Rest or rust? Rockies hope this 8-day layoff doesn’t slow their quest for a title

;DENVER (AP) – The Rockies swept through their playoff bracket with such speed that their reward was a record eight-day wait for the World Series, by far the longest layoff in history.

Having won 21 of 22 games, Todd Helton and his teammates hope they don’t lose their momentum or this mojo.

Still, that’s sure to be the question over the next week – rest or rust?

The World Series starts Oct. 24, when Cleveland or Boston hosts the Rockies, the charmed champions of the National League. Colorado has won 10 in a row overall, with sweeps of Philadelphia in the opening round of the playoffs and Arizona in the NL championship series.

“We’ll probably scrimmage ourselves,” outfielder Ryan Spilborghs said. “And it’ll be the first time in a while we’ll lose.”

A day after finishing off the Diamondbacks 6-4 in game four at Coors Field, the Rockies took Tuesday off to relax – and, quite possibly, to recuperate from the celebration that followed their first NL pennant in the franchise’s 15-year history.

“There’s nothing wrong with a break,” reliever Matt Herges said. “We played to end the series quickly.”

The Rockies will reconvene at Coors Field for a workout Wednesday afternoon and will take Thursday off.

But will this long layoff leave the Rockies, losers of just one game since Sept. 16, out of sync?

“They asked us the same question after the last layoff,” Helton said of the four-day break that separated Colorado’s playoff sweeps. “We’re going to relax and enjoy this for a while and then we’re going to refocus and play who we have to play.”

A six-day pause sapped the magic from the Detroit Tigers’ rush to the title last October, when they lost to the underdog St. Louis Cardinals in five games, leaving players and fans lamenting the interruption.

“I don’t know if it was a factor,” Tigers right-hander Jeremy Bonderman said. “We just didn’t execute.”

In Colorado’s champagne-soaked clubhouse early Tuesday morning, the possibility of rust corroding the Rockies’ run was the least of their concerns.

“No,” pitcher Josh Fogg said, “we’re not worried about anything right now.”

Reliever LaTroy Hawkins said the team’s heavily worked bullpen was thrilled this series didn’t go any longer than it had to.

“Right now, the most important thing is we are in,” Hawkins said. “At this time of the year, a pitcher can use a break. Guys like Jeremy Affeldt, who had 70 or so appearances, need one. The bullpen got a use down the stretch. A lot of guys contributed.”

Tigers closer Todd Jones, who used to pitch in Colorado, suggested the Rockies would be wise to catch some sun in the Arizona desert while waiting for the first World Series in the Rocky Mountains.

“The Rockies should travel to their instructional site where they can get out of the weather and get some at-bats off live pitchers,” Jones wrote in an e-mail to The Associated Press. “The only problem you run into is some minor league kid who gets all jazzed up facing Matt Holliday and Holliday could get hit. But, he could get hurt working out in the cold weather and pull a hammy in Denver just as easy.”