Thursday, August 25, 2011

Do the Colorado Rockies still have a chance to make a run?

Here we go again.

It is almost getting annoying how predictable these Colorado Rockies are. Under perform for most of the season in nearly every aspect of the game, dig a big hole, make sure every last person who follows baseball has written them off, then suddenly jump out of the grave and come back to life.

The Rockies, winners of five straight and seven-of-nine, are in the midst of that right now. Left for dead one week ago, 12-1/2 games out, the Rockies find themselves just 8-1/2 games out of first place in the National League West race with 33 games to go.

Well, sorry to burst the bubble, but the Rockies are done. There will be no Rocktober in 2011. There will be no amazing run to the playoffs. The odds are stacked too highly against them.

There are a couple of reasons why this team is going to fall short. The first, is the exact reason why everyone is saying that they do have a chance.

With seven games left against the Giants and six against the Diamondbacks, the Rockies seemed poised to be able to make up ground. The only problem with head-to-head games, however, is that if the Rockies lose any of those games, it guarantees that a team in front of them gains a game on them. When teams are playing against other teams, the Rockies could lose, and not lose a game in the standings. Lose to the Giants and Diamondbacks and the odds start to stack.

The Rockies would essentially have to sweep all four of those series to have a shot. While Rockies runs in the past have proven to be historic, does anyone believe that this Rockies team has the heart to beat the Giants seven times in a row, three times at AT&T Park, where they consistently struggle?

The second biggest reason why this team won't be able to overcome the deficit is simply because their starting pitching isn't good enough. Running Aaron Cook out to the mound every fifth day doesn't exactly give a team confidence that they can beat anyone at anytime. If Cook was the number five starter, with four studs sitting in front of him, it might be possible, but the reality is, the Rockies are running on a rotation that features a 23-year old just getting his feet wet in the big leagues, Cook, and an ace in Jhoulys Chacin who seems to have maturing of his own to do.

The third reason, and probably the biggest reason of all, is the guy sitting in the manager's seat. Jim Tracy is a great guy. He is a great person. Everyone loves him. His decisions, however, when it comes to a lineup are baffling to say the least. The Rockies essentially have three starters, Troy Tulowitzki, Carlos Gonzalez and Todd Helton. Beyond that, everyone else shifts around and plays some days and not others.

Mark Ellis was brought in to give stability to the second base position. Instead of becoming the everyday guy, he simply fell into the rotation, meaning he sits at least twice a week. Third base is a revolving door, which is largely the fault of Ian Stewart, but Tracy hasn't allowed anyone to take the spot and run with it. Seth Smith hits a home run anda double one day and finds himself on the bench the next two days.

The Rockies might make a run, and it might be fun to watch how close they can come to actually overtaking the two teams in front of them, but it is very doubtful that they are going to make a run similar to that of 2007.

People are quick to forget, even though that team needed a big run to make it to the playoffs, they had hit their stride long before the All-Star break. They had gelled as a team and were playing well since the middle of May.

The 2011 version of the Colorado Rockies has yet to really gel as a team. They have yet to play as well as they were advertised.

It might be fun to imagine it happening, but the Rockies are done. They have passed up every opportunity to get back into this race, and now that they are finally winning games, they are too far out of the race to make it worth while.

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