The Rockies have been to the playoffs two of the last three years. They have one of the best lineups in baseball. They have an ace who is 4-0 and has an ERA well below 1.00. They have respect from around the league. Judging by the way the Rockies are playing, it would be easy to guess that these Rockies are less like a playoff team, and more like the Rockies from the "Todd and the toddlers" era.
Good baseball teams don't have excuses. Good baseball teams are resilient. Good baseball teams find ways to win tough games. Good baseball teams fight through adversity, they don't quit.
While the talent that the Rockies put on the field has changed since the dark days of the franchise, the mentality has not.
While the Rockies were rebuilding, losing was alright, especially on the road. Beating teams like the Giants and Dodgers was something that happened only when the team got lucky. Winning a series in San Francisco or Los Angeles was simply not something that happened.
The problem for the Rockies is that they are hoping to win their first ever National League West title. They have the talent to do it, but not the mentality.
They still believe they can't win in San Francisco. Instead of thinking that they are going to win, they cross their fingers and hold on for dear life, hoping a nine-game California road trip doesn't put them too far behind.
To be fair to the Rockies, they have been bitten hard by the injury bug. Both Jorge De La Rosa and Jason Hammel have found themselves on the disabled list. Brad Hawpe is out with an injured quad, and Huston Street and Jeff Francis are still at least a month away from game action.
While injuries have hurt the team, they have been built for depth.
They have some of the best young arms in their farm system. When other teams have pitchers go down, they are relying on guys like Russ Ortiz or Josh Towers to fill the rotation. Those teams would do anything to have the talent of Jhoulys Chacin and Esmil Rogers one plane flight away from the Major League roster.
The fact is, the Rockies are full of talent. They have guys who can hit. They have guys who can pitch. They need to start doing what good teams do, and figure out ways to win. Instead of feeling sorry for themselves because they are dealing with injuries, they need to use the talent that they have on the field to find a way to win baseball games.
Until the Rockies organization figures out a way to change that mentality, they will never take the next step into becoming an elite baseball team, they will always be the underdog.