To Colorado Rockies fans it feels like 13 in a row. On Monday night, the win seemed as easy as many thought it would be all season long. Instead, it has taken the club until the end of August to finally put things together.
Monday night, starting pitcher Jhoulys Chacin bounced back from a shaky outing against the Marlins his last time out. He pitched seven strong innings, giving up only one hit despite allowing 11 hits to the Astros. He was able to minimize damage by getting three double plays and walking only one batter.
Over the past few days the Rockies have looked like the team that everyone envisioned in February. They have played freely, not panicking when they go down, and getting big pitches when they need them. When one guy fails, another guy bails him out. It has been the definition of team baseball.
It shouldn't take anything away from his outing, but being staked to a six run lead before taking the mound in the second inning makes a huge difference. It gave Chacin the ability to attack the strike zone and not try to be too fine on the hill. The outing allowed the 23-year old to be the first 10 game winner for the club in the 2011 season.
In typical Rockies fashion, the team takes a look at the standings and sees themselves just eight games back. Of course that is a huge deficit to overcome with just over a month of baseball to play, but it would figure that this club, of all clubs, would go on a run to make things interesting.
The sad part for the Rockies is that they have played so poorly throughout the season that they really don't deserve to even be talked about as a playoff team. They have been horribly disappointing by all accounts since week three and very few players have come close to living up to their expectations, and yet, they are still just eight games out.
It begs the question, what could this team have accomplished had they actually played anywhere close to their expectations. If they have been horrible, and already deemed the most disappointing team in franchise history, how far ahead in this National League West division would they be if they had simply had a .500 month of May? If any one of the players who have struggled would have taken the next step?
If the Rockies make a run, which they might, and fall short, they will forever have to look back and wonder what could have been. If this team wouldn't have pressed so hard to hit home runs when singles would have done the trick, if this team would have relaxed and enjoyed the game instead of feeling like they had to win 15 in a row?
Those are questions that a team who should have won the division will always have to ask themselves.
The Rockies might go on a run, but the odds are against them actually crawling back to the top of the division. A run, however, would be a nice pacesetter for the 2012 season. It might be what it takes to gel a team that hasn't seemed to find it's groove all season long.