When the Colorado Rockies defeated the San Diego Padres six times in the month of April on their way to a surprisingly hot start to the season, the refrain from skeptical fans and analysts alike went something like this:
It’s a long season. They will come crashing back to earth.
Whatever Jose Altuve. Whatever. Image: Thomas Campbell-USA TODAY Sports
Part of this sentiment, which borders on the cliche at this point, considers the fact that it is a really long season. There are way too many games to make any declarations based on a small sample of six games. The Rockies hoped that they would be able to make that stretch of victories matter in the long run, but we have to “let things play out” before we know anything. “Give it some time,” they say…
Like I said, that is a paragraph littered with the cliches of baseball analysis, and I would move to have them removed from our vocabulary if not for the fact that they are useful.
When it was hard to believe that the Rockies could actually be a good baseball team in 2013, we were reminded constantly that they still had plenty of time to “make up” for that good stretch (by losing games, that is). Browse national coverage, whether on TV or online, and you will likely see the continuation of that thought process. It might look something like this: “With the Rockies, who were one of the biggest surprises all season, we just kept waiting for the other shoe to drop. Now it’s finally happening.”
The reverse can apply too, though, and that is comforting after another ugly loss to the Houston Astros. The Rockies have plenty of time to make up for these horrendous losses. This time it was a blown lead and a 7-5 loss thanks to some suspect pitching from Juan Nicasio and Wilton Lopez. With that result the Rox dropped three out of four to the worst team in the American League. And really, the Astros aren’t just the worst team in the AL; they are a team so bad that it has drawn extra attention and debate as to what impact their “rebuilding” has on the rest of the league.
These losses sting, especially at Coors Field. If you are still looking for the moment when the Rockies lose a bunch of games and fall out of contention, you might see this as the moment when everything starts to unravel. On the other hand, you could apply all of the cliches used against the Rockies earlier in the season and now dispatch them in favor of the 28-26 ball club.
Good teams lose to bad teams; over the course of 162 games that is inevitable. There is a lot of season left. If the Rockies are truly a good team, they will find a way over the long haul of the season to make up for these losses. It is May 31st, so they have plenty of time to do just that. Let’s hope that is the case and that one of the crutches of baseball analysis will benefit the Rockies this time around.