Thursday, August 12, 2010

Rockies Win Behind Mora Slam

Melvin Mora, with one swing of the bat, showed what he thought of the Rockies inability to score runs on the road.

He lined a 2-2 pitch with two outs deep to left field that had just enough distance to get over the high wall of Citi Field for a grand slam. The blast propelled the Rockies to a 6-2 victory over the Mets and a chance to go home with the first winning road trip of the season. Mora, essentially the 25th man on the Rockies roster, effectively ended the Rockies scoring drought on the road.

The win helped the Rockies keep pace in both the National League West race as well as the wild card.

The honest truth about the win was that it probably was just as much of a surprise to the team as it was to the fans watching at home. When Jeff Francis gave up two runs in the first inning, it looked as if the Rockies were hopeless. Dejected looks filled the team's faces. Things are bad when a two run first inning lead seems to be enough for the opponent.

However, an inning after Chris Iannetta took a great at bat that lead to a sacrifice fly to plate the Rockies first run, Mora showed why the Rockies have the deepest bench in baseball.

Although he has struggled defensively, Mora has been a force at the plate for the Rockies all season long. His grand slam improved his batting average with the bases loaded to .750 (6-for-8). While Mora's .281 batting average may not look like anything special, digging deeper shows the true value of the player.

Mora is important to the team because he can be plugged in anywhere. If Todd Helton needs a day off and the Rockies are facing a lefty, Mora can play first base. If Ian Stewart is in a rut, Mora can play his natural position of third base. He has started games in left field and held his own, and has played second base, although the grade for that position is below average.

His ability to play nearly any position makes him easy to get into the lineup, but what keeps his name on the starting lineup is his approach at the plate. Mora simply does not give at bats away. Much like Jason Giambi, Mora takes a veteran approach to the batter's box. He has an idea of what a pitcher is trying to do to him and looks for a pitch to drive. He is not looking to hit the ball out of the park, but rather to find a way to put the ball in play and let good things happen.

The Rockies signed Mora for exactly what happened on Wednesday night. A team needs players who are mentally tough enough to not worry about the previous day's results, let alone the whole season's performance on the road. Not being able to score runs on the road is something that every Rockies player has been trying to figure out, but some seem to have brought it to the batters box with them. Mora simply believes in himself enough to know that he has the ability to get the job done.

He got the job done on Wednesday night.

If the Rockies had lost the game, coupled with the Giants win over the Cubs and the Padres win over the Pirates, it may have been time to write off the Rockies chances in 2010. Instead, the win puts a sliver of hope back into the minds of Rockies fans. With over six weeks to play in the season, the Rockies still have a chance to put together a run. However, they need to play nearly flawless baseball at home and pick up as many wins as possible on the road.

If, by some strange chance, the win on Wednesday turned around the road fortunes of this club, and they find a way to win a few series on the road, the Rockies could have a good chance at making a run at one of the routes to the playoffs. However, the run must start right away. This team cannot wait until September to get back into it.

For more on the Rockies visit RockiesReview.com

This article is also featured on INDenverTimes.com

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