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Thursday, October 4th 2007, 4:00 AM





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PHILADELPHIA - Jimmy Rollins never claimed "team to beat" applied to the postseason - just the division race.


The Phillies fired up their fans before the organization's first playoff appearance in 14 years with a pregame video showing the Mets' late-season collapses. But the Rockies, who erased their own deficit and captured the wild card by winning 14 of 15 to end the season, including a play-in game against San Diego, tamed Philadelphia's lineup. The Rockies won Game 1 of the NL division series, 4-2, yesterday afternoon behind six solid innings from Jeff Francis.


"We've been behind the eight-ball all year long," said Phillies center fielder Aaron Rowand, who earned a World Series ring with the 2005 White Sox. "We started out 4-11....Look where it got us. It got us to the playoffs. No one in here is panicking, shaking. It's Game 1. We're not going to pack it in after one game."


Francis, who allowed 14 runs and 20 hits in 8-1/3 innings against the Phillies in two starts during the regular season, combined with relievers LaTroy Hawkins, Brian Fuentes and Manny Corpas to hold the first four batters in Philadelphia's lineup - Rollins, Shane Victorino, Chase Utley and Ryan Howard - hitless in 15 at-bats. That quartet struck out nine times, with Utley getting punched out in each of his four plate appearances. Francis opened the game by striking out all four and finished with eight punchouts in six innings. He allowed only four hits, with Philadelphia's runs coming on back-to-back homers by Rowand and Pat Burrell in the fifth.


"It's the first time it happened all year," Howard said about the complete shutdown of the top portion of the order.


Said Francis: "I think I'm always aware of the successes I've had - or 'not successes' I've had - against teams. You know it's there and you try not to let it get to you because you know it's just a matter of execution. ...Today I stayed ahead in the count for the most part."


Philadelphia's batters partly faulted the shadows caused by the 3 p.m. first pitch for the relatively low score, but they also said Francis, who was 8-0 in day games this season, pitched differently than in their previous confrontations.


"He actually threw a lot more off-speed," Rollins said. "Usually he approaches us with fastballs, fastballs - and we jump on them. As soon as he got ahead this time, he started going to his changeup and his curveball and it was effective."


Said Rowand: "That's how Maddux does it. That's how Glavine does it."


Philadelphia ace Cole Hamels hadn't lost since July 19, although he did miss a month with elbow troubles. His undoing yesterday was a three-run second, when Todd Helton tripled, Garrett Atkins doubled and Hamels issued three walks, including one with the bases loaded to Rookie of the Year candidate Troy Tulowitzki. NL batting and RBI champ Matt Holliday nearly followed with a grand slam that would have blown it open, but he hooked a shot outside the left-field foul pole and then struck out. Holliday, who still has a red blotch on his chin from his 13th-inning collision Monday night while scoring the winning run in the play-in game, homered in the eighth off Tom Gordon to give the Rockies' bullpen a two-run cushion.


It hardly needed it, as Hawkins, Fuentes and Corpas combined to hold the Phillies hitless over the final three innings.


Asked about the value of winning Game 1, Colorado manager Clint Hurdle broke up the room.


"I don't know," Hurdle said. "I don't have any experience to draw upon."



So its not about what the Phils did at this time, its about what a team that was finishing the front 9 of 18 did to help you get there? Maybe they should have shown highlights of Glavine spitting the bit Sunday or Reyes and Milledge acting like morons?


No wonder this city has no champinships since 1983.

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Out of that whole video there was about 10 seconds of mets footage, and all of it came from their final series with the fish. Seeing how important that was, it's not all that unexpected so quityerbitchin.


I was not bitching I was MOCKING...


Bush League simple as that.

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I was not bitching I was MOCKING...


Bush League simple as that.


Bush league? How is it bush league? It was one of the most important moments in the entire season and part of the reason that they even made it into the post season and they showed it in a video montage.


By the way, "bush league" is probably the single most overrused phrase on this entire message board.

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