The Colorado Rockies often head out to the west coast for a road trip against their division rivals and lose a number of painful, close games.
Sometimes these losses feel disastrous, like the play or plays that decided the outcome are emblematic of the larger issues that will keep the team from reaching relevance.
Other times these losses feel like something different. They’re still painful, sure, but it does not feel like they illustrate impending doom and gloom. They are just tough losses in tightly contested baseball games.
Because it is early in the season, it is easier to talk yourself into thinking that Colorado’s losses to the San Francisco Giants and San Diego Padres fall into the latter category. You can still reasonably say that these are just tough losses in competitive baseball games, and that you believe that the Rockies just might be a team capable of winning their share of those games over the course of the long season.
That is how I feel at the present moment. These losses have been a bummer, sure, but I still feel OK about the Rockies. They went into San Francisco, faced their top three pitchers, and had a chance to win all three games. They took tough at-bats and manufactured offense in a manner we do not always see from them in AT&T Park. If they play that way when they return to San Francisco later this season, I would be willing to bet they grab a series win.
Then there is Monday night’s loss to the Padres. Brutal though it was, for Rex Brothers in particular, here’s the way I look at it. The team was up by one run late, and Weiss knew to trust the biggest spot in the game to his best reliever. Brothers fell woefully short, of course, but once he’s back on track that strategy will work for Weiss more often than not.
And so the Rockies were in a position to win a tough game on the road with one of their best pitchers on the mound. Then they lost because baseball things happened. Really brutal, tough-to-watch, cringe-worthy baseball things happened. But that loss can stand on its own as one tough loss if the Rockies eventually level things out and win some of these tough games.
That is what made Tuesday night’s 3-2 win over the Padres so encouraging. Juan Nicasio recovered, the bullpen held its ground, and the lineup scraped out some manufactured runs. Those same things happened in the team’s brutal losses, by the way; they just finally notched one in the win column this time.
That’s why Tuesday night’s win was important, and that’s why it is important for the Rockies to get at least one more of the final two games with the Padres this week before they return home.