Colorado Rockies Garnering Respect from “Experts”
The Colorado Rockies are off to a red-hot start, there is absolutely no arguing that. They have swept three series (if you want to count the shortened Mets matchup) and have won every series this season except for the debacle in the Bay Area. As a result, the team is getting some much deserved love from the baseball world with Monday morning power rankings putting the Rockies anywhere from #9 to as high as #4!
This is a huge step in a positive direction for a team that had little to no expectations. Everyone except for ESPN Insider Keith Law (yes, I am still pretty irate over his 53-win prediction) seemed to acknowledge that the Rockies had more than enough power on offense. The question has always been around the pitching, a topic that has been beaten into the ground. But it is this questionable pitching staff that is the reason for the early season success which has rebounded from its abysmal 2012 season and put up a very respectable 3.87 team ERA. Wait, only a 3.87 ERA?? That doesn’t even seem possible especially when you realize the pitching staff is nearly identical to last year’s rag-tag group. With the exception of Wilton Lopez, on whose shoulders lay sole responsibility of at least 2 of the 5 Rockies losses, the rotation and bullpen have been spectacular.
Apr 20, 2013; Denver, CO, USA; General view of the dugout at Coors Field for the Colorado Rockies before the start of the game against the Arizona Diamondbacks. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports
But let’s pump the brakes a little bit. Should we really pencil the 2013 Rockies into the playoffs at this point? No. Unfortunately it is unlikely that this group will hold together at this unbelievable winning clip and make a run a Rocktober… but you never say never in baseball. Just as the 2010 Diamondbacks proved, a fresh outlook in the clubhouse and a team with no expectations on their backs can succeed! However it is much more likely that this team will put up the 81-81 mark (or close) that most people, sans Mr. Law (seriously he really got under my skin), projected them at.The good news? Winning early builds confidence and confidence goes a long way in a 162-game season. This baseball team now is very, very aware of what it is capable of. The pitching staff, lead by a surprising ace in Jhoulys Chacin, see that they can hang with and even shutdown some great lineups. The free-swinging style of Dante Bichette has released the offense to explode over the century mark for runs scored in only 18 games. This Rockies squad knows the damage it can impose on another team.
The bad news? The Rox are only a month into the season and the bullpen has seen quite a bit of work — Betancourt not being available in yesterday’s loss to the Dbacks is just one example. Now with Chacin on the DL with a lower back strain, this pitching staff will have to work through its first taste of adversity.
All in all there isn’t one single fan of the Rockies or of baseball in general that could complain about a 13-5 start for the Colorado Rockies in 2013. After 18 games they are tied with the Atlanta Braves for the best record in baseball, and oh-by-the-way the Rox host the Braves for a 3-game set in Denver over the next few days (weather permitting). If you have a heavy coat and thick wool blanket then get out to Coors and enjoy the surprising success of a sprouting Rockies team. Now if only the weather would warm up so the trees could sprout leaves.
Here are links for the ESPN Power Rankings and MLB.com Power Rankings