Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Holliday Who? Rockies Have A New Set Of Superstars

The 2008 season was a disappointing one for the Colorado Rockies. First they won only 74 games in a feeble attempt to defend their National League Championship Then came the offseason. Just two weeks after the World Series, the Rockies shipped their best player, Matt Holliday, to the Oakland A's for a package that centered around a prospect who struggled with curveballs in Carlos Gonzalez.

Most Rockies fans were disappointed. They thought that that owners Dick and Charlie Monfort should have opened their wallets and paid whatever amount was necessary to keep a player of Holliday's stature in a Colorado uniform.

The front office insisted however, that Holliday could be replaced and that with a healthy Todd Helton and Troy Tulowitzki.

The impact player that everyone seemed to forgot about was Brad Hawpe.

Hawpe's impact has been incredible. After a 2-for-4 performance at the plate on Wednesday night, Hawpe's average sits at a robust .339. With his seventh inning home run on Wednesday, he now has nine home runs and 45 RBI's. His numbers are definitly worthy of All-Star consideration.

While Hawpe's overall numbers are impressive, it must be mentioned how well Hawpe is doing when it counts. Going into Wednesday, Hawpe is hitting a league-best .449 with runners in scoring position with 35 RBI's. With a runner on second base Hawpe is hitting an incredible .883 with 11 RBI's.

Those kinds of numbers are common after the first week of the season, not approaching mid-June. If Hawpe were playing on the East Coast, not only would Hawpe's numbers be worthy of him getting the starting nod for the National League in the All-Star Game in St. Louis, he would be getting all sorts of early MVP talk.

On Wednesday, Hawpe delivered again. He went 2-for-4 with an RBI double in the fifth inning. Then, in the seventh inning, with the Rockies desperate for an insurance run and two outs, Hawpe drove a ball off Brewers reliever Seth McClung to straight away center field. The ball hit about 30 feet in the air directly above the 400 ft sign in dead center field. The insurance run was the final run scored in the Rockies 4-2 come-from-behind victory.

The run was huge for the Rockies, allowing them to pitch differently to the big hitters in the lineup in the bottom half of the eighth inning.

While Matt Holliday is in Oakland hitting .279 and looking to get traded from his last place team, Hawpe has the Rockies on the rise, and has fans forgetting about the power hitting left fielder.

The performance of Jorge De La Rosa should not go unmentioned. De La Rosa pitched six innings, giving up two runs on four hits while walking four and striking out eight. The key for De La Rosa was that he battled. De La Rosa has amazing talent, but has had a difficult time battling his inner demons.

Wednesday seemed to be a huge hurdle jumped for De La Rosa. He battled through the difficult innings, and after allowing a double to Ryan Braun and Prince Fielder, he was able to battle back and pitch well throughout the remaining innings that he pitched.

The Rockies win extended their streak to seven games, getting them within five games of .500.

Colorado goes for their second sweep in a row on Thursday at 12:05 Mountain Time. There is no local TV for those in Colorado.

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