Think about what we were saying about the Rockies before the season started.
- The offense should rake, with a deeper and more experienced lineup. They should be able to reestablish the team’s prowess at home.
- The bullpen should be good enough, pending the development of Rex Brothers (OK fine, I just added that one today). With Matt Belisle and Rafael Betancourt, the ever-important back of the bullpen should be pretty stable.
- The rotation is the big question. If three guys can step up, then the Rockies have something. If not, then they will likely find themselves hovering in third or fourth place mediocrity for the majority of the season.
If they had a good offense and mediocre starting pitching, we assumed that they would be an average team. But what about good but inconsistent offense and atrociously awful starting pitching? That’s a recipe for disaster right? It certainly has been for the team’s recent stretch in which they have lost five of six games. Even so, things aren’t so bad.
Even with this recent stretch that submarined the team’s record to a 4th place record of 13-17, you do not have to stretch your thinking too much to say that this feels like an average baseball team through 30 games. They collected some quality wins against good teams and some brutal losses against bad teams. With the exception of the Braves beating them senseless this past weekend, they have not looked like a bad team. This just doesn’t feel like a decidedly bad team to me.
If I had told you that the Rockies would go 3-6 on a homestand and have the worst starting pitching in the National League to date, what would you have guessed their record to be on May 10th? That sounds like worst case scenario stuff, right? I would have guessed 10-20, and three games make a pretty big difference this early on, all things considered.
The point is, the Rockies have done things that would make you think that this season is already a disaster. And it’s not. Don’t get me wrong, because it is teetering on the edge of disaster, with another five game losing streak in the next month potentially making it so. But doesn’t average, in spite of these frightening components, also mean that they aren’t that far from being pretty good? Couldn’t a string of good starts by the rotation mean a 6 or 7 game winning streak? It’s not out of the question.
The last few games, yesterday excepted, have been punishing to sit through. But the Rockies have stayed afloat despite stretches in which a lot of things went terribly wrong. It might be a mirage, a way for a guy like me to cling to false hope and defer the realization that they are just flat out bad. On the other hand, it might mean that this team just needs one or two things to click and they can stay relevant in the NL West. The rest of this west coast road trip will tell us a lot.
If the Rockies get roughed up by the Dodgers and/or Giants in the next six games, we might be having a different conversation. But how about if they win both series? Right about then things might look alright, bordering on dandy. OK OK…they’ll just look alright.
So as people sound the alarms, talk about selling at the trade deadline and start the cries for certain coaches to be fired, remember…things aren’t so bad…yet. And hopefully they never reach that point.