That was a difficult series to take. With the win on Monday, the Rockies were riding high—3.5 games out of the wild card and gaining ground with a rare road win.
Two games later, and two close losses later...well, it's not as happy times. There is no joy in D-ville.
The Rockies continue to be a tale of two teams with extremes I’ve never seen before. Home, they are a smooth team, with the best hitting numbers in the National League. On the road, they are one of the worst teams in the league.
Against the Giants, the Rockies scored only five runs in three games. Yeah, yeah, San Francisco’s AT&T Park is a pitcher's park. But the Rockies make any fourth starter that you never heard of look like a Cy Young candidate on the road; the Rockies make AT&T look much tougher to hit in than it really is.
The Rockies had their ace Ubaldo Jimenez on the mound looking for his 18th win, and the last four times he’s started, the Rockies didn’t come through for him. This one wasn’t on Jimenez, who threw a complete game and only gave up two runs and struck out 10 Giants.
This one ended because of some crazy plays and some incredible baserunning aggressiveness, which you have to have when playing small ball. But it still ended up as a loss for the Colorado Rockies.
Another road loss. Another game where the Rockies couldn’t score.
The big question, are the Rockies done? Technically, no—which is great, as we are playing semi-meaningful games in September. It wasn’t that many years ago, before the Gen-R gang arrived, when the Rockies weren’t playing meaningful games in June. To be only 5.5 games out at the first of September is a good thing when you look at the big picture.
However, I’ve never seen a team that can’t score or win on the road actually make the playoffs. This Jekyll and Hyde syndrome the Rockies have this year is pretty extreme. Ultimately it’s too much to overcome. Every team drops off on the road. Hitting numbers and winning percentages go down on the road, and that’s normal. Not to the extreme of the Rockies have this season, though—that’s NOT normal.
One of the things many casual fans of sports usually miss and don’t fully grasp about baseball is the playoffs actually start in the regular season. The last month is actually the first round of the playoffs.
Where basketball and hockey have several teams making the playoffs, making the last couple of months just jockeying for seeding, baseball only has eight out of 30 teams making the actual playoffs, the lowest percentage of any of the major leagues.
The last month of baseball season is fun to watch and unique in sports. It’s one of the true charms that make baseball so great—and the Rockies are a part of it! If you look at the last month as the first round of baseball playoffs, the Rockies made it in...barely.
What do the Rockies need to happen to make a push and win some games? The pitching can’t miss a beat. Not a bad inning from anyone.
They also need a hitter to help out Carlos Gonzalez. You don’t have to be a genius to know that the Rockies have a problem with their lineup when Melvin Mora is the cleanup hitter.
Who steps up for the Colorado Rockies? I'm hoping that guy is Eric Young Jr. He's the only major change in the Rockies lineup. If he can get on enough, I'm hoping he sparks the rest of the offense.
Now they need to win some games on the road, or it will be all for naught. A key to winning baseball...score more runs than the other team.