Monday Morning Shortstop: Rockies On A Roll
One full week in, the Rockies are rolling, posting six victories in eight games.
And the two games they lost, they squandered some chances, meaning their six and two record could have been even better.
Plenty to be happy about in Rockies country, with the Rox coming out of the gates playing solid baseball, both offensively and defensively.
Rockies teams from the past have failed to meet expectations because they have struggled against NL West opponents, and underperformed on the road.
Well, Colorado has made large strides trying to buck both those trends, and the proof is in the purple pudding.
The Rox are 3 and 1 against the West, with a satisfying mini sweep of the Dodgers, and 3 – 1 on the road, even if was against the lowly Pirates, who haven’t had a winning season in 18 years (Ouch).
And all this success has come with the Rockies main horse (Ubaldo Jimenez), on the 15-day DL with an injured hoof (cuticle issue).
So in honor of the Rockies 6 and 2 start, here are six more reasons why the Rockies are off to one their best starts in franchise history, and two reasons why Rockies fans should remain cautiously optimistic after only 3 series.
Six Reasons to Get Hyped
The pitching has been made magnificent. The Rockies ERA is 2.71, which is currently the best in the majors. That wasn’t a typo. The Rockies have the best ERA in the league, albeit only 8 games in.
The bench is deep. Jim Tracy has an arsenal of options to choose from when filling out his lineup card. Herrara could be the Rockies best contact hitter and he is pretty much a backup. Spilborghs and Giambi are great options off the bench and reliable pinch hitters.
The bullpen is deep. The Rockies have a quality closer in Huston Street, although he loves to fill the bases with base-runners before he closes games sometimes. He can be sketchy, but he can also be great. Betancourt, Belisle, and Lindstrom all have ERA’s under 2.25, and all can pound the strike-zone with consistency.
The Rockies stars are shining. Cargo and Tulo are staples in the Rockies lineup for years to come, and you can see why. Even if they don’t hit well, their ridiculous defensive prowess changes games, with Cargo and Tulo making difficult plays look easy on a regular basis. And oh by the way, they usually do hit well. Cargo is hitting .323 and Tulo is slugging .607.
Jose Lopez = quality acquisition. Leads the team in RBI (7), second in HR’s (2), and third in total bases (13). He has the ability to hit 20 plus bombs, and with Cargo and Tulo hitting in front of him, he will get ample opportunity to drive in runs.
Speaking of wise off season acquisitions. Ty Wigginton is the real deal, solidifying his reputation as a legit utility man. He has already started at third, first, and left, providing days off for Helton and Cargo, and flashing leather in the process. Wiggy also came through in the clutch with a bases clearing double that spearheaded the Rockies 6 – 4 victory against the Pirates on April 9th.
Two Reasons to Not Believe the Hype
The Rockies have not really played anybody that scary. The Diamondbacks, Dodgers, and Pirates do not exactly strike fear in the hearts of those who play them. Let’s wait and see how the Rockies stack up against more legitimate NL teams like the Giants (defending champs) or the Phillies (foolish pitching rotation.)
The season is a marathon, not a sprint. There is no question the Rockies are off on the right root, but there are 154 game left. A lot can happen in a season. There will be peaks and there will be valleys. The more peaks the better, especially for a team named after a mountain range.
Next up is four games against the New York Mets, Let’s see is the Rockies can stay on this hungry pace, and take a bite out of the Big Apple.
– By Zach Cohn