Thursday, July 22, 2010

Tough Road Ahead For Rockies

Ricky Nolasco is not an easy pitcher to beat.

For the Rockies, however, winning on Wednesday night was a big deal. The reason? Starting on Thursday the Rockies face Josh Johnson, then Roy Halladay in Philadelphia on Friday, and there is a strong possibility that the club will be facing Roy Oswalt on Saturday.

All indications are pointing to the fact that the Phillies will acquire Oswalt in the next day or two and have him on the mound on Saturday.

Facing those three in order is the equivalent of facing a firing squad. Getting out alive is not a very realistic possibility.

Revert back to Wednesday and it Jason Hammel giving up five runs in the first two innings becomes an even bigger deal. The Rockies could play well and go into Sunday on a four-game losing streak. With the Padres refusing to lose and two teams in the Dodgers and Giants who will be in the thick of things at the end, could prove disastrous for the Rockies.

On Wednesday the Rockies were one Cody Ross catch away from stealing another victory. However, the center fielder caught Jason Giambi's blast that would have been a home run in nearly every other park in the league. Although the Rockies had the tying run at the plate in the 9th inning, Ross's catch essentially sealed the game for the Marlins.

What do the Rockies do? The only thing that they can do is have confidence that they are a good hitting team and when they get a pitch to hit, they need to drive the ball. With both Johnson and Halladay, they should not have to worry about working the counts. Both of those guys pound the strike zone with both their fastballs and their off speed pitches.

Somehow the Rockies need to find a way to scratch out at least one victory against the two pitchers that they are definitely going to be facing. From there they need to hope that complications come up in the Oswalt deal and require the Phillies and Astros to wait until after the weekend to finalize the deal.

It would seem that at some point the Padres are going to have a setback. Everyone is waiting for them to go away, but teams in first place can be a fluke in April or May, but first place teams in July and August are anything but a fluke. The Padres are a good team. If it were just the Padres, not being successful in the next few days may not be a horrible thing. However, with the Giants and Dodgers lurking, getting behind three teams may spell doom for a Rockies team that has the talent to win their first-ever division title.

This is an important stretch of games for the Rockies. They must find a way to play well, or it could be extremely costly.

For more on the Rockies visit RockiesReview.com

This article is also featured on INDenverTimes.com

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