Colorado Rockies Must Finish 2016 Strong to Build for 2017
I was there on August 5. I was there the night the Colorado Rockies season took a turn for the worst.
On that night, in stunning fashion, the Miami Marlins came from behind in the ninth inning to win at Coors Field. In what was being billed as one of the most important series for the Rockies in years, what thin air there is at Coors (right, national media?) left LoDo as the Marlins turned what looked to be a sure Rockies win into a gut-wrenching defeat.
Since that time, the Rockies have struggled mightily. After that loss, the Rockies were 10-14 the rest of August. In September, Colorado is just 4-5.
Sure, they’ve had their moments. Winning series at home against the Chicago Cubs, Washington Nationals and Los Angeles Dodgers are things to build upon for the future. However, losing a series at home against the Arizona Diamondbacks and getting swept on the road by the Milwaukee Brewers and Philadelphia Phillies sucks every bit of momentum away.
Look at that loss to the Marlins and you’ll see that that’s the night the Wild Card dream unraveled for the Rockies. It was also the night that the end of this season began.
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With All-Stars like Nolan Arenado, Charlie Blackmon, DJ LeMahieu and Carlos Gonzalez meshed with budding talent like David Dahl, Raimel Tapia and Tom Murphy, the opportunity is there for the Rockies to build toward next season. The Rockies should be very good in 2017, but it’s key for the team to finish 2016 strong to build momentum for what could be a playoff run next year.
However, that’s just not happening right now.
Colorado simply can’t beat the teams they should be able to beat this season. That’s been one of the most maddening things about the season. It continued to be a problem in San Diego as the Padres bashed Colorado on Thursday then used former Colorado starter Christian Friedrich to win again on Saturday night.
It’s bad enough to lose to a team you should beat. It’s even worse when that team uses a pitcher you let go to do it.
With the plethora of talent on the roster, stumbling toward the finish line isn’t what Colorado should be doing. It’s also not a good sign for Colorado manager Walt Weiss, who continues to be unsure of his future with the team. With his contract situation in the air, Weiss needs to show he can get the most out of his team now. Many of the pieces on this year’s team are the same ones that will be on the Colorado roster when the 2017 season begins.
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Weiss and his team need to show that they’re ready to take that next step and seize the opportunity ahead of them. As the days of the 2016 season wind down, they’ve been unable to do that. It’s a troubling sign … and it’s also a sign that change may be needed in the offseason for the Rockies to actually take that next step and be real contenders.