Can the Rockies stay hot after the break?
- Updated: July 16, 2009
Coming off a June record of 21-7 and finishing with a 10 game home–stand before the break, but there are still many questions to be answered in Colorado regarding the second half of the season. The Colorado Rockies began the season as many fans would have anticipated, slowly. But after the firing of Clint Hurdle the team has surged under the calming leadership of Jim Tracy and is contending for the wild card spot. Even though Hurdle led the team to a remarkable 2007 World Series appearance, Tracy has provided a young talented team with a spark of energy and they are climbing steadily in the win column.
For once in this young franchise the Rockies could potentially be buyers at the trading deadline. They are looking to move Garrett Atkins and add some back end bullpen depth to assist setting up closer Huston Street. Many fans would love to see the Rockies make a run at Toronto Blue Jays pitcher Roy Halladay, an Arvada West alumn, they just don’t have what Toronto is looking for in the farm system in an everyday shortstop and a potential front of the rotation starter in years to come.
I can only hope that the Rockies experiment with Carlos Gonzalez as an everyday outfielder is put to rest. While I can’t argue the team’s wins and losses while he is in the lineup, he has struggled at the plate and the Rockies have not found a solid left fielder to replace Matt Holliday. Seth Smith and Ryan Spilborghs have played well at times. Smith has proven that he can be a good pinch hitter and provide the Rockies with a spot start. And Spilborghs has done nothing spectacular at the plate especially against right handed pitchers.
The Rockies pitching staff has done just about everything right in the last 6 weeks. Jim Tracy has instilled a lot of confidence in his group by allowing many of his pitchers to continue throwing late into games. This has provided rest to much of the bullpen and has made their bullpen very strong late in games. It will be interesting to see what the Rockies do with the 5th spot in the rotation. While De la Rosa has looked good at times, he also has been hit very hard in others. Tracy moved De la Rosa to the bullpen here in the last home-stand before the break but let’s see if he stays there. The Rockies now have Josh Fogg and Franklin Morales in the bullpen too. Both played key roles in the franchises only World Series appearance in 2007.
The Rockies are looking forward to not having to match up with the Dodgers until August. So far this year the team is 2-10 against their divisional opponent. Although the last series in L.A. resulted in the Rockies losing 2 of 3, there were signs that the team is closer to the Dodgers than many expected. They were shut down offensively with strong outings from the Dodgers pitching staff but their staff matched up competitively and kept them in games. The Dodgers are going to calm down a little bit and creep back to the pack but don’t’ look for anyone to catch them in the NL West. The Giants on the other had have stayed steady during all of this. With pitchers Tim Lincecum and Matt Cain at the front of their rotation they will battle Colorado all year for that wild card spot and currently lead by 2 games at the break.
Colorado looks to be a team that will be battling for a Wild Card spot for the rest of the year. If their starting pitching continues to give them quality starts and their mid to bottom of their lineup guys can continue to creep up in batting average to provide more run support, this team could really do some damage. It looks to be another run into October for this young franchise.