For the first time in a long time, the Rockies were the Sunday Night game of the week on ESPN. It was a chance for the team to play a night game on Sunday for the first time all season, perhaps tricking them into thinking that it might have just been a regular weeknight game.
The only problem with that is that it's not like the team plays all the well on every other day of the week. The Rockies game on Sunday night was a microcosm of the entire season. They had opportunities in nearly every inning, including the first after they had scored their only two runs, and they blew every chance they got.
The biggest opportunity came in the seventh inning when lefty specialist Arthur Rhodes was called in to face Carlos Gonzalez with two on and one out. CarGo worked a walk, loading the bases for Troy Tulowitzki with one out.
Make no mistake, Tulowitzki is a premier player in Major League Baseball. He is the type of player that teams are desperate to build their franchise around. He plays phenomenal defense and does amazing things at the plate. He is a competitor and pushes himself to be the best.
The only problem for Tulowitzki, is his desire to be the best often gets in the way. In the seventh inning, facing Octavio Dotel, Tulowitzki had the opportunity to tie the game with a single. He could have looped a ball into the outfield and scored two runs. He even could have hit a fly ball that would have scored a run and gotten the Rockies within one.
However, he is desperate to be the hero, and swung for the fences. The result was a strikeout.
Todd Helton came up behind him, and with two outs needed to get on base to do damage. He was frozen on a two-strike curveball and the Rockies threat was done.
Much like the season has gone for the Rockies, the team simply hasn't made it happen when it counts. The problem has to be between the ears. On Sunday night, they quickly went out and put two runs on the board, but when the Cardinals answered with four runs of their own, it seemed as if the Rockies packed up shop, hoping for better results tomorrow.
Instead of going out and pouring the runs on the board, the Rockies failed to counter punch. It's a common story. The problem continues to get the best of the club. They cannot find their way over the mental hurdle. It is the reason the Diamondbacks are surprising everyone and remaining in contention well into August. It is the reason the Giants losing skid hasn't removed them from the race. If the Colorado Rockies could have found a way to figure out how to simply counter punch and fight their mental doubts, they would be running away with the National League West.