It is June 24th, 2013, and the Colorado Rockies are 39-38 on the season. That mark is good for 3rd place in the National League West, three games back of the first place Arizona Diamondbacks. This week the team plays two games at the Boston Red Sox, a single make-up game at home against the New York Mets, and then three very important home games against the San Francisco Giants.
Here are this week’s power rankings of the people, stories, and anything else that matters to the Rockies right now.
10. Having the best run differential in the NL West
At +35, the Rockies are the division leaders in that somewhat telling category. They are followed by the Diamondbacks (+22), the Giants (-15), the Padres (-18), and the lowly Dodgers (-44). Of course this statistic, like any other, can be misleading and does not tell the whole story. But as we approach the official halfway point of the season, it might be a sign that the Rockies have the goods to hang around in the standings for the entire season.
9. Getting a split in Washington
With Jorge De La Rosa and the shaky-of-late bullpen hanging on for a 7-6 victory yesterday, the Rockies got a split against the Nationals that they desperately needed. It still puts them at 2-5 on this road trip, but considering the gauntlet that was the first five games of this swing, that is not the worst thing. Now comes the task of finding a way to win at least one game in Boston against the first place Red Sox. If they manage that, this will be one of the greatest 3-6 road trips in club history.
8. DJ LeMahieu‘s hot streak
The infielder is 10-for-his-last-27, good for a .370 average over that span. Batting in the ever-important two hole, LeMahieu might be one of the keys when it comes to the Rockies surviving a schedule that includes 16 games within the NL West in the next month. That is not to mention how great it is to have his glove in the infield. Along with Nolan Arenado‘s stellar play at 3rd, LeMahieu has been to able to at least somewhat soften the blow of being without Troy Tulowitzki‘s gold glove at shortstop.
7. Getting shut out by former Rockies
You remember Esmil Rogers. You remember his 7.05 ERA in 2011. You remember the unmitigated disaster that was his 2012 season before the Rockies moved on from him. So there’s all of those things, and then on Tuesday night, this happened:
Between this recent development with Rogers and Jason Hammel‘s success with the Baltimore Orioles last season, it’s probably for the best that Jeff Francis accepted a minor league assignment when the Rockies DFA’ed him this week. Otherwise he would have caught on with the Pittsburgh Pirates and won 12 games on his way to a World Series ring. Or something.
6. The ghosts of Jim Tracy
Look, Walt Weiss‘s hands were tied a little bit yesterday because Carlos Gonzalez had a sore calf. Still, his decision to make a double-switch that inserted Tyler Colvin in left field while making the #3 hole the pitcher’s spot in the lineup created a situation where Rex Brothers batted for himself in the top of the 9th inning. On the one hand I am grateful because things still worked out for the Rockies, but on the other hand I am sad that the days are gone in which we would get to hear Tracy provide a robust explanation of the move in a post-game presser. Alas…
5. Rex Brothers
Granted he surrendered a hit that allowed inherited runners to score yesterday, but still: he has not allowed an earned run since April 6th. That is good for a 0.28 ERA. He is almost a 1.0 WAR pitcher having only appeared in 35 games this season. This man better remain closer when Rafael Betancourt returns from the disabled list.
4. The Marlins winning a series in San Francisco
Sure, it was a bummer that the Rockies got swept by the Blue Jays this week, but nothing like this: by losing 7-2 to the Marlins yesterday, the Giants dropped three out of four games to a last place team at home. That stings, boys and girls.
Even with a mini-slump this weekend against the Washington Nationals, Carlos Gonzalez must be an All-Star. He has inched his way up to 4th in the voting, behind Carlos Beltran, Justin Upton, and the injured Bryce Harper. It is possible he will get enough support to get in there. But then there is his buddy in right field…
Look, there is not enough time to actually get Michael Cuddyer in the starting lineup. That’s OK, but that doesn’t mean we should not try to create a groundswell of support for this man and his .339 batting average. He at least deserves to be added as a reserve or given a chance to lose to Yusel Puig in the final fan vote. Obviously the former is a more attractive option. Mr. Cuddyer would be number one on this list if not for…
1. Showing support for wildfire victims
Like everybody in Colorado Springs and across the rest of the state, I am tired of watching my state burn. In the big picture it is a small gesture, but I absolutely loved the fact that Vinny Castilla and others participated in a celebrity softball game to raise money. Events like these terrible fires call for people to come together, and I love to see our sports teams do their part in that regard.