' Secret Weapon

Infielder Jamey Carroll. He was a pest against Arizona this season, batting .368 and posting a .500 on-base percentage in 12 games. As anybody who has played against Carroll realizes, this guy knows how to win.

Rockies' Achilles' Heel
Struggling to put away opposing hitters. It's a good thing the Rockies led the NL in fielding percentage, because their pitching staff ranked 14th in strikeouts. Work counts, keep the pressure on, and Colorado might ultimately crack.

Rockies manager: Clint Hurdle
Hurdle didn't impress many observers while posting a 352-436 record in the previous five seasons. But his patience, and that of management, obviously paid off this season. Nobody's laughing at Hurdle now.

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Rockies' intangibles
It's tough to top the attitude that has carried the Rockies from fourth place in the NL West late in the season all the way to the doorstep of the World Series. Their confidence is unshakable.

Three reasons the Rockies will win
• If they can scratch out one victory at Arizona, they'll be hard to beat at home.

• Todd Helton is a forceful presence, and Matt Holliday might be the league's MVP. Arizona doesn't possess a duo to match them.

• The Phillies, another red-hot team, couldn't slow them down. Why should the D-backs be any different?

Chris Haft is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.