Colorado Rockies' Statement Game Brings Back Cool Rocktober Feel

Bleacher ReportSenior Analyst ISeptember 17, 2009

SAN FRANCISCO - SEPTEMBER 16:  Troy Tulowitzki #2 of the Colorado Rockies reacts after he turned an unassisted double play in the fourth inning of their game against the San Francisco Giants at AT&T Park on September 16, 2009 in San Francisco, California. Tulowitzki fielded the ball and then tagged out Andres Torres #59 who was caught in between second and third base and then he threw the ball to first base to get out Pablo Sandoval #48 of the Giants.  (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

So, we’re experiencing what might be another miracle story in the Mile High City.  Turns out fans are long over the Denver Broncos, though a sensational upset created some buzz in Week One.  But in the meantime, this time of year is when fans shout and turn their attention to Rocktober fanfare.

Once again, the Colorado Rockies aren’t an illusion.  They’ve made themselves tangible by making a statement over the San Francisco Giants on Wednesday night.  Just to refresh memories, the Rockies are the same team that rocked a few years ago, with an unforeseen late push in the regular season.  It was a miracle run that none of us expected, riding the hottest winning streak during an improbable run to the World Series.

Similar to the miracles produced in 2007, the Rockies are on verge to awe and earn privileges to redeem failures in the World Series.

It probably won’t take 14 wins in the final 15 games, or 21 wins in 22 games or even a NL Wild Card tiebreaker.  If they continue to scare the Dodgers, pulverized the Giants and take a commanding lead, breaking away freely within a fluctuant division, they’ll rise into contention.

Despite losing four straight games, the Rockies are clearly a malignant team inspiring fans to increase insanity in low altitude and generate a rowdy fanfare at Coors Field.

Sort of like their last postseason appearance, fans will likely increase the volume, rattle their brains with echo sounds that would rattle the Rocky Mountains and magnify the low altitude to high altitude.  Instantly, the noise factor enlarges, to whereas fans might just have to wear earplugs.

Folks, all the lively reflections are implications that Rocktober is looming.  There’s no fluke or mirage, as the Rockies are an understatement, being overlooked by disbelievers and non-residents of Colorado.  It’s difficult to overlook a team that avoided a sweep, prevailing in a must-needed 4-3 victory to maintain a three-and-a-half-game lead over the Giants in the wild card.

To be straightforward, acknowledging that they’ve struggled against the Giants and were nearly swept can raise level of concerns.  To be straightforward, acknowledging that they’ve almost blew a 4-0 lead can turn out to be very costly in the postseason.

Sure, flaws can smear a rebirth of miracles, and can cost a premature exit.  From the looks of things, the Rockies are hungry, experienced, optimistic and lethal.  It’s hard doubting a team that’s having a solid season, overhauling from a disappointing season.  By revamping, they dealt outfielder and three-time All Star Matt Holliday to the Oakland A’s relying roughly on the farm system and adhered to a manageable payroll.

A number of the improbable stars left on their own terms, after testing the market and signing with other major league teams, such as catcher Adam Melhuse, outfielder Cory Sullivan, starter Livan Hernandez reliever Brian Fuentes and veteran Matt Herges.

But a critical reason for struggles a year ago was the lost of Willy Taveras, who was arguably the best leadoff man on the roster.  When he contributed in that magical race, his aggressive base running was a key to the Rockies successful advantages.

Courtesy of Taveras’ speed it allowed them effortlessly to score, as he stood at second or third agitating the opposing pitcher and waited for essential shots to race home.  They also benefited from his power, when they really needed productive batting.  During the playoff run, he compiled urgent hits, changing the capacity of the game and turning misconceptions into beliefs.    

Losing their top players was, indeed, painful after he helped guided the Rockies to an improbable playoff run.  Of course, obligations for a long-term future propelled general manager Dan O’Dowd to make drastic changes that were beneficial for long-term success.

Last season, the attendance level roughly declined, the Rocktober campaign vanished as the Rockies struggled, creating stigma for a young franchise that’s still developing and upgrading into a prominent contender in the near-future.  As the regular season is almost completed, in the final month when winning is more pivotal and tense, teams are trying to avoid heartbreaking collapses and humiliating downfalls.

Right now, survival determines if the Rockies can clinch a postseason berth.  Thus far, talent and youth proves worthy at good timing, lasting and managing to survive in the most significant game this season.  Clearly, the Rockies might’ve determined the season by finding resurgence and outlasting the Giants in a hard-fought, bloody war.

It was a game that dictated a relevant season.  Logic is what the Giants needed to notch a vital win; unfortunately, losing might’ve just ended a priceless season.  Now, the Rockies can breathe a little, as they control destiny in a time when it matters and momentum takes a huge toll.  With 15 games remaining, they understand each game is vital and must be treated as postseason play.

Nothing is assured yet, but there’s a Rocktober feel buzzing.  Although there was late-inning drama as the Rockies damn near collapsed, fans believe in Colorado, fans are exhilarated and raving about a potential World Series.

Good thing is the bullpen effectiveness continues persuading us to believe in the Rockies.  Over the years, baseball has been dominated by potent pitching, and if they’re expecting to break hearts in October, they’ll have to have productivity from a solid bullpen.  Relievers are 12-2 at Coors Field since June 3.  But a reliable Rafael Betancourt notched the most important save, charged for surrendering three runs in the ninth.

It was a rarity for a reliable reliever who very seldom allows hitters to produce runs.  But the Giants refused to finish the night without making it challenging.  There were consecutive hits by Freddy Sanchez, Pablo Sandoval and Bengie Molina, but finally Betancourt was yanked in favor Franklin Morales.

However, in part of a favorable season, a huge part has come from consistent batting by sluggers Troy Tulowitzki, whose team-leading two-run homer—his 27th—in the fourth lifted the Rockies, including his defensive stops, and a power hitting Brad Hawpe.

That’s why they’ve been scorching, despite slight struggles.  Meanwhile, before reaching a 60-28 record, the Rockies had never won more than 52 games in franchise history.  But, proudly, the team can credit left-hander Jorge De La Rosa, damn near Mr. Perfect, for a sensational outing, after executing his pitches, finding excellent location and completing a dominant eight-inning performance.     

But the Rockies were close in giving away a sure victory, and were close in giving the Giants life. That would’ve discouraged them and perhaps caused momentum loss.  But if anything, a victory signified a statement that the Rockies are a better team than most anticipated.  Disregarding the talent and rebirth of Rocktober is an understatement.

Guess it would be logical to say Rocktober is back.         


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