Where has this Rockies team been all season long?
The Colorado Rockies played another game on Saturday night that made Rockies fans wish they could push the reset button on the season. The Rockies scored in double digits for the third straight game, battering the Cardinals 10-1.
Ian Stewart gave a glimpse into the future, with a breakout performance that had even Cardinals manager Tony LaRussa in awe.
Stewart, looking more relaxed and confident at the plate, blasted two home runs, his fourth in as many games, finishing with three hits and five RBI's. His 11 home runs on the season leads the Rockies, and don't forget that he has not been an everyday player.
The potential has never been doubted with Stewart. He is a big man, with a bat that whips through the strike zone. He can hit the ball to all fields and cover the entire plate with his bat. Until this week, however, the results have been mixed. It seemed like a matter of time until Stewart broke through and became an impact player in the league.
That time has arrived for Stewart.
After striking out looking in his second at-bat of the night new manager Jim Tracy told him to remember that his bat is a weapon and to go up looking for chances to use the weapon. The motivation paid off with a huge night. Tracy will be hard pressed to leave Stewart on the bench any longer.
After the game, La Russa complimented Stewart's bat by saying that it is obvious that he has a very live bat. Coming from a manager who pencils in Albert Pujols' name onto a lineup card, and has done so with names like Mark McGwire and Jose Canseco on a regular basis, that is quite the compliment.
While Stewart stole the spotlight for the night, Aaron Cook's performance on the mound should not be forgotten. Just three wins shy of the Rockies record for most wins by pitcher, Cook threw eight solid innings, giving up only four hits, while striking out four, walking one and getting 15 ground ball outs. His only blemish was a sixth inning home run given up to Rick Ankiel.
The game was what most optimists have been waiting to see for two plus months of the 2009 season. Solid pitching from an ace who knows how to get ground ball outs, and a potent offense that finds ways to get big hits and score runs.
While it may be too late for the Rockies to dream about October baseball, the game gives the team optimism for the future.
The attitude on the field has been completely different over the three game winning streak. Instead of getting a lead and being content, only to watch the opponent jump ahead late in the game, the Rockies have decided to go for the throat. It is an attitude that the team had been searching for desperately in 2009 with no results.