Helton doesn't beat himself up over Game 1 beating
Embarrassment? No, Todd Helton wouldn't go that far in describing the Rockies' 13-1 pratfall against the Red Sox in Game 1 of the World Series Wednesday night at Fenway Park. Still, it wasn't quite the showing the Rockies, coming off an eight-day layoff, had in mind for the first World Series contest in franchise history.
The Rockies, winners of 21 of 22 before Wednesday, hadn't been rocked like this on the road since suffering a 12-0 loss July 1 at Houston.
But in Helton's estimation, it was no cause for mortification. "A good, old-fashioned beatin'," he described it. So there was no need, really, to offer any public apologies.
Last night, Helton and the Rockies looked to rebound from - and not necessarily make amends for - the shellacking they absorbed at the hands of Josh Beckett, who allowed one run on six hits and struck out nine in seven innings. This after the Rockies pinned Beckett with his first loss of the season June 14 by teeing him up for six runs on 10 hits in a 7-1 triumph.
"You know, I think first and foremost, we play for the guys in the locker room," Helton said before Game 2. "Second, we play for our fans. Buddy Bell told me the first year he was managing us [in 2000], he said, 'I never want to hear you say you're embarrassed on a baseball field again.' I thought about that [Wednesday] night."
Those words resonated for Helton as he watched the Sox blow open a 6-1 lead in the fifth inning. The Rockies were shellshocked when Boston sent 13 men to the plate, scoring seven runs (the last three on bases-loaded walks by reliever Ryan Speier) on six hits (including three doubles).
"We're playing in the World Series," Helton said. "We're not going to hang our heads no matter what happens in this thing and never going to be embarrassed on the baseball field. Do we want to give a better showing for the people [who] are first-time watching us? Of course. We want to play like we're capable of playing."
To do so, Helton suggested, the Rockies had to practice patience against Curt Schilling. It was imperative to put together the same type of professional at-bats that the Sox did in their 17-hit eruption in Game 1.
"That's the one thing," Helton pointed out. "They were patient; they didn't panic when they had two strikes. Obviously, they had a lot of two-strike hits, a lot of two-out hits. They had a lot of professional at-bats.
"Over a season, you can get out of that. You can get out of rhythm. You can start to feel like you're panicking a little bit when you're not seeing the ball as well, so you're trying to jump on the first pitch because you don't feel as confident with two strikes."
The Sox' patience was best illustrated by Kevin Youkilis's second-inning at-bat against Jeff Francis Wednesday. After falling behind, 0 and 2, Youkilis drew a walk and wound up scoring on David Ortiz's double off the wall.
"That's the one thing that I saw [Wednesday] night they did a great job of," Helton said. "They hit - they didn't miss any mistakes. If Jeff left it over the plate, or [reliever] Franklin [Morales], they jumped all over it. It's the big leagues. You're only going to get one good pitch to hit, and they didn't miss."
Because of that, the Rockies went into Game 2 still smarting.
Michael Vega can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.