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Sluggers' dim debuts left Philadelphia in a state of disorder

Three of the most anticipated postseason debuts in Phillies history went like this:

Chase Utley struck out all four times.

Ryan Howard was 0 for 4 with three strikeouts.

Jimmy Rollins went 0 for 3 with a walk.

The sluggers who put up the big numbers for the Phillies in their late-season run combined to go 0 for 11 with eight strikeouts in yesterday's punchless 4-2 loss to the Rockies in the Division Series opener in Philadelphia. Throw in No. 2 hitter Shane Victorino, and the first four in the Phillies' batting order combined to go 0 for 15 with 9 K's.

"We've all had these days," Rollins said. "It's rare that we had them all together."

"I think some of our hitters might have been a little uptight," manager Charlie Manuel said.

Utley struck out swinging in his first three at-bats against Colorado lefthander Jeff Francis and he fanned four times (on 13 pitches) in a game for the second time this year, the other being June 8 at Kansas City.

"No one was surprised. No one felt overpowered," Rollins said. "We just didn't come up with the big hits."

Comeback kid

The Phillies' Game 2 starter, rookie Kyle Kendrick, was knocked out of his last outing against Colorado Sept. 12, when he was hit on the knee by a Garrett Atkins line drive. Kendrick crumpled to the grass in pain and gave a temporary scare to the Phillies. He left the game, but didn't miss a start. Rollins expects Kendrick to have a solid performance. "We've had confidence in him all year long," Rollins said. "There's no reason not to be confident." Kendrick said he felt no pressure for his first playoff start. "I'll just go out there and pitch," the righthander said . . . The reliever who nearly was the goat in Monday's wild-card tiebreaker game, righthander Jorge Julio, was left off the Rockies' NLDS roster. Colorado chose to keep outfielder Seth Smith, a September call-up who had a pinch-hit triple against the Padres Monday . . . Rockies first baseman Todd Helton, whose 5,663 at-bats were the most of any active player yet to play in the postseason, celebrated playoff at-bat No. 1 with a triple to deep center on the first pitch. An Atkins double scored Helton with the game's first run.

Leaning to the right

The Cubs opted to carry just one lefthanded reliever, Scott Eyre, in their Division Series against the Diamondbacks, who won last night's opener, 3-1, in Phoenix. Left off the 25-man roster were lefties Will Ohman and Sean Marshall, who combined to make 76 appearances this season, and veteran righthander Steve Trachsel, a late-season pickup. Rookie Kevin Hart, who had an 0.82 ERA in eight games after being promoted from Double A Tennessee, was among the 11 pitchers on the roster. Also left off the Cubs' roster was outfielder Craig Monroe and catcher Henry Blanco. Arizona also will carry 11 pitchers, including Doug Slaten, its only lefthanded reliever. Arizona kept speedy rookie infielder Alberto Callaspo and three catchers - starter Chris Snyder, Miguel Montero, and Robby Hammock, who can play the infield and outfield.

Jocketty out as GM

Walt Jocketty is out after 13 seasons as general manager of the St. Louis Cardinals, one year after the team won the World Series for the first time since 1982. Team president Mark Lamping said Jocketty's departure with a year remaining on his contract was a mutual decision, and that he'd be paid. It's unclear how Jocketty's departure affects the status of manager Tony La Russa, whose contract expired after the season. Jocketty hired La Russa in 1996 . . . Ned Yost will return next season as Brewers manager, although GM Doug Melvin didn't sound as if the team was giving him a long-term commitment. "I'm not prepared to make a change with Ned at this point," he said . . . Tom Glavine is likely to decline his $13 million option with the Mets by tomorrow's deadline, giving the 41-year-old lefty time to think about his future. Mets center fielder Carlos Beltran had arthroscopic surgery on both knees . . . Marlins shortstop Hanley Ramirez had surgery to repair torn labrum tissue in his left shoulder . . . The Astros hired former Red Sox infielder Ed Romero as third base coach.

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