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NLDS awaits after Rockies drop finale

NLDS awaits after Rockies drop finale

LOS ANGELES -- It was an end and a beginning, the Rockies all too eager to begin their next chapter.

The Rockies finished off their regular season Sunday with a 5-3 loss to the Dodgers, a result made meaningless when the Dodgers clinched the National League West title on Saturday.

The Rockies will now enter the postseason as the NL Wild Card, opening their NL Division Series against the Phillies on Wednesday at 12:37 p.m. MT in Philadelphia.

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"There are eight teams left with a chance to win a world championship and we're one of them and feel very good about that," said Rockies manager Jim Tracy. "The first one to 11 [victories] wins."

Tracy said he will start Ubaldo Jimenez (15-12) in Game 1, but the rest of his playoff rotation remains uncertain as the Rockies await the health update on left-hander Jorge De La Rosa's sore groin.

The Rockies finished the season 92-70, setting a franchise record for victories. They were 18-28 when the Rockies dismissed manager Clint Hurdle on May 29, going 74-42 afterward under Tracy.

"Now you put this behind you and play the second season," Tracy said.

The Phillies' lefty-dominated rotation (Cole Hamels, J.A. Happ, Cliff Lee) poses a potential problem for the Rockies, who went 27-26 against left-handed starters and just 8-16 on the road.

"If we play our best baseball, we match up well with anybody," said Rockies starter Jason Marquis.

Division Series
Gm. 1PHI 5, COL 1WrapVideo
Gm. 2COL 5, PHI 4WrapVideo
Gm. 3PHI 6, COL 5WrapVideo
Gm. 4PHI 5, COL 4WrapVideo

Marquis started Sunday in a game that felt a lot like a Spring Training outing. Most regulars from both teams were given the day off or made a limited appearance.

Marquis (15-13) initially seemed to have some trouble focusing against the Dodgers' makeshift lineup, giving up four runs in the first inning. He did not allow another run over his next four innings.

"I settled down after the first inning and found the bottom of the strike zone," Marquis said.

The Rockies used seven pitchers and 19 players overall. The Dodgers used 21 players.

"We did a lot of things today," Tracy said. "We got the work from some guys that we wanted them to get, knowing we're not going to play again until Wednesday."

Tracy was encouraged that outfielder Brad Hawpe, who's been fighting a second-half slump, hit his 23rd home run of the season.

After the game, Tracy kept the clubhouse closed an unusually long time as he began to trim his roster in preparation for the playoffs.

Tracy said infielder Mike McCoy, outfielder Matt Murton and pitchers Juan Rincon, Joel Peralta, Jhoulys Chacin and Esmil Rogers would all head to Arizona to join the Rockies' team in the Instructional League.

The Rockies flew back to Colorado after Sunday's game and are scheduled to fly to Philadelphia on Monday afternoon. The team will work out in Philadelphia on Tuesday prior to opening its postseason the following day.

It's the Rockies' second postseason run in three years, the 2007 run leading to an unexpected World Series berth.

"The only way these guys should feel about themselves is terrific," Tracy said.

"You hear this cliche all the time -- just get in. And you know what? There's a lot of truth to that, because once you get in you have a chance."

Steve Dilbeck is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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