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Phils can expect chilly reception from Rox

Phils can expect chilly reception from Rox

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PHILADELPHIA -- Saturday in Denver calls for snow showers and a low temperature of 28.

It's literally a cold reality for both teams in the National League Division Series, but maybe a bit more figuratively frigid for the Phillies, who lost Game 2 to the Rockies, 5-4, on Thursday and now have to travel to Coors Field with the series tied at 1.

If the Rockies win both games in front of their fans, the Phillies' World Series title defense is over.

It would be easy to say "advantage, Rockies" at this point, but as calm as the underdog Colorado squad seemed in the aftermath of its Game 1 loss at Citizens Bank Park, the Phillies were equally quick to shrug off any worries about what might transpire Saturday as the series gets to its midpoint.

"We're playing a really good team," Phillies outfielder Raul Ibanez said. "We know that."

Ibanez need only look at the results since Rockies manager Jim Tracy took over for Clint Hurdle in late May, particularly at home. The Rockies have gone 74-42 overall with Tracy at the helm and 44-17 in Coors Field.

"It's huge because obviously we've been playing really well at home, especially in the last month and a half," said catcher Yorvit Torrealba, who homered in Game 2.

"Going back to Denver, that was our goal, if we can just win at least one game here, and then obviously we did. So it's definitely important."

But the Phillies were no slouches on the road, going 48-33 away from Citizens Bank Park -- three games better than their home mark.

They also have the option of turning to one of the great pitchers of all time, Pedro Martinez, to start Game 3, and Martinez, who went 5-1 with a 3.63 ERA for the Phillies down the stretch in 2009, said he's ready.

"This is not my first rodeo," said Martinez, who will turn 38 later this month and is 6-2 with a 3.40 ERA in 13 career playoff games. "Whatever I have left, I'm going to leave it all out there."

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

If Martinez gets the ball Saturday in Game 3, he'll be facing off against Jason Hammel, who was on the 2008 American League champion Tampa Bay Rays but was left off that club's postseason roster.

This could be another positive for Philadelphia, because Hammel, who made a career-high 30 starts and went 10-8 with a 4.33 ERA this year, actually did better on the road than he did at home, where he was 3-3 with a 5.73 ERA.

Still, the Rockies, who dug themselves out of the hole of an 18-28 record to storm into the postseason as the Wild Card winner, displayed their typical resilience by fighting back with a Game 2 win, so it's only natural for them to feel they got the upper hand with their Thursday triumph.

"I'd say so," said rookie center fielder Dexter Fowler, who drove in two runs Thursday on sacrifice flies, with his seventh-inning RBI holding up as the game-winner.

"We have two games to win back home. That's something we've done all year."

Advancing to the postseason and winning it all is something the Phillies have become accustomed to, so there wasn't a hint of panic in the home clubhouse as the players put on their ties to get on the late-night charter heading west.

"Obviously you'd like to win this game and we came up short, but we like our chances a day after tomorrow," Ibanez said. "We feel confident that we'll get it done."

Even in a winter wonderland?

"I don't think the weather will be a problem at all," Phillies reliever Scott Eyre said with a smile. "We've played in cold weather before. You've just got to go out and make the plays.

"The weather is irrelevant."

Doug Miller is a national reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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