Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Rox in their heads

That's how the Pads will live out the off-season, with the Rockies in their heads and big questions about Trevor Hoffman. The Rockies made a fantastic run in the end of the season by winning 14 of their final 15, including all four against the Padres and two of three against the Dbacks (not to mention whupping the previously in-the-race Dudgers seven times).

The Padres choked twice in the last three games: first, they lost to Milwaukee the day after they eliminated the Brewhahas from the playoff chase when the Pads were one strike away from a playoff spot (two out, one on, bottom 9th, Hoffman to Tony Gwynn Jr. with two strikes on him . . . bang, triple, game tied); then Hoffman choked a two-run lead in the bottom of the 13th last night by getting just one out and letting in three runs. No comment on Jake Peavy, the probable Cy Young Award winner, bonking in a big game . . . again.

Hoffman and Mariano Rivera will be remembered as the best closers of this era in baseball. Hoffman has more total saves, and more seasons as a closer. But Rivera (8-1, 0.80, 34 SV in 39 opp; 1999 WS MVP, 2003 ALCS MVP) has the postseason resume that Hoffman (1-2, 3.43, 4 SV in 6 opp) can only dream about. And despite his skills, that's yet another big choke for Hoffman who bonked two saves in the 1998 playoffs after converting 53 of 54 in the regular season.

As for the Rox: Troy Tulowitzki is the NL equivalent of Derek Jeter -- he plays hard, great skill, and is a winner. There's my RoY vote, now where's my ballot?

The Rockies and Phils are set to begin a playoff series tomorrow, the DBacks won the NL West, and the Brewhahas competed for their division all year. This shows that small/hitter-friendly ballparks are not deterrents to on-field success. The Rangers and Reds should take note.

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