Friday, September 17, 2010

Colorado Rockies provide drama, but beat Dodgers

The good news is, Matt Kemp still can't hit a slider off of the plate.

With the tying run at first base and Huston Street in trouble, catcher Miguel Olivo wisely called a slider away on a 2-2 count. Kemp waved at it and the Rockies had won the all-important first game of the three game series with the Dodgers 7-5.

The win gives Ubaldo Jimenez his 19th win of the season, despite not having his best stuff once again. The Dominican labored through 6-1/3 innings, giving up four runs on six hits. He struck out six and walked three. The line wasn't that bad, but it was not the Ubaldo Jimenez that the Rockies have seen the majority of the season.

The term "must-win" is thrown around all the time. Often times the term is used when it really isn't true. If there was a time to use that term, Friday night was it for the Rockies.

Both the Giants and the Padres were defeated on Friday night, meaning the Rockies had a chance to move to within one game of the Padres and a game and a half of the Giants. It would be easy to argue that since those teams lost, a Rockies loss would mean that they didn't lose any ground, which of course would be true. However, not losing ground is a term that teams do not want to hear with 16 games to go in a season.

The fact is, the Rockies must take advantage of opportunities when both of the teams in front of them fail to pick up a win. With the Giants playing a plethora of games at home, the Rockies cannot afford to leave games that they need to win on the table.

After the win on Friday, the Rockies are sporting a four-game winning streak on the road.

With 15 games to go and nine of them on the road, the Rockies must find a way to win at least nine more games. If they can somehow get to 90-72, they are going to be in a good position to make the postseason. If a team wins 90 games and doesn't get into the playoffs, a tip of the cap goes to the team that won more than they did.

The Rockies are more than capable of going 9-6 down the stretch. They have two games left in LA, then they move on to Arizona, a team in which they swept last weekend at Coors Field. If they are able to find a way to get three more wins on the current road trip, they should be in a good position.

If this club can find a way to win both series on the roadtrip, they will be in a position in which they do not need to sweep the Giants, they need to win the series.

With the goal of winning 90 games total, the Rockies do not need to sweep any series, they can take two-of-three in each series and then split the four game set in St. Louis to end the season and they will be there.

Looking ahead, however, will get the Rockies in trouble. If they want to win their first ever National League West title they need to do one thing...win the game that they are playing in that day. It is another old cliche that is thrown around far too often, but it also applies to this Rockies club.

On Saturday the Rockies face John Ely. They put Jhoulys Chacin on the mound. It is a game that the Rockies should be able to win. A win on Saturday would allow the club to go out and not have to press for a win against Clayton Kershaw, a tough lefty who has owned the Rockies throughout his young career.

The Rockies are in a good position, they are breathing down the necks of the teams in front of them, which puts quite a bit of pressure on them. The Giants know that if they don't win, they are going to be in a tough spot. The Padres know that if they do not win, they are most likely going to lose a game to either the Rockies or Giants.

For those looking to watch the Rockies game on television on Saturday, you are out of luck. The FOX Saturday game of the week rules say that any game played at the same time as the nationally broadcast game, that game will be blacked out. Unfortunately for Rockies fans, radio is the only option for Saturday's game.

For more on the Rockies visit RockiesReview.com

This article is also featured on INDenverTimes.com

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