If this is a dream, don't wake the Rockies up.
After crushing the Angels 11-1 on Monday night in Anaheim the Rockies improved their road winning streak to nine straight games. They have now won 17 out of their last 18 ball games, which conjures up memories of the stretch run in 2007, propelling the Rockies to the World Series.
Aaron Cook became the Rockies all-time winning est pitcher after shutting down the Angels. He has now won 59 games in a Rockies uniform, one more than Jason Jennings. Cook pitched seven strong innings, giving up only three hits, walking two and striking out four. His only blemish was a fourth inning home run off the bat of Kendry Morales. It is obvious when Cook is on his game, the opponent is pounding the ball into the ground. On Monday Cook induced 13 ground ball outs.
Cook is not the only one setting records.
The Rockies as a team have now won nine straight games on the road, a franchise record. They have now won 17 games in June, that also is a franchise record. The fact that the team is setting records for wins in a month on the 22nd of the month is indicative of what kind of run this is.
It is difficult to give credit to a single member of this team for the run. While the usual suspects, Todd Helton and Brad Hawpe have delivered their fair share of the time, the winning attitude is oozing from every member.
On Monday it was Seth Smith's turn to shine.
Smith was inserted in the designated hitter's slot and put in the nine-hole. Jim Tracy said that he did not want to mix things up in the lineup simply because of a DH, so Smith hit ninth.
The pinch-hitter extraordinaire showed that he can be successful with more than just one at bat a night. Smith had his first career four RBI night. In the second inning he laced a ball into left field to score two, then in the sixth inning he put the barrel on a ball and gave a souvenir to the fans in the right field seats. He almost made it five RBI's when he launched another ball deep to right field. The ball fell about five feet shy of the fence, but was good enough for a sacrifice fly.
While Smith did his part, it did not mean that Brad Hawpe took a day off.
Hawpe, celebrating his 30th birthday, continued his impressive season. After going two straight games without a hit, Hawpe showed that he was not in a slump. The lefty went 2-for-4 with a three-run home run that essentially put the game away in the fifth inning. It was his 53rd RBI of the season.
This team is finding ways to win every night, but the fact is, the starting pitching is carrying the team through this streak. The offense has won it's share of games, but the confidence that the offense has is a direct reflection of the pitcher's performances.
Baseball is an odd sport because so much success depends on individuals making plays to help a team succeed. No one on the team can aid in that success when it is an individuals turn in the spotlight. However, momentum is contagious on a baseball team.
If a starting pitcher goes out and has a great outing, the next's days pitcher feels like they can also have a good outing. It also brings confidence to the men at the plate because they do not feel that they are going to have to score seven runs to win a game. They can go up to the plate knowing that if they can get a run here or a run there than they will be able to win a game.
Numbers and stats can be analyzed and theories can be presented as to why this Rockies team continues to win, but the answer is simple.
This team is full of talent.
Not only is the lineup good from top to bottom, their is so much depth that guys like Smith who would start on several teams in the league can come off the bench.
The starting pitching is one of the best rotations in the league. Cook was an All-Star last season, and has an incredible sinker, Ubaldo Jimenez is learning how to be a pitcher and is refining his ability to throw 98 MPH. Jason Marquis is showing why he has won 11 or more games in five straight seasons, and Jason Hammel and Jorge De La Rosa are holding their own on the back end of the rotation.
Whatever the reasons, this Rockies team continues to win. The 11 game winning streak could have been passed off as simply a streak of luck, but after losing one game and winning the next six in a row, the Rockies are showing that they are no fluke. This team has incredible ability, and right now, they are the most feared team in Major League Baseball.