By Vincent Conroy-Villarreal @mconroy2u , AAV Sports
DENVER, Colo. (August 3, 2016)- With the Rockies winning the first bout in their three game stretch against their hated division rival the Los Angeles Dodgers, the Mile High based ballclub has increased their post All-Star Game cumulative record to 13-5. This mark is good for second-best in baseball and has the Rockies sitting just three and half games back in the National League Wild Card Race. After choosing not to be either buyers or sellers at the trade deadline earlier this week, the Rockies seem to be content with the roster they have assembled up to this point. Disappointed or not with the decision, it seems that general manager Jeff Bridich has finally assembled a team (along with a winning identity) that can bring consistent success.
The days of the Rockies being most recognized by the general public as the Blake Street Bombers seems to be a forgone conclusion. For the last half-decade, Colorado has been a punchline for describing a sporting catastrophe. With fans and local media alike revolting against the Monfort ownership, it was hard to imagine a team with so much offensive talent ever sniffing the playoffs again. Hell, the only good thing coming out of Coors Field was the late night orange sunsets that served as the prelude for things to come for Denver sporting faithful. Football season was on the near horizon.
The Troy Tulowitzki era has been dropped like a bad habit and the fact that Todd Helton is no longer in the argument of being the best player the Rockies ever selected thanks to Nolan Arenado‘s development into of the most gifted third basemen in the last 15 years, points that for once the Colorado Rockies are no longer living in the past. Perhaps for at least this year, the Rockies are finally a team that has balance from their bullpen to the boys running the day-to-day operations upstairs. Perhaps this team will no longer be recognized for its organizational dysfunction. It is paramount to understand that the Rockies internally believe that this roster can win. Not just now, but in the future as well. It’s why neither CF Charlie Blackmon nor OF Carlos Gonzalez was traded at the deadline. Perhaps if the Rockies were in this position a year ago, Tulo would still be on the roster. But good management doesn’t make moves or trade away its greatest assets if it doesn’t beleive it can’t contend.
This year, the Rockies can contend. Perhaps by either an extreme amount of luck or by a stroke of managerial genius by Walt Weiss, the Rockies are about ready to become good. Pennant winner good in my opinion. Take notice, this home game series against the Dodgers is huge. Without question, it is the biggest homestand for Colorado since the 2010 season. After years of being dumpster dwellers in the National League West, the Rockies seemed to have found new life largely because of their pitching success. This type of pitching success from the Rockies is as rare as the air found at 5,280 feet. Buy and large, it’s not the offensive production that has the Rockies at .500 at this point in the season, it’s the pitching.
Pitching efforts from John Gray (8-4), Logan Boone, and the Rockies’ extraordinary farm system, has the team winning in ways never found before. In July the Rockies won 15 games which tied the club record set in the 2009 season. Coincidentally that year was the last time the club made the playoffs. A youth movement in the pitching department has translated to Colorado owning 56 quality starts from pitchers. Last year for the entire season, Rockies pitchers rounded up only 54. Pitching has made an indescribable difference this year and it’s obviously showing in the record book. But with every good bit of news, there is always a shred of bad news which could severely alter the season.
With news filtering to AAVSports earlier today, it seems that rookie sensation SS Trevor Story is set to missed the remainder of the season for the Rockies with a torn ligament in his left thumb. Story so far this season set an NL shortstop rookie record with 27 homeruns this season paralleled with a .272 batting average and 72 RBIs compiled. This loss his huge but there is a shred of hope that he could possibly return for the post-season. In light of today’s news, the Rockies have recalled infielder Rafeal Ynoa from Triple-A Albuquerque. In his career, Ynoa has a posted a batting average .282, but has lacked consisted power to drive the ball out of the ballpark. Weiss also reported earlier today that 1B Daniel Descalso will also fill in the void left by Story. By all accounts, Descalso is having a career year with Colorado and should theoretically fill in the talent gap. While releasing Jose Reyes was the correct move the franchise to make, maybe the Rockies should have explored every option prior to the transaction. Granted, Reyes was a makeshift player added to the Tulo Deal in order to Toronto to absorb Tulowitzki’s contract, but a player of his caliber would be a fine addition in the lineup with Story set to miss the remainder of the regular season.
Injuries is nothing new to the Rockies, considering the franchise has been plagued drastically by them over the last five years. But with health, offensive fire power, and now pitching all in the Rockies corner for the 2016 season, perhaps they can make some noise this fall. With the Giants stumbling and the Dodgers losing Clayton Kershaw for an extended period of time due to injury, the Rockies’ opportunity is now. The organization won’t get a better opportunity than this. I love the fall but since 2007 and 2009, every single one of them has had something missing. It is a long season and a lot can go wrong, but based on precedent, the Rockies are headed in the right direction. As a fan, I am happy for this team. It feels like finally management has got everything sewn together.This team has an identity and a clear direction on where the franchise wants to be in the near future. They may just simply be .500 ballclub right now, but I believe in Mile High Magic. I believe in Rocktober. The Rockies will make the postseason, mark my words.