10/22/07 1:02 AM ET
Rockies have experience beating Sox
Colorado took two of three games at Fenway Park in June
By Thomas Harding / MLB.com
The Red Sox earned the right to face the Rockies in the World Series by beating the Indians, 11-2, on Sunday night in Game 7 of the American League Championship Series.
The Red Sox, the 2004 World Series winner, will be in their 11th Fall Classic and have the tradition of having played at Fenway Park since 1912. The Rockies are in their first Series after just their second trip to the postseason.
But the Rockies have recent success on their side. During Interleague Play, the Rockies won two of three games at Fenway on June 12-14, as they outscored the Red Sox, 20-5, in the series. Additionally, the Rockies were one of just two teams to beat the Red Sox's top two pitchers, Josh Beckett and Curt Schilling. They lost the opener, 2-1, as Tim Wakefield outdueled Aaron Cook.
Wednesday's World Series opener is a rematch of the deciding game of the June series, when Rockies left-hander Jeff Francis gave up seven hits, struck out six and walked two in five scoreless innings to defeat Beckett and the Red Sox, 7-1.
"Mentally, it helps that we had some success on that field," said Rockies first baseman Todd Helton, who is 11-for-34 in nine career games at Fenway, but went 2-for-12 during this year's series. "We know that we can win at that place."
Rockies right fielder Brad Hawpe went 3-for-12 in that series, but one of the hits was memorable. Hawpe launched a three-run homer some 400 feet into the right-field seats off Schilling in the second game.
"That's a very tough place to play, but to go there and win two out of three games was nice," Hawpe said. "We had a chance in all three, but Wakefield was locked in that day. We took some good swings but came out on the unlucky end of it.
"I think we knew we could play, but that series showed fans what kind of team we have."
Rockies manager Clint Hurdle said having played the Red Sox this season will make preparation easier, but he has made it a point not to put in late hours watching the ALCS. He prefers condensed versions of games to streamline his study of pitchers, in terms of what they do in various counts, and hitters, whether they're concentrating on pitches at certain parts of the plate and certain speeds.
The series win in Boston occurred long enough ago that the Rockies will have to do plenty of brushing up on their opponent.
Left-handed reliever Brian Fuentes appeared in the series finale. His procedure is to write down details of various hitters and study them later. Fuentes is glad he did it back then.
"I don't remember them too well, except that I didn't really pitch all that great," said Fuentes, who gave up a hit and walked one. "I walked a guy and fell deep into some counts. We'll go over them again."
Thomas Harding is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.