It is no secret. The Colorado Rockies are not a very good April team.
They generally come out of the gate slow, then find their groove and work the rest of the season to get back into the race.
This April, however, is different. On Sunday, the Rockies beat the Pirates 6-5 to take three-out of-four from Pittsburgh. It would be easy to dismiss the series victory by saying that it was simply the lowly Pirates, a team destined to lose 90+ games.
However, this is different. In years past, a game like the Rockies played on Sunday would have ended up in the loss column. After being staked to a 4-0 lead after the first inning, Rockies starter Jhoulys Chacin stumbled. He struggled to find his control and before the third inning was over, the Rockies were losing 5-4.
In 2010, despite being down by just one run, the game would have the feel of being over. Generally, the road Rockies of 2010 had one or two innings in which they might scratch out a run or two, but then the bats went to sleep. A one-run deficit all too often seemed like it may as well have been a 10-run lead.
This Rockies team is different. Instead of backing down and hoping for better results the next day, content with a series tie, the Rockies kept battling.
In the seventh inning, the Rockies got to the Pirates. They worked counts and found ways to get on base. With Mike Crotta relieving James McDonald, Jason Giambi stroked a pitch to right field, scoring Dexter Fowler from first. Then Crotta walked three straight batters, the last of which came with Seth Smith at the plate and the bases loaded, giving the Rockies the final run that they would need to win the game.
The fact of the matter is, the Rockies are two timely hits away from being undefeated. They lost on Opening Day to the Diamondbacks in 11 innings. Then, on Friday, they lost in 14 innings to the Pirates.
Both losses came when the offense failed to come up with hits when men were in scoring position. Eight games into a season is far too early to crown a team, but the Rockies are certainly answering questions about how good they can be.
Instead of stumbling out of the gate, they have hit the ground running. That may be a result of moving to the Phoenix area for spring training, but it also may be a result of having more depth and talent on the club than ever before.
Whatever the reason, the Rockies and their fans will take it.
It is a refreshing change from the usual April that is spent digging a hole that takes the rest of the season to dig out of.
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