Friday, July 22, 2011

Colorado Rockies finally decide to show up

It only took 99 games, but the Colorado Rockies finally arrived.

Maybe a bus swung by the Rockies Scottsdale spring training complex where they dumped the impostor Rockies and picked up the real guys.

Whatever it was, the Colorado Rockies that everyone expected to show up--the team that pitched well, hit in big situations, stole bases, and scored runs with two outs--that team finally showed up.

The reality is, it is probably too late for the real Rockies to show up and make a run. Even after climbing within nine games of the San Francisco Giants, Colorado will need more than a nice little run to get back in it. They would need to play around .650 baseball, and even that wouldn't guarantee anything.

Regardless of the position in the standings, it was nice to see a Rockies club play the way everyone expected them too. At least for one night, the questions of when this team will show up do not need to be answered. The club can feel good about themselves, beating a team directly in front of them in the standings, and gaining a game on the division-leading Giants.

Many experts point to Troy Tulowitzki, Carlos Gonzalez and Ubaldo Jimenez having down years as a reason for the club's lack of success. However, the reality is that it is the complete opposite of that.

The reason the Rockies have struggled is because the role players like Dexter Fowler, Ian Stewart and Aaron Cook didn't turn out the way the club was hoping.

Since his call-up, Fowler has been phenomenal. He adopted a high leg kick when he is hitting from the left side, which is allowing him to let the ball get deeper on him, forcing him to keep his weight back. On Friday night, Fowler put together another great night at the plate. He went 3-for-5 with another triple, which was nearly an inside-the-park home run.

Stewart didn't get the start, but came in and delivered a base hit on a well-executed hit and run.

Cook finally looked like he belonged at a level above Rookie ball. Being as nice as possible, Cook has been a complete disaster. He hasn't looked anything close to the All-Star that could wiggle out of any jam in 2008.

On Friday, after giving up three runs in the second inning, Cook didn't fold. He gave up only one more run in six innings of work, and that run came when Seth Smith over-ran a ball hit to him for the second straight day, allowing a triple instead of what should have been a single.

The win on Friday night shows how good the Rockies could have been had Stewart or Fowler had a breakout year. If Cook would have even resembled the average fifth starter, the Rockies still might have a fighting chance at the NL West. Instead, those players are just now seeming to play the way that they are capable of.

The Rockies might be out of the race, but if they can play the final 62 games the way that they were advertised, it will be fun to watch.

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