10/07/09 7:00 PM EST
Rockies Short Hops: Game 1
Jimenez's struggles, Gonzalez's misplay hurt Colorado
By Alden Gonzalez / MLB.com
While Rockies starter Ubaldo Jimenez struggled with the mighty Phillies the second time through the order, Cliff Lee breezed through Colorado's lineup all afternoon.
Carlos Gonzalez overrunning Ryan Howard's eventual RBI double in the bottom of the sixth. Gonzalez, a very good defensive center-fielder-turned-left-fielder, misjudged Howard's drive to deep left, and it was symbolic of the nightmarish gusts of wind that plagued most of the outfielders at Citizens Bank Park on Wednesday. Wind conditions were projected at 25-35 mph before the game, and on this occasion, they seemingly helped the Phillies take a 3-0 lead.
1: That's the number of baserunners the Rockies had against Lee from the third through eighth innings. Colorado had a runner in scoring position in each of the first two frames, but it failed to cash in and break a scoreless tie. The Rockies pretty much got nothing after that, as Lee hurled a complete game in his playoff debut. Game balls
On an offense that mustered almost nothing against Lee, Tulowitzki had one of just two multi-hit games by going 2-for-4, and he brought in the Rockies' only run with a two-out RBI double in the ninth. But it was too little, too late.
He had his struggles, sure. But Daley checked into the game in the sixth with a man on first, nobody out and the Phillies' potent offense clicking on all cylinders after taking a 5-0 lead thanks to four straight hits to start the frame. Despite that, he blanked them the rest of that inning and kept it a five-run game.
All things considered, this was not a great start by Jimenez by any means -- perhaps not even good. But early on, the young fireballer was on, breezing through four shutout innings and giving up just three singles in the process. After that, though, he needed 46 pitches to get just three outs in the fifth and sixth, and he ended up being charged with five runs.
Sense of October
Placed in the same situation in any regular-season game, Rockies right fielder Brad Hawpe probably just lets Carlos Ruiz's RBI single fall in to make sure he only gets to first base. But with Raul Ibanez on third with one out in the bottom of the fifth, and with Philadelphia already leading, 1-0, Hawpe went on a dead sprint trying to snag Ruiz's sure-fire single because there was perhaps a glimmer of hope he could keep that second run from scoring. As it turns out, the ball fell in, then right by the overzealous Hawpe, as Ruiz ended up on second base -- though he never came around to score.
4 AB, 0 H, 0 BB, 0 RBI, 0 R, 0 SB
Comment: Playing in his first playoff game, the leadoff-hitting Fowler didn't do anything productive at the plate, and he flied out on the first pitch in the first and ninth inning.
5-plus IP, 5 R, 9 H, 1 BB, 4 Ks, 92 pitches (56 strikes)
Comment: Jimenez's first four innings were brilliant, and his last one-plus were brutal.
"[Lee] definitely threw us off our game plan. We wanted to make him work more than he did."
-- Rockies first baseman Todd Helton
If the Rockies want to avoid having to win three straight do-or-die games to advance to the NL Championship Series, they'll have to do it against reigning World Series Most Valuable Player Cole Hamels in Game 2 on Thursday. And Rockies starter Aaron Cook will have to be the man to do it.
Alden Gonzalez is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.