On Sunday, the Rockies wasted one of their best moments of the season, not to mention their outstanding start to the home stand on Friday night. Now they find themselves having lost consecutive series and faced with the task of getting on track against the team with the best record in the National League.
Good teams need to win games in bunches at home and play at least .500 baseball on the road. Given their history and what we would like to think is a unique environment at Coors Field, this truth might be even more important for the Rockies. As such, it would seem that they should beat a team like the New York Mets, even with their admittedly strong start this season, in a weekend series at home.
That would be true anyway. It was especially true after their electrifying victory Friday night, then it became even more glaring this afternoon after Todd Helton rescued them from mediocrity with an 8th inning grand slam to ignite an otherwise lifeless team and tie the game.
This weekend becomes the latest reminder of the impermanence of the ebbs and flows of the long baseball season. Rockies fans and players alike were feeling pretty fresh after a blowout victory on Friday night. It looked like the team was ready to do their damage at home, exhausting bullpens and racking up some much needed victories. Then came a lifeless loss on Saturday followed by a stomach punch loss Sunday. Sprinkle in the fact that the red-hot Los Angeles Dodgers come in for three games tomorrow, and this home stand has officially gone from exciting to scary.
If the Rockies had pulled out a victory in the rubber match against the Mets, they would have stolen a game they never really deserved to win. They were outhit 18-6 in the game, as Johan Santana cruised (like he always does against them) through 6 innings. Only against familiar foe Jon Rauch were they able to stage anything like a rally, with Dexter Fowler, Carlos Gonzalez, and Michael Cuddyer giving gritty at-bats to bring up Todd Helton as a pinch hitter. In front of a huge Sunday crowd that included his buddy Peyton Manning, the Toddfather ripped a hanging curveball for a game-tying grand slam. It was a goosebump moment, and potentially a season-changing moment if they had finished the game with a win.
They didn’t. The typically reliable Matt Belisle continued his recent struggles, giving up a run in both the 10th and 11th innings. Carlos Gonzalez bailed him out in the 10th, but there was no savior in the 11th. One of the most exciting moments of the season turned into a terrible loss as the Rockies straddle the line between relevant and mediocre in the first months of the season. A victory that would have stood up above the rest ended up stinging that much more.