|DJ LeMahieu has been a big part of the Rockies great week.|
The Rockies are surprisingly playing good baseball. They are actually exciting to watch. On Thursday night the Rockies continued their great homestand, defeating the Miami Marlins 5-3 at 20th & Blake. They didn't quit, despite being down 3-1, and watching Ricky Nolasco dominate them for the better part of the first five innings.
Colorado got a nice overall performance from their pitchers. Alex White went four innings, giving up three runs before exiting after 74 pitches. Adam Ottavino came in and delivered three innings, giving up only a no-doubt solo home run to Giancarlo Stanton. After that, Matt Belisle did what Rockies fans have become accustomed to, getting out of a jam. This time, however, it was his own jam, not someone else's. Rafael Betancourt closed the door in the 9th inning, recording his 22nd save of the season.
Don't look now, but the Rockies have won 7-of-10. That number includes three wins on the road.
So what has happened? How could a team who was so miserable to watch two weeks ago suddenly full of energy and playing solid baseball?
The answer comes from the youth of this team. Josh Rutledge, despite a slight quad injury, continues to make his way into the game highlights. On Thursday he pinch hit with one out and a runner at third base. After falling behind 0-2, the rookie stayed back on a slider, and hit it to right field. The ball eluded Stanton in right field, falling for an RBI triple.
Eric Young continues to impress. He recorded a lead off single in the 1st, but wasn't finished. With Rutledge at third base, Young laid down a perfect squeeze bunt. The throw came to the plate, but was well behind Rutledge. Young made it to first base, but was only credited with a sacrifice, with the fielder's choice going to the plate.
DJ LeMahieu also keeps contributing. His night saw him go 2-for-4 with his first triple. He aggressive play helped him score from third base as he came home on a wild pitch that was barely 10 feet away from Marlins catcher Rob Brantly.
The reality is, the Rockies are getting fun to watch again because they have a bunch of players who are eager to prove that they belong at the big league level. Young, as has been well documented, has had nearly everyone tell him that he isn't good enough to be an impact player at the big league level. That negativity seems to have inspired him to prove everyone wrong.
LeMahieu and Rutledge are getting their feet wet in the big leagues. Le Mahieu got time with the Cubs before coming to Colorado, but this is his first extended look where he can play day-in and day-out. Rutledge continues to make everyone forget that he was in Single-A one year ago.
The Rockies are no longer on pace to lose 100 games. They have 45 wins with the victory on Thursday, which means they need to win 18 more games in order to avoid the dubious loss benchmark. However, in order to avoid the worst record in club history, which was recorded in the inaugural 1993 season, they must not lose more than 95 games. That means they need to win 23 more games with 46 games to go.
Can the Rockies play .500 baseball the remainder of the season? If they continue to play inspired baseball like they have been playing for the past week and a half, they should be able to avoid a record-setting season.
For now, the Rockies are a fun team to watch again. Whether that will continue for six more weeks or not remains to be seen, but they are playing their most entertaining baseball of the year, so fans may as well take advantage of it.
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