Clock strikes midnight on Rockies' magical run
DENVER (AP) -- The clutch hits, nowhere in sight.
The ball bashers, nowhere in sight.
The potent pen, nowhere in sight.
The right managerial moves, nowhere in sight.
The starting pitching, a joke until Aaron Cook's valiant effort fell short Sunday night.
Visions of a World Series championship fueled by a remarkable 21-1 run vanished in Colorado's thin air when all the ingredients of that incredible streak were snatched by the Red Sox.
Needing to recapture some of the wizardry that got them here, Todd Helton and the Rockies bowed out of October with a whimper, losing 4-3 Sunday night to Boston, which swept its second World Series in four years.
"No reason to hang our heads. We accomplished a lot this season," said Todd Helton, the face of the franchise who washed away a decade of disappointment and finally reached the postseason after 1,578 games. "They outplayed us. We have no reason to be upset. We made the World Series. We did a lot this year. We came a long way."
At least they have their first NL pennant flapping on the flag pole at Coors Field. It will have to do for now.
Bullied by Boston, Colorado was outscored 29-10 by the Red Sox.
The Rockies were simply in over their heads against a no-holes team that did to them what they did to everyone else for a magical month-and-a-half.
"I think everybody in this clubhouse is proud of what we accomplished and can take that into the offseason with their heads held high and a smile on our face," MVP hopeful Matt Holliday said.
"Because I think if you had told anybody that the Rockies would be in the World Series this year, they'd have said, 'You're crazy."'
The Rockies steadfastly refused to use rust as an excuse, but the fact is they endured an eight-day wait for the World Series. By sweeping Arizona in the NL bracket, they were too good for their own good.
For more than a week they went through the motions, took tons of batting practice and did spring training-like drills while enduring the longest layover since the 1910 Philadelphia Athletics waited around 10 days.
Against Boston, the Rockies looked more like the fourth-place team they were in mid-September, not the one that swept its first seven postseason games just like the 1976 Cincinnati Reds of Big Red Machine fame.
These guys were in a Purple Haze against big, bad Boston.
Colorado's only constant throughout the postseason was its stellar defense, which is supposed to win championships.
When David Ortiz, Jacoby Ellsbury, Josh Beckett and Jonathan Papelbon are on the other side, all that great glove work can go to waste.
"They just flat-out beat us in all aspects of the game," said Jamey Carroll. "They showed why they're the best from the beginning to the end."
The Rockies led the NL in batting and had the league's best after the All-Star break. You never would have known it watching the lopsided games in Boston and Denver.
The only big bat that came through was Holliday's, but he went 0-for-4 Sunday night and the Rockies ended the Series with a .223 average.
About the only one in the Colorado clubhouse who wasn't giving the Red Sox the credit they deserved was team owner Charlie Monfort, who said: "I think this team is a better team than Boston's."
"How did we win 21 out of 22? The breaks," Monfort said. "I think they got the breaks. Are they a better team? I don't think so. I think if you give us 10 games against them, we'll beat them six. And we only had four."
Monfort also said he'll make a "reasonable long-term contract" offer to Holliday this offseason, two years before he's eligible for free agency.
And Monfort raised the bar high for next year, too.
"Go to the World Series," he said. "And now we win it."
Ace Jeff Francis, who would have pitched Game 5, said it certainly wasn't nerves that did in the Rockies, who remained upbeat in the clubhouse before the game Sunday.
"I think the guys who are winning in fantasy football are probably more excited than the guys who are losing," he said.
Perfect, Denver can go back to being a football town again.
There will be no World Series to worry about Monday night when the Broncos face the Green Bay Packers down the road at Invesco Field.
Brett Favre and Champ Bailey get the Mile High City all to themselves.
"We're going to be back next year. We're going to be back for years to come," Ryan Spilborghs pledged. "There's so much talent in this clubhouse it seeps from our pores. We're all going to get better. (Troy Tulowitzki) is going to get better, I'm going to get better, we're all going to just get better and better.
"We're not done."