The Colorado Rockies had a chance to move within half of a game of the lead in the National League West.
In the 4th inning, the Rockies were staked to a 6-1 lead. They had finally found a way to get to Clayton Kershaw. Scoring two runs against the ace of the Dodgers would have been quite the feat, scoring six in four innings off of him constituted a minor miracle.
The game just had that feel to it.
After the Rockies scored six runs, it was like the offense packed it in. The sense of urgency that the team has been playing with for two weeks was suddenly gone. When suddenly-struggling starting pitcher Jason Hammel started to falter, the Rockies were already in cruise mode.
It would be easy to lay blame on many people in this game. Jim Tracy, who failed to have Eric Young Jr. bunt when Ryan Spilborghs led off the 11th inning with a walk. Hammel could be blamed for failing to put his foot down when the game was his to lose. Even Paul Phillips could be blamed. His failure to find a Jay Gibbons strikeout in the dirt allowed him to go to first. The Dodgers scored three runs in the same inning, all with two outs.
Regardless of whose fault it is, the fact is, the Rockies needed this game.
Heading into Los Angeles, the idea was to win two out of three. In fact, most would have thought that it would be incredible for the Rockies to be able to get two of the games at a stadium where they have looked like the Dodgers little brothers for the better part of the past four years.
The problem is, the Rockies had the Dodgers on the brink of a sweep. They were winning 6-1. They had beaten Kershaw and they were cruising. Allowing the Dodgers to crawl back into the game was devastating.
Had the Rockies completed the sweep, they could have gone into Arizona knowing that even if they faltered and only won one game, they still would have had a successful roadtrip. Now, however, the Rockies are forced to go into another venue in which they have struggled and find a way to pick up a series win.
The loss may come back to haunt the Rockies. Regardless of who or where the Rockies are playing, they are in a race against time. They need to win as many games as possible before October 3rd. Having wins snatched out of their grasp like Sunday's are devastating.
By no means are the Rockies done. They still sit just 1.5 games out of the National League West race. They are more than capable of outplaying the Padres and the Giants the rest of the way home, but it would have been quite a bit better to be ahead of the Padres and barely behind the Giants.
What the season may end up coming down to is the three game series against the Giants at Coors Field next weekend. Regardless of what the Rockies do against the Diamondbacks, they are going to have to find a way to win two of the three games.
Looking ahead at the schedule fate would have it that the Rockies are scheduled to face Tim Lincecum, Barry Zito and Matt Cain during those three games. With Jeff Francis forced to take the hill for the Rockies on Sunday, going out and winning on Friday and Saturday will go a long way for the Rockies postseason chances.
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