Despite winning four of their past five games, something seemed off with the Colorado Rockies. The offense was not able to pour the runs on as they had done all season long, and the pitching was not nearly as crisp.
On Sunday, however, the Rockies dismantled the undisciplined Diamondbacks to complete a three-game sweep and move the Rockies two games ahead of the Giants in the NL Wild Card race.
The win was another chapter in the coming out party for left fielder Seth Smith.
Smith launched a two-run home run in the first inning to start the scoring for the Rockies, then a three-run shot that wrapped around the right field foul pole and landed in the second deck. It was Smith's first ever multi-homer game of his young career.
The 26 year-old is quickly becoming a force in the Rockies run for the post season. In the three game series against Arizona, Smith racked up nine hits, including four doubles and three home runs. He totaled nine RBI's in the series. Since August 18th Smith's batting average has risen from .291 to .317. He is almost single-handily carrying the Rockies on his shoulders.
Besides Smith's performance, the pitching in the game looked like your average little league game.
Neither team could find the strike zone. The two teams combined to walk 19 batters and hit two with a pitch. Rockies starter Jorge De La Rosa was able to pick up his 14th win of the season, but it was another shaky performance. He was able to work out of jams created by a lack of throwing strikes.
De La Rosa was not happy with the strike zone of rookie home-plate umpire Mike Muchlinski. In the fifth inning, after De La Rosa walked the bases loaded, the lefty threw his arms in the air as if to question what he had to do to get a strike called. It was a flashback to the De La Rosa of old who would implode when an umpire did not give him calls or he gave up a few hits. It was a pivotal moment for the Rockies with the team leading 6-1 a big hit could have changed the whole game.
Instead, De La Rosa showed his maturity and got the next hitter to ground out to Troy Tulowitzki to end the threat.
After Smith was done with his dominance, the Rockies had won the game 13-5, completing the sweep and heading into Monday's game with the Reds with confidence that they could beat the teams that they needed to get a lead before heading into San Francisco in a week and a half.
The Rockies will need more performances like this. Their pitching has been showing signs of tiring, along with an offense that is full of slumping hitters that fueled their hot streak in June and July, namely Clint Barmes and Brad Hawpe.
In baseball there is no denying that it takes a whole team to win a pennant and the Rockies are looking to prove that. When their top hitters are struggling, others such as Seth Smith and Carlos Gonzalez must do everything that they can do to win games for their team.