|Wilton Lopez continued his disappointing season on Sunday.|
However, the perfect story line wasn't meant to be. EY, Jr. grounded out harmlessly to J.J. Putz, the Diamondbacks closer, to end the game with the Rockies losing 5-4.
Despite the Rockies taking two of three in the series, they played with fire in all three games and finally got burned on Sunday.
Rafael Betancourt wiggled off the hook on Saturday night, and the offense barely showed up on Friday night, but in both contests, the Rockies prevailed. On Sunday, the Rockies bullpen gave away a four run advantage, starting with Matt Belisle giving up a rare run in the 8th inning, then Wilton Lopez came in to blow the game in the 9th.
Lopez was pitching because Betancourt had thrown in three straight games and was given the day off before the game.
The loss was a heartbreaker for the Rockies. They had the game in their control and a chance to sweep a series from within their division.
The Sunday loss shouldn't dishearten Rockies fans. This is a team that is was predicted to be historically bad, with pitching that would set records for futility. Through 17 games, however, they stand at 12-5, and they are an impressive 8-1 at home. Sunday's game may be a disappointment, but with the bigger picture in mind, ask a Rockies fan on March 31st if they would be happy with 12-5 on April 21st and there isn't a single fan that wouldn't have been thrilled with those results.
It has been an interesting early-going for the Rockies. They have been playing so well, their starting pitching included, that they have brought some excitement back. However, there is a strange feeling that is different than any other hot Rockies start. This year, there is a certain level of hesitation among fans that feels like they want to believe, but don't want to set themselves up for disappointment. As the wins stack up, the skepticism doesn't seem to shrink, it seems to grow. Fans seem to know that the more hopeful they become, the harder the crash might be when the Rockies come back to earth.
There is no doubt that despite a team full of many of the same names as the 2012 team that was an all-out embarrassment, this team is different. They play harder, there is more of a sense of urgency, they are playing far less selfishly and seem to be enjoying taking the field more.
That attitude and that effort has brought the Rockies early success. If they want to continue winning, they must keep the swagger that they seem to be playing with. Even on Sunday, after a blown four run lead, there was a feeling that the club was going to put up a fight. They didn't get the job done, but they went down swinging.
The next step for the Rockies is to come back from the first heart breaker at home and play bounce back to the level they have played with throughout April. The Rockies face a tough opponent in the new week as baseball's best early team, the Atlanta Braves come to town. If the Rockies can come out fighting, they could make a giant statement to the rest of the league.
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