Two weeks ago the Rox were in the midst of some of the worst baseball in their entire history. They were not just bad – they were bad to watch. Their starting pitching was not just awful, they were 2012 awful. Their relievers were so spent they falling apart on the mound and in the trainers room. Their defense was making just bad mistakes, dumb mental ones, often caused by the parade of walks that pitchers were tossing up on the scoreboard. And the offense? They didn’t walk and couldn’t put two or three hits together to score runs. Oh, they could score runs when they hit solo homers (optimum word there is solo, because they would have had to get a walk or hit before the home run). And wow could they strike-out…a lot! They stunk, to use words that are fit for a family website. Oh and they couldn’t get 4 games in on the schedule without having a rainout, which gave the team no rhythm.
But over the past ten days or so something happened. The Rox learned to actually play baseball like a decent (i.e., 75-80 win) team. Even last week in L.A., where they managed only a split, they had two examples of what teams that need to pull out of a proverbial flat spin call “good losses.” they should have done more than have a .500 record on their recent home stand, but they played two teams that were playing some of their best ball of the season. But the also left on a 2 game win string.
For me, the biggest game of the recent period was the Friday night loss last Friday to the Giants, when a reliever who had no point in being in the bigs based on his stuff I watched in that game, took a 2-0 game to 7-0. Normally a team that is dead lining puts together 9 more meaningless at-bats and everyone gets home to their kids a bit earlier. But instead the Rox battled that into an interesting game, and had chances throughout the last 3 innings to add even more runs than they did actually score. The offense still isn’t clinking on all cylinders, but the 9th inning of the first game of the Red’s series showed even more encouragement in the 9th when against a non-sharp Aroldis Champman, who still throw harder than any human being should, lefty Blackmon and righty DJ got a walk and a hit and Nolan the Great (NtG maybe?) had a great at-bat and managed to get the necessary sac-fly to get the run in and then leave the rest of the offense to see if it could get another hit (they didn’t of course) and then got the last three outs and a third win.
And so, now facing a team that was them three weeks ago themselves, they have a chance for a 4-game win stream. Look, we all doubt this team is going to be playing meaningful games in August let alone September (but baseball isn’t a linear game, things happen, like managerial changes, young players hit a hot streak of figure it out, or whatever), so let’s see what this team can do the next three weeks. A little 12 for 16 and this team is back to .500, and honestly, I think the wild card race will be a packed race til late August as every team, save for the finally playing the way they should Nationals, have holes (the Cardinals got a huge hole when Adam Wainwright, a really great person and excellent pitcher, destroyed his leg) and that means a lot of 85-88 win teams. So, if the Rox can just get a little hot, they can at least be on the periphery of the race and give us some cause to talk Rockies, rather than waiting for snow to fall or the CC-DU game at Mile High.
On the bad side the Rockies little issue with injuries continue. First Corey’s blown plantar fasciitis, which I wrote wasn’t going to be a good thing long-term, now has Jorge De La Rosa’s cut hand. So tonight we get the great (oh, wait, not really) Chris Russin. Guess it could have been worse – they did send Flande down to bring up Russin. At least CarGo isn’t the same shade as the grass, so he will be back in the lineup. If only Tulo’s current bad string wasn’t making all of us that same color when he comes up.
**** I am still recovering from this latest bout of pneumonia, and have been very weak and tired, so still not writing regularly or even watching the games live but DVRing so I can watch later….hope to rejoin the community at RoxWalkoff.com soon *****