Colorado Rockies: .500 Mark Important Before All-Star Break

Jun 5, 2016; San Diego, CA, USA; The Colorado Rockies celebrate a 10-3 win over the San Diego Padres at Petco Park. Mandatory Credit: Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports
Jun 5, 2016; San Diego, CA, USA; The Colorado Rockies celebrate a 10-3 win over the San Diego Padres at Petco Park. Mandatory Credit: Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports /

On the day last of June, the Colorado Rockies sit at 37-41, 11 games behind the San Francisco Giants in the race for the National League West division lead. However, for now, catching the Giants might not be the Rockies’ goal. It’s a more attainable and important goal that is first and foremost in their minds as they start a six-game California road trip on Friday in Los Angeles.

Ask Colorado manager Walt Weiss what he’s pushing his club to reach for in the short term and the answer will be getting back to the .500 mark. The Rockies haven’t had as many wins as losses since they were 21-21 on May 21. They followed that with three straight losses in Pittsburgh and Boston and came home only to start a stretch that saw them lose seven out of eight games.

Since then, Colorado has righted the ship … but hasn’t been able to get back to .500. They’ve resembled Sisyphus of Greek tragedy lore. Push the rock to the top of the hill and almost get there before you lose control and it rolls back down.

Get to 32-33 and the Rockies drop three straight games in Miami. Get to 37-39 and lose two straight to Toronto.

It’s frustrating, but it doesn’t mean the goal isn’t there and that it isn’t important for the Rockies to get there.

“Yeah, I think .500 is totally a benchmark,” Weiss said. “You want to get there first and then go above and beyond. We’ve been flirting with it. We kinda close in on it and then lose a couple.

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“I think all things considered, some of the challenges we’ve had to deal with, and the fact we’re holding our ground and staying in there and in the mix, I feel good about that. At some point, we need to get there though.”

Injuries to pitchers and infielders (both of the All-Star and potential All-Star variety) have derailed some of Colorado’s hopes in recent days, but Weiss isn’t using that as an excuse … and neither are any of his players. It’s part of what he likes so much about the current clubhouse.

“I think it’s a testament to our guys and the culture in there,” Weiss said. “The guys never quit and they believe, I think moreso than they have in the past. We keep hanging in there. Like I’ve been saying all along, I truly believe this team is going to get better and better as the year goes on, contrary to what we’ve seen here in recent years. We’re getting ready to add some talented arms. I like the way we’re confronting challenges and fighting the way that we are. We’re holding our ground and I feel like there are some good days ahead.”

Those good days include the return of Trevor Story, DJ LeMahieu, Gerardo ParraTyler Chatwood, Chris Rusin, Jake McGee, Christian Bergman and Adam Ottavino. Mix that in with Jon Gray and Tyler Anderson impressing and maturing and the Rockies have plenty of reasons to believe very good things are ahead.

“There’s more belief than there’s been at this point in the season,” Weiss said about how this year felt different than the past. “I think we’re better on the mound than we have been recently, top to bottom. I think that has a lot to do with it. Our guys also don’t give in to any adversity.”

Yes, there’s much ahead for the Colorado Rockies. However, for now, it begins with reaching the .500 mark. With 10 games left before the All-Star break, a push is needed to get to that point and grab momentum heading into the Midsummer Classic.

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“.500 means a lot, especially when you’re scratching and clawing to get there,” Weiss said.

It also means a lot when you see what it’s taken for your team to get there … and what lies on the other side in what could be a potentially interesting second half for the Rockies.