BOSTON They could not get out of town fast enough.
The scene in a dispirited Rockies clubhouse after they dropped their second straight to the Red Sox looked like a commercial for a packing service. Either that, or an ad for wheeled luggage. If the airlines ever learn to handle bags as fast as Colorado's players did in the wee hours Friday morning, summer travel wouldn't have become the nightmare it turned out to be.
Yet before manager Clint Hurdle could climb on the bus, he had to face the same question asked a half-dozen different ways whether going back to Coors Field will change the dynamic of a World Series that has the Rockies teetering on the edge of a cliff. When it came up one final time, "Do you think you'll go back to the home whites on Saturday and what do you think you will do to change this up?" he nearly lost it.
"I didn't major in fashion design," Hurdle replied tersely. "I usually stay out of that. I don't make any uniform selections."
Yet after two games, it's fair to wonder whether there's anything anybody on the Rockies side can change to slow the rampaging Red Sox down.
"We only score two runs in this ballpark, so I'm not telling you much when I tell you their pitching is on a roll. They put it where they want to, when they want to," Colorado batting coach Alan Cockrell said.
"I think the layoff had an effect on our guys' timing and rhythm at the plate. We had a knack for getting the big hit all through the postseason, but we sure didn't have it here. Maybe," Cockrell added, "we'll rediscover it at home."
Then again, maybe not.
It's a little premature to call this one over, but not too early to wonder whether the 21-of-22 magic carpet-ride of a winning streak that swept Colorado into the postseason and past Philadelphia and Arizona was really as magical as it seemed.
When they're rolling, the Red Sox they can make any team look bad. "They're about as professional as you can get," Rockies reliever Matt Herges said. But Boston had to win three straight to shake Cleveland in the American League championship series and at least three of their AL brethren the Indians, Yankees and Angels and perhaps even a fourth the Tigers might have wrestled Colorado in the same difficult headlock.
Rockies coach and franchise icon Vinny Castilla mulled over that very possibility, conceding that only the Braves and Mets in Colorado's half of the league might be as loaded offensively as the top AL teams. And either way, he understands the Red Sox lineup is probably in a league all by itself.
"We're very young and very talented, and we think we can play with anybody. But we've learned to respect them," he paused, casting a glance in the direction of the Boston clubhouse, "a lot."
Getting the home field and their fans back should energize the Rockies. But even more, the Series shift to the NL park means the Red Sox lose the designated hitter, forcing manager Terry Francona to sit either slugger David Ortiz, first baseman Kevin Youkilis or third baseman Mike Lowell. And it's not just benching a hot bat; Francona will have to massage the lineup without further weakening an already so-so defense, especially since covering the spacious outfield in Denver is tough enough to begin with.
"I don't think that will be an issue," Francona said.
Definitely not if the past is prologue. The team that wins the first two games of the Series has gone on to win it all 27 of 34 times, including the last 10 in a row.
"Our outlook on the way we play doesn't change," Francona said. "The next game ahead of us is the most important thing on our radar and that will never change, regardless of what our record is."
Somebody pointed out the same stat to Hurdle, the one about teams going home down 0-2 in the Series.
"Well," he said, "we've done a lot of things that people haven't expected us to do all year. We've been down to one strike and ... all we need to do now is win what, four out of five?
"Depends on how you look at it," Hurdle added, "but first we've got to win Game 3."Good luck with that.
Jim Litke is a national sports columnist for The Associated Press. Write to him at jlitkeap.org.