Rockies Push For Rocktober In July

david mangumContributor IJune 30, 2009

OAKLAND, CA - JUNE 28:  Aaron Cook #28 of the Colorado Rockies is congratulated by Clint Barmes #12 after they beat the Oakland Athletics at the Oakland Coliseum on June 28, 2009 in Oakland, California.  (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

Let's plan for Christmas in July...

Your Colorado Rockies are for real.

And they have done this legitimately AND without the bat of Matt Holiday.

Are you surprised? You should be. I know I am, but not really.

Let me explain.

First of all, these Colorado Rockies have done what nobody expected from them, and that

is to win in the most improbable of places, ON THE ROAD.  These Rockies are battle-hardened with 44 road games, most of any MLB team in 2009.  GOOD teams find a way to win on the road, and since replacing Clint Hurdle as manager, Jim Tracy is 21-7.

Are you convinced yet?

Secondly, Your Rockies are 11-4 in Interleague Play with convincing wins (oops, I mean SWEEPS) of the St. Louis Cardinals and Milwaukee Brewers.  Allow me to remind you that your Rockies won these convincingly ON THE ROAD.  What used to be unfriendly territory (opposing ballparks) now almost brings one a sense of peace as the 2009 Rockies go into the “other” guys' place. 

Ready to claim Rockies Allegiance yet?

Let’s look at what the Rockies need to do post All-Star Break to keep the Purple Bus Rollin’.

With the recent reawakening of the Rockies bats, some have forgotten about Mr. Holliday as of late.  The “hot” bats from Helton, Hawpe (have YOU made your REQUIRED 25 All-Star Ballot Votes, Purple Nation?), Tulo, and Barmes have definitely helped fill in the void. 

Would it be too much to ask for consistency throughout July, especially since this is traditionally when the Rockies fade?  Of course it wouldn’t.  With the lineup missing right-handed hitting power, the Rockies look to Ianetta and Tulowitski to carry the load.

On the mound, Aaron Cook is looking to have a very solid campaign in 2009.  Can he repeat the magic from 2008? Time will tell.  On paper, one could say yes, but games aren’t played on paper.  With the absence of our ace Jeff Francis, somebody has to step up and claim it. 

I like the contrasts of Ubaldo Jimenez and Aaron Cook.  The addition of Jason Marquis and Huston Street was crucial.  The continued patience with Franklin Morales and Jorge De La Rosa seems to be a smart move, so far. 

One upgrade I would like to see from Dan O’Dowd and the Monforts is the pursuit of Toronto’s Roy Halladay.  Is it too early for a Christmas (or Hanukah) present that could actually help propel the Rockies deep into October?  I didn’t think so. 

With an outfield that has turned many heads this season, Fowler, Spilborghs, Hawpe, and newcomer Gonzalez have maintained the core that got the Rockies to the Big Game in 2007, DEFENSE.  This team of 2009 is basically the same team of Rocktober 2007, MINUS Matt Holliday, PLUS more experience. 

With one of the BEST infields in baseball (Helton, Barmes, Tulowitski, and Atkins), this makes for the sturdiest cores around.  Throw in Ian Stewart, Jeff Baker, and Omar Quintanilla and you have the recipe for A-grade baseball. 

So what’s the catch? (Sorry, had to go there)

The Bullpen.  With the departure of “THE” closer Brian Fuentes, this 2009 bullpen is shaky.  The addition of Alan Embree and Huston Street makes me feel better, but when it comes down to it, if we lose the talents of these two, who do we have to lean on? Juan Rincon? 

With Taylor Bucholz out to injury, and Manny Corpas in and out of the lineup, your Rockies are looking kind of SKINNY where it would be better to be FAT.  Would it be ok to look for the 21 year old right handed wunderkind Joulys Chachin?  If we don’t open up the pocketbook, we could be looking at noodle arms and furrowed brows in October.  What do you say, Mr. O’Dowd?

With two games remaining in June, against NL West leading LA Dodgers, the Rockies are currently 20-6 and have tied

The franchise record of most wins in a month, and when was that last?

September 2007…..20-8…….ROCKTOBER!!!!! 

It WILL be interesting to watch what happens.

David Mangum


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