Through the first 20 games of the season, the Rockies were the best team in baseball. Without hitting on all cylinders, the team was finding ways to win and bringing hope to a fan base that has watched the team struggle out of the gate in four straight seasons.
The next 20 games, however, were the exact opposite of the first 20 games. The Rockies couldn't find a way to win games. Their prized offense struggled to hit the ball against even the most pedestrian starters. On the few occasions that the offense did succeed, the defense or bullpen failed.
What we know through 40 games is this. The Rockies are not going to be a .500 team. They are going to either play really well, or really poorly, depending on which way the momentum swings.
Part of the reason for the swings has to be due to the up-and-down play of Troy Tulowitzki and Carlos Gonzalez. When those guys are getting on base, the team is scoring runs and winning games. When those guys struggle at the plate, the rest of the lineup can't seem to pick up the slack.
If this team is subject to big swings, then it is important for them to make the most of their hot streaks. That means not being worried about who their opponent is.
Case in point comes on Wednesday, as the Rockies travel to Philadelphia to play the much-hyped Phillies. The Rockies are coming off of a huge two-game sweep of the Giants. In May, there will never be two bigger games than the Rockies played to begin the week.
The Rockies must not have a let down following a big series with the Giants. They must use the wins as a spring board to launch them into the latest hot streak that gives them some breathing room once again in the National League West.
If they suffer a hangover from the series, they are in danger of another crippling road trip much like they suffered in Arizona and San Francisco two weeks ago.
The fact is, championship teams find ways to win against good teams. They don't worry about who is taking the mound for the opposition. Winning teams have a swagger and a confidence that it doesn't matter who the other team is, that they are good enough to beat them on any given night, regardless of the pitcher on the mound.
If the Rockies want to take the next step and become a contender, rather than just a team that has the potential to get hot, then they must find a way to win on the road, and they must not be intimidated by big-name teams and big-name pitchers.
The good news for the Rockies in Philadelphia is that they don't have to face Cliff Lee or Roy Halladay. They face lefty Cole Hamels, who the Rockies have handled in the past, and right-hander Joe Blanton, who is the "other guy" in a highly touted rotation.
The Rockies need to find a way to keep the bats going and pick up some wins on a tough road trip.