Monday, June 22, 2009

Rockies Complete Best Homestand In History; Sweep Pirates

One thing is for sure, winning doesn't get old.

If there was a game in which the Rockies did not feel as confident taking the field, it was Sunday.

On the mound for the Rockies was Jorge De La Rosa. The lefty has the only Rockies loss in the last 17 games after getting rocked by the Rays just five days ago. De La Rosa is not the type of player to shake a bad start off and look forward to dominating in his next performance. In fact, the opposite could not be more true.

Fate, it seems, just happens to be on the Rockies side. After De La Rosa gave up three runs in the first two innings, the Rockies stormed back to tie it at three in the bottom of the second inning. The Rockies would add two more runs and win their fifth in a row, and 16th out of their last 17, 5-4.

The Rockies victory on Sunday came down to two words. Hustle and Luck.

In the bottom of the second inning with two outs, Clint Barmes hit a routine fly ball to second baseman Freddy Sanchez. Sanchez seemed to be fine until the last second, when it became apparent that he had lost the ball in the sun. Barmes, hustling the whole way, slid into second base with a fluke double. A ball that should have ended the inning scored a run for the Rockies and left a runner on second. The next batter, Ryan Spilborghs, roped a ball down the left field line to score Barmes. It tied the game for the Rockies and put the momentum back on their side.

De La Rosa was able to settle in, staying out of trouble until the sixth inning with two outs when he allowed two base runners and was lifted for Josh Fogg.

With De La Rosa beginning to show signs of struggling in the fifth inning, Adam LaRoche swatted a pitch that landed near the left field line. He dug for second but was thrown out after Ryan Spilborghs made an incredible throw to Barmes, waiting at second base. Spilborghs got an incredible read on the ball and was there to field it quickly, however, the throw was the remarkable part. He could not have put it in a better spot. The play helped De La Rosa make it through the fifth.

The bullpen did exactly what any manager could only hope for. Between Fogg, Randy Flores, Joel Peralta, and Huston Street, the bullpen pitched 3-1/3 hitless and walk-less innings, while striking out three batters to nail down the sweep for the Rockies.

When a team gets hot like the Rockies have been for the last two and a half weeks, it just seems that things start to fall into place for them. When an inning should have ended in the second, it was continued because of a pop-up lost in the bright sky.

When a double is turned into an out because a left fielder makes a tremendous throw and nails a runner at second base, there is no denying that things are falling in the Rockies favor.

On a day in which the two players who hit the game-tying home run in the eighth inning and the walk-off home run in the ninth are taking the day off and the weak link in the rotation gives up three runs in the first two frames, things are going well for a team.

There is no doubt that the Rockies had their fair share of luck on Sunday, but sometimes "luck" is what happens when a team starts to believe in themselves. The mentality is there that a play that needs to be made, will be made. When a clutch hit needs to happen, it will happen.

In baseball, often times people will point to luck as to why a team wins or a player does well. It just seems ironic that good teams seem to have more "luck" than bad teams.

During Colorado's magical run to the World Series in 2007 there was some of that same luck involved. When Helton hit his walk off home run against Takashi Saito and the Dodgers, it was the first home run Saito had given up all season. In fact, Matt Holliday, the Rockie standing on first base at the time, had just gotten the first hit of the season for the Rockies against Saito.

Later in the run, center fielder Cory Sullivan, playing only because Willy Taveras was out with an injury, threw a perfect strike to the plate to nail Jeff Kent trying to score on a base hit.

Sometimes "luck" happens to good teams. Sometimes good teams create their own luck. The Colorado Rockies are proving to themselves that they are a good team.

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