July Goodbye: Will the Rockies Fade?
So the Rockies, who have historically gone into a June Swoon and been completely out of the pennant race by now, have staged a surge that, had it occurred in August, would've been equal in improbability to The Great Hot Streak of 2007.
They've pulled themselves from the cellar to 37-35 and third in the National League West.
This has been done with great pitching and superior defense, which were the strengths of the 2007 team (and their strong moral fiber, of course).
But can it be sustained?
It can be, if we keep succeeding in these areas:
In the 1990s, when the Blake Street Bomber teams were in vogue, a typical road game would see the Rockies losing by a score like 11-8, while back home we'd be the ones racking up 11 runs while holding our opponents to eight runs.
Contrast that with this year, which is seeing the Rockies pitchers average a 3.97 ERA on the road and accumulating an impressive 260 strikeouts.
The formula is to go .500 on the road and win the majority of your games at home. The Rockies are 20-20 on the road heading into tonight's game with Oakland.
If they can maintain these stats and build on a 17-15 home record, it will place us in fine position for a Wild Card spot.
Brad Hawpe Keeps Doing Work
Hawpe is having an excellent year.
A .338 average, with 53 RBI and 11 home runs, two behind Ian Stewart for the team lead.
Even more impressive is the .411 on-base percentage, something that he struggled with mightily in the past.
He is also third in the National League in slugging percentage at .605. If he can keep this kind of production coming from the left side, it will open up the rest of the line up.
Bring Down The Walks
Thus far the Rockies have allowed 223 walks. That can't happen any more.
True, the Rockies allowed 504 walks in 2007, but that's why the big push was so desperately needed at the end.
This year the goal is to solidify our position as early as possible.
Maintain The Defense
A .984 team fielding percentage is very good. The Rockies should do everything they can to keep it that way.
A Little Luck and Realism
Currently the Rockies stand 9.5 back of the Manny-less Los Angeles Dodgers, so catching them would prove extremely difficult.
The team is only 2.5 games back from the Giants, who would capture the Wild Card spot if the season ended today.
The Giants will play seven games in Denver from now until the conclusion of the season, while the Rockies will travel to San Francisco six times.
If the Rockies could steal three in 'Frisco while while winning five at home, it would be enough for the team to finish above the Giants if the standings persist as they are presently, which should happen if the Rockies keep it going in the other categories.
Who knows, maybe when October rolls around the still-fresh memories of 2007 might be exhumed.
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