Purple Mountain Majesties: Rockies Are The Team Of The Front Range
Remember 2007? Remember Rocktober? Remember those Rockies who pulled a miracle and put themselves into the playoffs at the last minute?
We Rockies fans thought that we had a legitimate World Series winner in our town.
Unfortunately, such was not the case.
Now let's turn the page to the 2009 Rockies, a team that is better in almost every way than the '07 Rox.
Think back to the big offseason trade of Matt Holliday to the A's for Carlos Gonzalez and Huston Street. No one in the baseball world had even a thought of the Rockies finishing anywhere close to .500.
I am extremely glad to be proven wrong about that.
It is clear that the Rockies were the beneficiaries of that trade. Dan O'Dowd, Jim Tracy, and the entire Rockies organization could not be happier with the production they have received from these two players. In fact, they are a big reason for the Rockies success this year which has placed them atop the NL Wild Card chase and within three games of the division.
Can we say Rocktober 2?
I'm not sure, but this team has every indicator of going pretty deep into the playoffs this year:
They have an extremely strong rotation, a very solid lineup, and a well above-average defense.
The only thing that may keep the Rockies from going to the World Series for the second time in franchise history is a team that hails from the great City of Angels:
the Los Angeles Dodgers.
The Dodgers have owned the Rockies so far this year. With good reason for it, too.
The Dodgers have an extremely strong team all around. With Manny Ramirez, Russell Martin, Andre Ethier, Rafael Furcal, James Loney and Joe Torre holding the reigns on the same team, it is impossible to lose more than win.
However, if there is one team that can derail this juggernaut, it would be the Rockies. They have shown that they can win in clutch situations.
In fact, five of their last 11 wins have been last at-bat wins.
It hasn't been a different hero every night, but they have been able to get the job done when it matters most.
In the third game of a four game set with the Reds, Seth Smith came through with a walk-off infield single that scored two runs making the final score 4-3.
In their first game against the Padres on Friday, Yorvit Torrealba came through with a two-out two-strike three run double that put them ahead 3-1 in the top of the ninth inning. The final score was 4-1.
The Rockies have proven to the baseball world that they are worthy of being named with perennial playoff contenders.
It is truly unfortunate that when football season starts, Colorado immediately jumps to the Bronco's season; even during a pennant race for the Rockies.
Colorado sports fans aren't realizing that the Rockies have a legitimate shot at going very deep into the playoffs this year. They are also not realizing that the 2009 Rockies brand of baseball is some of the most fun that any fan can watch.
While they could be watching amazing late inning heroics these ignorant fans are trying to predict whether the Broncos are going to go 4-12 or 6-10 this year.
Right under our very noses, the Rockies have overtaken the Broncos as the Team of the Front Range.
The Rockies are playing baseball the way it is supposed to be played with few blowouts and many close wins that have clearly shown that they are the better team.
Their late season acquisitions of Jason Giambi and Jose Contreras have done a lot for this team's success as well. Jason Giambi is 3-for-9 with six RBI's and 6 walks since joining the Rockies on September first.
Jose Contreras is injured right now which is why he has only started two games. In his second start, against the Reds, he left the game in the third inning with strained quadriceps. He was dominant in hie first start against the D-Backs, allowing only one run in 6.2 innings.
For three innings against the Reds, before he injured his leg, he was dominant again only allowing one run again while still earning the win.
These Rockies are not a one hit wonder. With Jeff Francis out of the rotation because of preseason surgery and Taylor Buccholz out also due to surgery, next year's Rox look very promising.
But, let's focus on what is left of this year. With Troy Tulowitzki leading an extremely strong lineup with Carlos Gonzalez, Seth Smith, Todd Helton, Brad Hawpe (even though he is faltering in the second half), Ian Stewart, and Yorvit Torrealba, fans can expect nothing less than a very fun and interesting stretch run and playoffs with this team.
Not only do they have a very strong starting lineup, they also have great hitters coming off the bench to pinch hit. Jason Giambi, Dexter Fowler (when he's not starting), and Seth Smith (also when he's not starting) give opposing late inning relievers something big to worry about.
Colorado has one of the best benches in the MLB. Seth Smith is as good as and possibly better than anyone in the clutch late in the game.
When Seth Smith comes up late in a close game, any Rockies fan will be able to breathe easily knowing that Smith will at least get hit bat on the ball to make something happen and put the Rockies ahead or in a position to take the lead.
I'd almost say that the Rockies are a shoo-in to the playoffs, but it's baseball and you never know what will happen.
Right now, Rockies fans can rest well until October knowing that this team is one worthy of all praise any team can get right now.
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