Tuesday, July 12, 2011

The hard facts about the Colorado Rockies and October

"We're a second half team."

"Ubaldo Jimenez is turning the corner, if he can return to form, we have a chance."

There are plenty more quotes that have emerged from the Colorado Rockies clubhouse. They all sound nice. They all are very optimistic. They all give fans hope that their team can once again emerge from yet another disappointing start and find themselves playing in October.

I am on record as saying that they are done. I would like to be more optimistic. I would like to believe the optimism in the clubhouse. I would like to infuse fans with hope that their team can indeed win the National League West.

However, believing that the Rockies are still in the race is ignoring the eyes and believing the heart. It simply isn't logical.

Let's take a look at what it is going to take for the Rockies to have a realistic shot at making the playoffs.

First off, the wild card is not coming out of NL West. It might come out of the East or the Central, but it's not coming out of the West. So to make the playoffs it is going to take winning the division.

The Rockies currently sit 8-1/2 games out of first place and 5-1/2 games out of second place. They must find a way to jump both the Diamondbacks and the Giants in order to bring Rocktober back to Coors Field.

Let's assume that it is going to take 90 wins to win the division. It might take a few more than that, but 90 wins usually secures a playoff spot. So, with 71 games to go for the Rockies and 43 wins in the books, the Rockies will have to find a way to notch 47 more wins. That means that they have to go 47-24 the rest of the way. That is nearly .667 baseball, a better winning percentage than any team in baseball at the break.

Is that possible? Sure. Baseball is a crazy sport. Crazy things happen all the time. However, it would be yet another comeback of epic proportions for this franchise. Lightening would have to strike the same spot three times. However, it is possible. The Rockies would have to come out of the gate playing far better than they have all season long, including their 11-2 start when they were getting away with many mistakes at the plate, but still finding a way to win.

So yes, it could happen. However, based on the way that the Rockies have played through the first 91 games, it just doesn't seem like it is their year. In 2007, the streak at the end of the season is what everyone remembers. However, the Rockies were on a roll since a seven-game winning streak at the end of May. After that, the Rockies started winning. They swept the Yankees and were playing with a purpose the rest of the season.

In 2009 the Rockies pulled off a miracle. However, the miracle came when Clint Hurdle was dismissed. Almost immediately the club went on a run. Their 11-game winning streak that propelled them into the playoffs started on June 2nd.

The point is that both teams were playing inspired baseball long before the All-Star break. The 2011 Rockies have yet to play baseball with a sense of urgency. They have played with a sense of panic, and they have played as if they had all the time in the world, but they never found the middle ground that generally produces wins.

It's not what Rockies fans want to hear. It's not the popular thing to say, but the reality is that it is going to take another miracle if the club wants to make the playoffs. Miracles happen, they just can't be depended on.

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