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No, Colorado Rockies fans, this isn't a dream.
On Thursday, the Rockies swept a doubleheader from the Mets, completing a four-game sweep of the reeling New York club. That win total equals the Rockies' highest amount of victories against the Mets in a season series since 1997. That's not a typo.
The Rockies went 7-1 on the eight-game road trip. They made it clear that they intended to play better on the road in 2011, but no one knew how serious about it they actually were. In both doubleheader games yesterday, the Rockies were down 2-0 early but came back to win.
There aren't enough adjectives to describe the temperature level of Troy Tulowitzki's bat. The shortstop slugged a home run in the first game, giving the Rockies the insurance runs that would end up being necessary in the Rockies' early victory. If the home run in the first game wasn't enough, how about another one in the second?
Tulowitzki, with the Rockies down 4-2, knocked a solo shot to left field, cutting the Mets' lead.
Consider this, after the shortstop devoured Mets pitching to the tune of 10-for-16 with four home runs and eight RBI in the series. The four home runs in the series combined with Tulo's spectacular September in 2010 leave the All-Star with 22 home runs in his previous 157 at-bats. So much for him being a slow starter.
Playing in the Big Apple will undoubtedly give Tulowitzki a little more exposure to the East Coast media. If they haven't noticed how good he is yet, they never will know.
The Rockies are off to a quick start—their best ever—and make no mistake, Tulowitzki's play on the field is not the only reason. It is clear that Tulo is the leader of the clubhouse. He believes that he can carry the team on his shoulders, and he is proving that every single day. The 2007 Rockies credited Tulowitzki's clubhouse speech about never being on a losing team for their turnaround that led them to the World Series. That came when the shortstop had less than two months of big-league service time.
He is a notoriously hard worker. The Denver Post quoted Tulowitzki this winter as saying that his only hobby included talking baseball with his wife. The fast start may be surprising to Rockies fans, but it may not be so surprising to Tulowitzki. After the disappointment of 2010, largely due to their early-season struggles, there seemed to be no way that the teams captain, the guy who signed a 10-year extension in the winter, was going to allow the Rockies to come up short again.
The club comes home from its eight-game road trip with an overall record of 10-1. Consider the fact that the Rockies hadn't logged their 10th win until April 25th. In 2009, the club didn't get to double-digit wins until May 4th, 2008. It came on April 24th, and in their World Series year, the 10th win of the season didn't come until April 29th.
The Rockies will not be able to keep up this pace throughout the season. Winning 10 out of 12 is just not realistic. However, the early start allows the club to falter at some point in the season and still be alright. They will not be forced to win every game down the stretch just to get back into the race. This early run will allow them some breathing room to slump for a week or two and still be in a good place.
The Rockies look to stay hot against the Cubs over the weekend. Then, they get their first crack at showing the Giants that they might be the champions, but underestimating the Rockies is a bad idea.
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