Colorado Rockies get much-needed win before leaving Kansas City
By Kevin Henry
If someone had told you before the season began that Pat Valaika would arguably provide one of the biggest moments of the season for the Colorado Rockies, would you have believed them?
If you know Valaika and how he has impressed Rockies coaches throughout his time in the organization, you might say yes. However, there has been little about this Rockies team in recent weeks that could be expected, including Valaika’s two-run homer in the top of the eighth on Thursday that gave the Rockies a 3-2 road win over the Kansas City Royals.
That blast down the left field line might not have only saved the Rockies from getting swept at the hands of the Royals. It might have also given them the kickstart they need to push into the postseason.
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Sure, there is still a month left in the regular season and a lot of baseball to played. However, had the Rockies been swept in Kansas City after suffering by far one of its roughest losses of the night on Wednesday night at the hands of the Royals, it might have been a loss that could have lasted throughout the rest of the campaign.
However, Valaika came through at the plate. And Greg Holland, after being brutalized after serving up a walkoff three-run homer on Wednesday night, reverted back to early season Greg Holland on Thursday.
Relievers must have a short memory, and it’s apparent that Holland does. On Thursday, he needed just seven pitches to retire the Royals in order in the ninth and record his 36th save of the season.
Greg Holland pitching like Greg Holland is what the Rockies need right now. However, he wasn’t the only member of the bullpen to show their best stuff against the Royals on Thursday. Adam Ottavino and Mike Dunn each threw a scoreless inning, with Dunn striking out the side in the eighth to set the table for Holland.
These are the types of performances the Rockies are going to need to not only make it to the postseason, but also be a legitimate threat to advance past a one-game Wild Card playoff.
Next: Examining Colorado's recent offensive struggles
A clutch hit and solid bullpen effort in one game doesn’t mean it’s going to be like that every game. However, less than 15 hours after a brutal loss, it shows that, contrary to the opinions of Rockies Twitter, the sky is indeed not falling in Denver.