Take a look at the picture above. NL Champs: Relive it. Savor it, because it isn't happening again anytime soon. The once improbable feeling of watching the Rockies play into October has been replaced by another improbable feeling; that we will see the team reach the postseason this season.
They put on a front, a lie; made us believe we were building for another run at the "improbable" championship. Instead, we are left scratching our heads and instead of hoping for playoff baseball, we are forced to wonder if Matt Holliday will still be in purple pinstripes in a couple of weeks.
Despite being chosen by many to pick up right where they left off (I did not), the Rockies have settled back into the mess we are all accustomed to as Rockies fans. With rumors swirling about Matt Holliday's likely suitors, it's time to analyze an abysmal first half for the team who Rocksobered up to being the the franchise we all knew didn't really turn around in the ladder third of last season.
First Half Grades:
Aaron Cook A At 11-6 (T-3rd in League Wins), Cook has blossomed into the long-awaited ace on the Rockies pitching staff. His 3.57 ERA is commendable considering the team ERA of 4.93. Cook has without-a-doubt been the best Rox pitcher in the first half.
Taylor Buchholz B+ (3-3)- The starter-turned-reliever has been a pleasant surprise; a solid 1.83 ERA in 40 appearances has kept the team in many games with his middle relief.
Honorable mention: Jason Grilli B, Matt Herges B-
Brian Fuentes C (1-4, 3.41)- Closer, set-up, closer...which one is it? I vote neither. Fuentes has shown he is unreliable as a closer and he needs a change of scenery. He seemingly finds ways to lose games for the Rockies.
Honorable mention: Ubaldo Jimenez C-(4-9, 4.22)
Jorge De La Rosa D+(3-5)- since being brought in via trade from the Royals, De La Rosa has enjoyed a roller coaster type season. His solid outings on June 14th and 19th have been overshadowed by his 7.26 ERA, courtesy of games like July 10th, allowing 7 earned runs in 3 2/3 innings.
Manny Corpas D- (1-3, 5.24) - 14 appearances as closer, 6 blown saves. It's ugly.
Honorable mention: Mark Redman F (2-5, 7.54), Greg Reynolds F (2-6, 6.71), Cedrick Bowers F (13.50)
Hitting - C
Matt Holliday A (.337, 14 HR, 51 RBI) - Easily the team MVP for the first half. Holliday has single-handedly kept the team in close games and has also sparked the team to victory personally on more than one occasion. Losing Matt via a trade would be devastating to not only the team but the fan base in Denver
Ryan Spilborghs A (.314, 6 HR, 33 RBI) - Spilly has worked himself into being a fixture in center field and occasionally right. If the Rockies trade Matt Holliday, they have player capable of playing every day coming through in the clutch.
Honorable mention: Garrett Atkins A- (.304, 14 HR, 54 RBI), Clint Barmes B+ (.295, 5 HR, 23 RBI), Chris Ianetta A- (.274, 9 HR, 34 RBI).
Omar Quintanilla B (.256, 1 HR 10, RBI) - His fielding in place of Baker, Barmes, and Tulo has been great, and has held his own, but his hitting must improve.
Brad Hawpe C+ (.252, 14 HR, 40 RBI) - .252? No wonder Ryan Spillborghs has seen as much time in Right as he has. Hawpe began this slump in the playoffs, striking out at will. he will need to turn things around as part of the big 3 in the lineup or he will be trade bait.
Honorable mention: Yorvit Torrealba C (.243, 4 HR, 23 RBI),
Troy Tulowitzki F (.166, 3 HR, 16 RBI) - Wow, what can I say? Tulo has yet to find his swing (unless its in the locker room slicing his hand open with his bat). His defense has not faltered, however he has shown he must adjust to big league pitching (similar to Barmes two years ago) and regain confidence before he returns to the lineup.
Scott Podsednik D- (.218, 1 HR , 15 RBI) - Edging out Cory Sullivan for the 4th outfield spot, Scott has not found a way to come through in the pinch and has seen more time on the bench as a result.
Willie Tavares C- (.247, 1 HR, 18 RBI) - Despite his league-leading 39 stolen bases, he is not hitting well in the leadoff spot and has sacrificed his start in place of Ryan Spillborghs on multiple occasions.
Honorable Mention: Jayson Nix D (.132, 2 HR, 9 RBI) - Supposed bright young star, maybe in the future.
I hope Clint Hurdle enjoyed his first stint at the NL All-Star manager because it's surely his last. Questionable calls during the first half have lead me to believe it's time to move on.
Overall Grade: C
Sit back, relax, and enjoy the rest of the season, because it's Rocktover.