I woke up this morning and literally did not know what to do with myself. The Rockies won! Again. For the second time in a row. They won a series. They won the opening series of the season against a really good Brewers team. I can’t hide my excitement; this was way more than I expected.
By the way, Keith Law has got to be worried. “2 wins already? Crap. I really thought I nailed it this time guys…”. Even one of the Rockies’ Denver Post beat writers, Patrick Saunders, expressed disbelief at Law’s logic. Patrick…. I know. I know. This is my rationale for Keith: He is a self-professed food critic, boardgamer, and heavy reader. Oh and he worked for the Blue Jays front office for 4 years. He knows a lot about being a loser so he must have thought he had an inside line on the Rox. Either that or the Rockies must have burned him on a job offer. I digress.
Rockies Nation we are over .500 for this first time in nearly one whole, long, excrutiating year. So how does that feel? What are you most impressed by so far? What hurst the most? Let me tell you what is on my mind after these first 3 games.
Apr 2, 2013; Milwaukee, WI, USA; Milwaukee Brewers second baseman Rickie Weeks (23) is forced out at second base as Colorado Rockies shortstop Josh Rutledge (14) completes a double play in the first inning at Miller Park. Mandatory Credit: Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports
The Pitching: The 2013 Rockies pitching staff is off to a strong start. The starting rotation that everyone deemed to be horrible has actually been holding up quite nicely. A top notch start by Chacin on opening day was spoiled, but both Jorge and Juan held up their end of the deal. I don’t know if anyone could complain much about the starters. I sure can’t. The complaint on pitching for me comes in the use of the bullpen. Rex Brothers made his second straight appearance yesterday, Wilton Lopez has two games under his belt too, and it just seems we are using a lot of arms early. I am not sure there is a reasonable alternative; I just hope that we don’t get to July and have a ton of fatigue. If nothing else at least we have a small supply of pitchers in Colorado Springs we could pull up if needed. What started as a big question mark for the starting rotation has now turned into a gigantic question mark around the bullpen… I suppose as the starters get more comfortable and (hopefully) more confident and head deeper into games, we should see some relief for the relievers.
The Hitting: We all knew it could happen. Everyone that has followed these players know they are great hitters. But even I was impressed last night when the makeshift lineup of Pacheco, Young, & Brignac were major contributors. Whenever a manager can give regular guys a day of rest and still get production, you have something special going on. Cargo was barely robbed of his third home run on a spectacular over-the-wall catch, and Troy Tulowitzki continued his hot start. The Rockies hit 8 home runs in that opening 3 game series, and I can’t think of any reason that would slow down. The off-season hire of Dante Bichette as hitting coach has lit a fire under these guys. Sure, there will be slumps. But it is very encouraging to see the bats this live at this early point of the season. Dexter Fowler had his second knock of the year last night too, and Michael Cuddyer is playing out of his mind. He just looks pissed every time he steps to the plate — his two-run homer off Milwaukee closer John Axford was one of those “I’m gonna knock the cover off this ball” type swings. Which brings me to my last thought…
The Attitude: The attitude of these Rockies is a vicious mix of pissed off and pure business. Last night every time they showed the dugout there wasn’t laughing and joking, special handshakes, or players jawing around. No it was suprisingly, intensely focused. Firm handshakes, this is how we do our business, now go back out and do it again. I love it. The effort so far this year has been incredible. From Cuddyer’s diving catch and double-play hustle, to Cargo’s multiple outfield assists… this whole team is here to play. Kudos to the coaching staff because they have these guys more focused on a task and goal than any other Rockies team in recent history. Every player, including Carlos Gonzales (which shocked me) is hustling down the first base line. Have you noticed that? Every player is sprinting to first base. To me this new attitude is the most interesting aspect of this team. They didn’t come out on Monday and whimsically play an opener like “Oh, well, we have 162 of these…”. They played with passion, they played with heart, they played with pride. I hope that is the new baseline for Rockies baseball. A chip-on-your-shoulder attitude can get you a long way. A little luck doesn’t hurt either.
It is a long season, and I am cautious not to get too excited. There will be ebbs and flows just like any other season. But what I saw out of this Rockies team over the past 3 days gives me hope that we will not be disappointed in this team come September.