If you watched the Colorado Rockies play this past weekend against the Cincinnati Reds, it wasn’t hard to envision a Disney movie-type plot unfolding. Todd Helton, the hero of Rocktober and the face of this dear franchise, had seemingly discovered the fountain of youth that night as he launched two home runs and brought himself within a hit of 2,500 for his career.
When he strolled to the plate in the bottom of the 8th inning with two men on base, it was hard to contain my excitement about the possibilities (rational or otherwise). What if Helton belted another three-run home run, a moment that would immediately stand among the best in franchise history, and propelled this team into another improbable run at the playoffs? Sure, we would be crazy to just sit and wait for Rocktober to happen again, but that doesn’t mean we can’t think about it in a moment like that one…
Think about what else was slated to happen in the week that followed that Helton at-bat. Tyler Chatwood was scheduled to return to the rotation. Carlos Gonzalez was scheduled to return to the lineup. If you get one of your best hitters and one of your best pitchers back in the same window of time that your franchise icon stokes the excitement of your fans, it’s not unreasonable to hope for a late season winning streak.
But enough about what could have happened. Here’s what did happen. Helton struck out, Chatwood didn’t make it out of the 2nd inning of his return to the rotation because of a bruised thumb, and now Carlos Gonzalez won’t return Tuesday and might not return all season.
So it’s back to reality, and back to the sobering fact that the Rockies have been well out of contention for quite some time now. In that context, there is no need to rush CarGo back into action and it might make sense to shut him down for the rest of the season to let his finger completely heal.
CarGo will join the team Tuesday, but his return to action remains in doubt. As it should: about the time we are talking about him gripping the bat differently, it might be time to take a step back and look to next year.