Friday, July 8, 2011

Colorado Rockies break losing streak with Hammel's fine performance

The Colorado Rockies have been a major failure by anyone's definition. They have disappointed in nearly every aspect of the game.

However, as they look forward to the All-Star break, the Rockies are in desperate need of a few wins to at least hold a whisper of a chance in the National League West race. They already may have played themselves out of the race, but they can ensure that with a series loss in Washington.

On Friday though, the Rockies showed some fight. Jason Hammel, one of several Rockies pitchers who simply hasn't looked like himself lately, pitched extremely well.

Sporting a new approach on the mound, raising his hands above his head on the turn out of the windup, the lanky right hander threw 6-1/3 innings, giving up five hits and two runs. He walked two and struck out three.

With both Carlos Gonzalez and Troy Tulowitzki out due to injury, it really wasn't a huge surprise to many people that the Rockies left Atlanta without a win. The Braves pitching staff is the most underrated in baseball, and as Freddie Freeman proved, they have a good lineup that might be good enough to sneak up on the Phillies.

With four games already dropped on the seven game road trip, the Rockies were in danger of hitting the break in a position that no one would have ever imagined after they started out 11-2.

If the Rockies can find a way to win all three against the Nationals, they could salvage an otherwise terrible road trip, finish the first half with some momentum, and at least give themselves a shot at going on a second half run and staying in the race. It would also put them just three games under .500 and in a position to get back to the even mark and go from there as the second half gets going.

That is very positive thinking at this point. The reality is, it is going to be very tough for the club to overtake the Giants in the National League West. San Francisco might not be that talented at the plate, but they have a starting rotation and a bullpen that will put them in a position to win games 1-0 and 2-1. When teams win games like that consistently, they are hard to overtake in the standings. It means that they find ways to win games that they don't play particularly well. They also have the ability to win against other team's aces.

If the Rockies want even a whisper of a hope, they must gain some momentum going into the break.

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