Thus far, the Colorado Rockies season has been like an in-car GPS navigation system overwhelmed by the driver’s inability to pick a route and stay on it.
The team had an uncharacteristically fast start in April and appeared that they could run away with the division if only they were consistent.
Cue the gawky android speaking from the GPS.
The team had a dreadful May, which saw a slumping Rockies team fall out of first place in the NL West and lose pitcher Jorge De La Rosa in the process. De La Rosa isn’t expected back this season and had been the Rockies most reliable pitcher up to that point, compiling a 3.51 ERA and a 5-2 record.
Out of the month of May, thankfully, with hope for a promising June.
But are we still…"recalculating”?
Or, do we finally know where we are headed?
Well, the first part of June seems to say that the team is back on track. The bats are certainly picking up—27 runs in the last four games as of this writing—Ubaldo Jiminez just needs run support but has looked very good recently, Jhoulys Chacin is pitching like an All-Star and Troy Tulowitzki is again carrying the team.
The Rockies look to take a 3-1 series victory in today’s matchup with the Los Angeles Dodgers, and even in their loss Saturday against LA, wasn’t it nice to see a vintage Rockies comeback, even if only in a comeback attempt that fell short?
The Rockies of April may have been too good to be true.
The Rockies of May were certainly an aberration…we hope.
So, why the inconsistency or rather, the constant recalculations?
The best explanation I have found so far seems to be the easiest one, but one that cannot be written off as overly simplistic.
As Logan Burdine of the Blake Street Bulletin writes,
“This year, there has been a direct correlation between Tulo and the Rockies’ offensive success, or lack thereof.”
“When Troy started out the season on fire, the Rox jumped out to the best record in baseball. When he hit .209 in May, they had the worst record in baseball. So far in June, his OPS is .896. Naturally, they are two games above .500 for the month. Obviously, there is always a link between the success of a team and the play of its best player, but this recent stretch seemed worse than it should’ve been.”
As Logan notes, Tulo is not the only star on this team, and certainly, others have also slumped at times, most notably Ubaldo Jiminez and Carlos Gonzalez. But hasn’t much of this been offset by the surprising play of other pitchers, the remarkable job that Chacin has done thus far and also players like Todd Helton and Seth Smith playing well-above expectations?
I think so.
The X-factor has been Troy Tulowitzki all along. As he goes, so go the Rockies. And while it hasn’t always been clear where he’s taking us, this is baseball after all. The season is long, and if you really had to choose one player to drive your team as the unequivocal leader, it would have to be Tulowitzki.
(Source: ESPN.com and Blake Street Bulletin)