April 26, 2011
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It's been a cold April for the Rockies, but there isn't a sole in the clubhouse complaining about it.
The Rockies, with the exception of a weekend series in Miami, have had terrible luck with the weather in the early part of the 2011 season.
If playing in cold weather is all it took to snap a four-year April slump, the Rockies are probably hoping they can see their breath in the middle of August.
Cold weather and baseball simply do not mix. It is hard to pitch, it is hard to hit, it is hard to field. Simply put, it's hard to play baseball in the cold.
Cubs shortstop Starlin Castro found that out the hard way on Monday night, committing three errors in the top of the second inning, allowing the Rockies to erase a three-run deficit. In all, the Cubs committed four errors, helping the Rockies to a 5-3 win.
If the Sky Sox starting rotation felt something in the air, it was the collective groan of the Rockies fan base as Esmil Rogers struggled to get out of the first inning for the second Monday in a row. The converted shortstop looked like he had no business on the mound, giving up Darwin Barney's first major league home run and barely escaping more trouble as he walked the bases loaded and watched Alfonso Soriano stride to the plate.
Soriano flew out to right, scoring the Cubs third run of the inning, but one swing of the bat could have doomed the Rockies, much like it did against the Giants a week ago.
Once again, as the Rockies are finding ways to win.
While a pessimist might say that they are getting lucky, especially considering arguably their best hitter (Carlos Gonzalez) is hitting just .217 after another 0-for-4 night, and three of their seven losses have come when ace Ubaldo Jimenez took the mound.
However, optimists would say that if they are winning games that they really should be losing, games in which they only manage four hits like they did on Monday, then what is going to happen when they break out of their slumps? What is going to happen when Jimenez becomes dominant again?
If the Rockies are able to win games on the road in which they were trailing, as they have done in six-of their-nine road wins, they are going to be in very good shape.
The club amassed just 31 road wins in all of 2010. Much of the reason that they had such a bad road record was because they couldn't find ways to get back into games. They would get behind and never come up with the clutch hits or never find ways to stop the bleeding on the mound.
So far in 2011, the Rockies have found ways to fight back when they are behind. They have found ways to get back into games, and not only tie it up, but take the lead.
They are finding out that being on the opposite side of things is a much easier way to win games.
They aren't the ones scrambling to score a run. They are now the team that is confident enough to know that if the opposition scores a run or two, they will find a way to get back into it.
The Rockies need to take one of the next two games to split their road trip. If they can manage to get two more wins, they will have won their second road trip of the season, something that they didn't accomplish in all of 2010.
In years past, splitting a six-game road trip would have seemed like a major victory; now, it seems like it is something that should be expected.
That is a good sign for where this Rockies team is trying to get to. Finding ways to win in a cold April will make the rest of the season feel a little warmer.
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