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Rockies await World Series opponent

What a week in the Championship Series.

The Colorado Rockies ran away with the National League pennant on Monday night, as they finished off their sweep of the Arizona Diamondbacks. All of a sudden, this team, which has won 21 of 22 games, looks like the unstoppable juggernaut we expected to see in the Boston Red Sox. The Sox, however, have been tripped up and trail the Cleveland Indians three games to one.

After another great start from Josh Beckett in Game One, the Red Sox have been unable to get their pitching and offense to click like it did in the Division Series, when they swept the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim.

The Red Sox roughed up Cy Young candidate C.C. Sabathia in Game One, but have since been stifled by the straight-filthy Fausto Carmona and the decidedly un-filthy Jake Westbrook. David Ortiz and Manny Ramirez are going to produce; the question is, who else is going to step up?

In Game Five, the Rockies will be looking to avoid elimination, and Terry Francona will be sending Beckett to the mound on a full period of rest. All signs point to a great pitching matchup, as Beckett will be opposed by Sabathia for Cleveland.

The Rockies finished their historic run to the World Series with a great play by rookie shortstop Troy Tulowitzki, whose throw just beat the diving Eric Byrnes at first base to record the final out.

Matt Holliday played up to expectations, belting a three-run home run to straight-away center field to cap off a six-run fourth inning. He was named MVP of the NLCS, and this designation could be a precursor to a certain other individual award.

This team has done everything right, and has all the ingredients to be a World Series champion.

The offense is one of the most explosive in the game, with five players driving in over 90 runs this season, including Hollidayís league-leading 137. Those numbers are not just the result of the hitter-friendly Coors Field; this team kills the ball.

The Rockies finished the regular season with the best fielding percentage in the history of the game. They committed just 68 errors all season. To put that in perspective, the Florida Marlins finished last in fielding, committing 137 errors. Thatís just over twice as many miscues as Colorado.

The pitching has been excellent as well, with just a 2.08 earned run average in the postseason. The team has gotten great starts from relative unknowns such as Josh Fogg, Ubaldo Jimenez and Jeff Francis. Closer Manny Corpas has been lights-out, compiling five saves and a win, while pitching in every game the team has played this postseason. Not too bad for a small-market team that has only been in the league for 14 years.

The Rockies are doing it the right way. They are not out making monster trades for huge stars, because they canít afford to.

They are not the Yankees or the Red Sox or the Mets. They have home-grown talent and a good coaching staff, headed by Clint Hurdle.

While Colorado celebrates, the Junior Circuit will play out its course. Whoever the Rockies end up playing, one thing is clear: nobody wants to play them.


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