October 2, 2007
And to think I missed the dramatic finale last night: D'oh! I was tired enough already as the game stretched into the thirteenth inning of the NL Wild Card tie-breaking game, and when Scott Hairston hit a home run that gave the Padres an 8-6 lead, I figured that the long see-saw battle was finally over. In the eighth inning, Matt Holliday had midjudged a fly ball on what should have been the final out, allowing Brian Giles to reach second and later score the tying run. I went to bed thinking that Matt Holliday would end up as the goat, remembered in Denver in much the same way that Bill Buckner is in Boston. But instead, he came through in the bottom of the "lucky" thirteenth with a game-tying triple and then scored the winning run. Some argued with the ump's call, and even Holliday himself seemed less than certain, but the Padres' catcher Michael Barrett had no argument. On the other hand, a possible home run by in the inning was ruled a double, so the questionable calls in effect offset each other; see MLB.com. In any case, he is certainly a "happy Holliday." It was Trevor Hoffman's second blown save in the last three games, and now the Padres know what the distraught Mets feel like. But don't anyone doubt that the Rockies earned their place in the postseason. Very few teams have ever won 14 of the last 15 games in the season, and facing down starting pitcher Jake Peavy shows they are ready for anything. Tomorrow they'll take on the Phillies in Citizens Bank Park.
The Rockies were not the only "dark horse" team to make the 2007 postseason; not many people picked the Phillies and the Cubs to win their division titles, either, and back in June few would have expected the Indians to overtake the Tigers. On April 1, I made my picks for the eight slots for the 2007 postseason, and only got two of them right; four if you switch the Yankees (wild card) and Red Sox (AL East champ). Well, I never claimed to be an expert on the game of baseball, but at least I correctly picked the Cubs to win the NL Central Division.