Sunday, June 13, 2010

Spilborghs carries Rockies to sweep

This is why everyone thought the Rockies would be so good.

On Sunday afternoon at a dreary Coors Field, Ryan Spilborghs led Colorado to a 10-3 win over the Blue Jays, completing a three-game sweep.

Spilborghs completed perhaps the best weekend in his career by going 3-for-5 with a triple and two home runs. The Santa Barbara, CA native raised his average over .50 over the three game set, finishing with a .291 mark. Spilborghs is a large reason the Rockies won Friday night's game, getting the Rockies started with a home run, and then again on Sunday with his slugging.

Like Jason Hammel's performance from Saturday night, Spilborghs' performance goes a long way to ensure the confidence of the Rockies. So much of the expectations placed upon this 2010 Rockies squad centered around their depth, yet much of the focus has been on the struggles of the everyday starters.

Spilborghs is the Rockies fifth outfielder. He is a guy who can play the corner outfield positions and usually gets a start when the team is facing a tough lefty. That means he usually finds his name in the lineup about once a week. It's tough to stay sharp when only getting four or five at bats a week.

A performance like Spilborghs' on Sunday was exactly what the Rockies were hoping they would get from their bench. Most clubs have guys who are essentially defensive replacements on their bench. They might have a guy who comes in and hits in the late innings when the team needs a home run threat. Rarely, however, does a team have a guy like Spilborghs who plays solid defense, has a good arm and also takes a great approach at the plate.

Having a player like Spilborghs gives the Rockies a feeling that they can give any one of their starting outfielders a day off if their legs are getting tired or if they fall into a slump and not really miss a beat.

Usually when a team gives a guy a day off they are sacrificing either a good bat or a good defender. With the option to go to Spilborghs, the Rockies don't have to sacrifice much, if anything when it comes to the performance on the field. If the Rockies can climb their way back into the race, it could go a long way for them to be able to rest some of their regulars and not miss a beat.

It should be interesting to see if these Rockies are able to crawl back into the race. They seem to go about things differently than most teams. Most teams would take a 4-3 homestand, but the the way the Rockies got to 4-3 is what is interesting. They dropped three-out-of-four to the lowly Astros, but then figured out a way to sweep a good Blue Jays team to make the homestand acceptable. If the Rockies could have taken one more from the Astros, the homestand would have gone a long way in jump starting a team that has not yet hit their stride.

The Rockies take a day off before heading to Minnesota to take on the Twins in a three-game series at their new ballpark, Target Field. If they can find a way to take two-of-three from the Twins, they can head back home in a very good spot.

At some point, the Rockies will find themselves consistently playing like they did on Sunday. When that happens the hope for Colorado is that the club can be close enough in the National League West to make a run at the division title.

For more on the Rockies visit RockiesReview.com

This article is also featured on INDenverTimes.com


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