While much of the Eastern time zone has been asleep, the Colorado Rockies have become baseball’s most-dominant team.
They celebrated a National League pennant late into the night at Coors Field on Monday, when a sweep of the overmatched Arizona Diamondbacks was completed with a 6-4 victory before a towel-waving, broom-wielding sellout crowd.
The champagne popping didn’t begin until almost 2 a.m. ET. That was on the heels of Game 2, an 11-inning affair that went until 2:45 a.m. ET Saturday. And so we have the unlikely scenario of a team on a historic 21-1 run still being relatively anonymous and seldom-seen.
Not that the Rockies care about any of that. They’re too busy making history.
“This is a special moment in the career of every man involved in this,’’ manager Clint Hurdle said. “This may never happen again. This is one of those things where you get everybody back, 10-20 years down the road, and you have a reunion gig.’’
So when the under-the-radar scenario was posed to ace Jeff Francis, he said:
“I don’t think that’s a main concern of ours as a team. But there’s just no reason why a team like us can’t come in and take baseball by storm for a month and a half like we have. And there’s really no reason why we don’t have as good a chance as anybody at winning this thing.’’
In other words, look out, ALCS winner. Because here’s what’s coming at you: The Rockies have lost exactly one game in the last month. In doing so, they have outscored their opponents 136-67. Only four other teams have won as many as 20 games in a 21-game span starting in September — and none took their run this deep into October.
The Rockies also have won seven in a row in the post-season — matching the record of the 1976 Cincinnati Big Red Machine Reds — and have done it with a 2.07 team ERA and nearly flawless defense.
With 14 games left in the regular season, the Rockies were four games back in the wildcard race, with three teams to pass. Now they are National League champions after winning 13 of those final 14 regular-season games, the instant-classic play-in game against San Diego, and sweeps of Philadelphia and Arizona.
The finale in the latest series sweep couldn’t have followed the streak’s blueprint any better. It turned on a six-run bottom of the third inning, when there was another of those Magical Mystery Tour moments that have defined the Rockies’ run.
With two outs and runners on second and third, Hurdle chose to lift starting pitcher Franklin Morales for a pinch-hitter. And who did he call upon? Seth Smith, a rookie who didn’t even get called to the big leagues until Sept. 16th — one day after this miraculous Rockies’ run began.
Seth Smith, who found his way onto the postseason roster only because Willy Taveras missed the Division Series due to injury. When Taveras came off the disabled list for the NLCS, Smith — who went 5-for-7 as a pinch-hitter in the regular season — stayed as a left-handed bat off the bench, and pitcher Mark Redman lost his spot on the roster.
ATLANTA (AP) - Matt Harvey pitched six hitless innings, John Buck homered and the New York Mets held off another Atlanta comeback, beating the Braves 4-3 Tuesday in the first game of a doubleheader.
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Colorado wins series 4-0