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Posted: Friday October 26, 2007 3:20AM; Updated: Friday October 26, 2007 3:35AM
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World Series Report Card
Game 2: Red Sox 2, Rockies 1
Anemic Rockies longing for Coors home
Matt Holliday
AP
Maybe being back in Colorado will make a difference. Maybe putting Beantown in the rearview mirror will be just what the Rockies need to turn this World Series around.

Maybe the Rockies shouldn't be thinking maybe about that.

"Things have to change for us," said Colorado shortstop Garrett Atkins after the Rockies dropped a taut Game 2 at Fenway Park on Thursday night to fall behind 2-0 in the best-of-seven Series.

Yes, after Boston pitchers handcuffed the Rox for the second straight night -- giving up just one run on five hits in this one -- it's painfully obvious that whatever it was that put Colorado here in the first place simply isn't working against the Red Sox. The hitting isn't there. The pitching, though very good in Game 2, isn't good enough. The defense is showing some cracks.

Can some Rocky Mountain magic help? The Rockies won 51 games at Coors Field this season, tying the Brewers for the most home wins in the National League. They've won their last six at home, including three in the postseason. And the Rockies were, after all, a losing team on the road this season (39-42).

The Rockies simply play better in the greater expanses and thinner air of Coors Field. They hit better (.298 batting average at home, to .261 on the road). They get on base more (.372 to .336). They slug better (.480 to .395, with 103 homers in Coors to only 68 on the road). They scored almost 100 more runs at home.

"I think we all know what we need to do," said shortstop Troy Tulowitzki. "We need to go home and take care of business."

Can the return to the Rockies help the Rockies?

Well, given the first two games of this series, it certainly isn't going to hurt.

Here are the grades for Game 2 of the World Series.

 
Game Grades
RockiesRed Sox

D
 
Yorvit Torrealba - C
0-for-2, sacrifice
The sacrifice was kind of useless with Ryan Spilborghs up next. And a double play in the second was a killer for a team that needs to get untracked. In all, a night that the Colorado catcher will want to forget.

B-
 
Jason Varitek - C
0-for-3, 2 Ks, sacrifice, RBI
The captain's sac fly in the fourth brought in Boston's first run, and on this night, that was contribution enough. Good thing, because he popped up to short with the bases loaded, too.

C
 
Todd Helton - 1B
0-for-3, RBI, BB, K
Helton's first-inning groundout to first dribbled in the lone Colorado run. He also worked a walk in the sixth that forced Curt Schilling from the game. But he couldn't catch up to 98 mph Jonathan Papelbon heat.

C
 
Kevin Youkilis - 1B
0-for-3, 2 walks
Youk's two walks were, if you can believe, things of beauty. Getting to Ubaldo Jimenez in the third inning was important, and a nine-pitch walk against Matt Herges in the sixth further tired a weakening bullpen.

F
 
Kaz Matsui - 2B
0-for-4, 2 strikeouts
Matsui swung madly through an Hideki Okajima changeup in the eighth, a fitting capper to an awful night. One of the few Rocks who had been hitting, Matsui is now down to .270 this postseason.

C
 
Dustin Pedroia - 2B
1-for-4, BB
A good play by Colorado's Garrett Atkins on a slow bouncer down the third base line kept Dustin Pedroia from having a two-hit night. Instead, he had to settle for an eighth-inning single and another win.

F
 
Garrett Atkins - 3B
0-for-4
He couldn't do anything against Okajima in the sixth, grounding weakly to first base with two runners on and one out. And that was the highlight of a low, low evening.

A
 
Mike Lowell - 3B
1-for-3, double, run, BB, RBI
Lowell pulled an slider from Jimenez down the left field line in the fifth, driving in the winning run. And his first-to-third dash in the fourth, after J.D. Drew's single, set him up to score the first run.

D
 
Troy Tulowitzki - SS
0-for-2, BB, K
Tulo couldn't hold up on a nasty Schilling splitter in the second, and he was stranded at first after a leadoff walk in the fifth inning. The possible NL Rookie of the Year is hitting .212 this postseason.

D
 
Julio Lugo - SS
0-for-3, sacrifice
There's a reason Lugo is hitting, if you call it that, at the bottom of the Boston lineup. He never got the ball out of the infield and, in his last at-bat, ran into his own bunt attempt, an automatic out.

C
 
Matt Holliday - LF
4-for-4, 4 singles
His hard single off Mike Lowell's glove in the first was integral in the lone Colorado score. But in the eighth, after a single off Papelbon, he was picked off first with his team down, 2-1. That hurt.

C
 
Manny Ramirez - LF
1-for-4
Jimenez frustrated Ramirez in his first two at-bats; but Manny caught up in the fifth with a single past third base, and one batter later Jimenez was gone. The Sox will wear you out even on a bad night.

D
 
Willy Tavares - CF
0-for-3, run, K, HBP
A Schilling fastball glanced off Taveras to start the game, and he came around to score the Rockies' only run. And that, by far, was his best at-bat of the game. He stood no chance against Okajima.

C
 
Jacoby Ellsbury - CF
1-for-3, BB
He led off the sixth with a single up the middle, and he pulled a walk in the at-bat before that. Ellsbury still isn't what the fans want him to be. But this experience will help him down the road.

D
 
Brad Hawpe - RF
1-for-4, 2 strikeouts
After striking out four times in Game 1, Hawpe broke out with a second-inning single. And from there, it was all downhill, swinging out against Okajima and ending the game whiffing against Papelbon.

A
 
J.D. Drew - RF
2-for-2, BB
Who is this guy? And what has he done with Drew? After an awful regular season, Drew continues his October rake. His second two-hit game in the Series has him at .349 this postseason.

F
 
Ryan Spilborghs - DH
0-for-3, 3 strikeouts
The Hawpe Award for this game goes to Spilborghs, who has as much right being a DH as I have of being the closer for the Red Sox. Three times looking. Losing the DH in Denver will help this team.

D
 
David Ortiz - DH
0-for-3, run, BB, K
Big Papi had a rough night, striking out with men on first and second in the third and flying out to center with two more on in the sixth. Not the clutch guy we're used to, but it didn't hurt the Sox this time.

B
 
Ubaldo Jimenez - SP
4 2/3 innings, 3 hits, 2 runs, 5 BBs, 2 Ks
The rookie Jimenez was good until he wasn't, which is kind of the way things happen with the live-armed, sometimes-wild righthander. He pitched out of jams several times but was finally finished in the fifth, giving up a walk, a single and a double that plated the winning run. He threw 91 pitches.

B
 
Curt Schilling - SP
5 1/3 innings, 4 hits, 1 run, 2 BB, 4 Ks
Schilling gave up the first-inning run and had the leadoff hitter on in four of his five innings. But a double play and some plain good pitching kept him out of further trouble. A single and a walk to the next batter in the sixth knocked him out of the game, but Okajima and Papelbon rescued him.

A
 
Bullpen
Jeremy Affeldt walked the one batter he faced, but Herges saved him. And then Brian Fuentes saved Herges by getting Ortiz in the sixth after a walk. In all, four Colorado relievers gave up three hits in 3 1/3 innings without a run. Nice work, all in all. Too bad it didn't matter.

A
 
Bullpen
Hideki Okajima and Jonathan Papelbon were fantastic. Okajima faced seven batters, didn't allow any to reach and struck out four. Closer Papelbon one hit in his 1 1/3 innings, to Holliday, and then promptly picked him off first base. All in all, the Sox couldn't have won this one without them.

B
 
Clint Hurdle - Manager
Hurdle has lived and died with the walks that Jimenez has given up. Thursday night, he died with them. You can argue that he should have pulled Jimenez earlier, but the rookie had worked out of trouble in the third, and most of the fourth. It was a tough call. On the good side, his bullpen management was right on. Now if he could just manage his hitters to put the bat on the ball.

A
 
Terry Francona - Manager
Again, how can you argue with what he's doing? He saw Schilling was in trouble; he went and got him. He trusted in Okajima. He came through. Papelbon followed up and did his thing. I'm not saying that Francona ran this game perfectly. But, man, I'm not sure what he did wrong.
 
Field Notes
James Taylor
AP
One of Massachusetts' favorite sons -- this state has a ton of them -- sang the National Anthem for Game 2. The thing about James Taylor: You know it's him, and no one else, when he's singing ... After rain fell for most of Game 1, this one began under mostly clear skies, a full moon and in about 50 degree weather ... The Prudential Building in downtown Boston has the obligatory "Go Sox" spelled out in office lights ... How about Fox putting on the CEO of Taco Bell during the game? Someone can have my taco ... This from the crack research desk at the SI.com Atlanta offices: Boston starters in the '04 and '07 World Series are now 5-0 with a 1.75 ERA.
 
Quotable
"This was the Pap-ajima Show tonight. That was just phenomenal to watch."
-- Boston pitcher Curt Schilling
 
Looking Ahead
Friday's an off day -- like the Rockies haven't had enough of those already -- as the scene shifts to Denver for Game 3 on Saturday night. Colorado's Josh Fogg is scheduled to go against Boston's Daisuke Matsuzaka in that game. The two teams will have voluntary workouts at Coors Field on Friday, and Saturday more than 48,000 are expected for the first World Series game in Colorado history.
 

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