Reeling Rockies: Playoff Bound or Playoff Bounced?

Nick Tremaroli@@DU_RoxFan17Correspondent ISeptember 27, 2009

There are certain things in a team that will make a fan nervous or cause them to go crazy.

Right now, the Rockies are causing their fans to become very nervous.

At this point last week, the Rockies had a very comfortable 4.5 game lead over the Giants in the NL Wild Card race. Now? It's only a 2.5 game lead over the surging Braves still with seven games to play.

The Braves have the easier schedule from this point until the playoffs: five of their final eight games are against the Nationals, one of baseball's worst teams this year.

The Rockies schedule? I'm not sure you want to see it.

One more game against St. Louis today, then an off-day, then Milwaukee comes to town for a three-game set. After Milwaukee, the Rockies play the most anticipated series of the year: Colorado travels to Los Angeles for the final three games of the regular season to play the Dodgers.

The Rockies have, in no way, an easy schedule from this point until the playoffs.

Now the question is why have the Rockies begun to slump now? Wouldn't it have been better to have this kind of slump earlier in the season?


There is never an explanation for this kind of thing. But don't waste your breath saying that the Rockies shouldn't have allowed this to happen, because they aren't trying to play badly in the middle of the playoff chase, that is just the way some things happen.

The question that needs to be asked, however, is what are they going to do from this point forward?

Only the Rockies can answer that question. Jim Tracy had a good point when he said that if the Rockies don't make the playoffs, they can only blame themselves. This is 100 percent true considering they have led the wild card race for most of the second half.

If the Rockies somehow wake up today from this lull they have put themselves into recently, they'll have no problem clinching the NL Wild Card soon.

If they don't, the Braves, who have a very easy schedule coupled with the fact that they are surging right now, will easily take the Wild Card from the Rockies.

It is clear that the Rockies know that they control their own destiny. This, however has not, for whatever reason, motivated them to clinch their playoff spot quickly.

Fortunately, that is the reason why they have the advantage in this race. They are the team being chased instead of being the chasers.

Their biggest problem over these past few weeks has been the pitching. Here and there they have gotten great performances from their starters, like from Jason Hammel against the Padres in the Rockies' 5-4 late-inning loss.

Hammel gave up two runs on six hits in 6.1 innings pitched and struck out six Padres. All of that was nullified when the Padres pulled even in the seventh inning to make it 3-3.

Then on September 25th, Aaron Cook and Jose Contreras combined for seven innings on the hill allowing one run on six hits and throwing four strikeouts in the Rockies' 2-1 win over the Cardinals.

Unfortunately, the rest of the pitching staff has struggled to help the Rockies win many games. Only Huston Street and Jason Hammel have consistently done well on the mound for the Rox.

If the Rockies are to make a final playoff push and go deep into the playoffs, the entire pitching staff needs to consistently contribute success on the mound.

The offense hasn't been doing much more to help win games than the pitching staff has. Over the past 10 games, the Rockies have averaged 4.4 runs per game. That is not a good average for a team who plays half of its games at Coors Field.

The Rockies need an all-around improvement on the diamond even to compete in the playoffs. Without a significant improvement, Rockies fans can begin looking to next year and hope that next year will be the year of the Rockies.


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