|Wilin Rosario has shown immense improvement in 2013.|
On Saturday night, the Rockies continued to be the Padres nightmare, putting up nine runs in a park that is more accustomed to 2-1 games than 9-5 games. However, when the Rockies high-powered offense rolls into town, the ballpark doesn't seem so big.
Rosario drilled a two-run home run that landed in the first row of the second level deep into left-center field. At Petco Park, very few balls go that far in batting practice, let alone during a game. The bomb was the first hit in a big night for Rosario. The catcher notched four hits to go along with three RBIs.
The Dominican catcher quickly showed in his rookie season that he was a good enough hitter to be a regular at the big league level. However, much like many young hitters, Rosario lacked patience at the plate and got himself out on many occasions. So far in 2013, Rosario's growth has been incredible. He is not only working the count better, but he is also hitting the ball where it is pitched. His home run on Saturday night was pulled, but his single in the 5th inning was a hard smash to right field. He also knows when he needs to simply get the bat on the ball and drop in a hit. He did that twice on Saturday.
The fact that Rosario is hitting in the seven hole in the Rockies lineup is impressive enough. Everyone knew that this team would hit, but few thought that they would actually be as dominant at the plate as they have been. Rosario isn't the only one who has been impressive. The entire offense has been productive, nearly top to bottom.
Michael Cuddyer also showed how good he can be when he is healthy. He launched his own two-run homer in the top of the 4th inning. With Carlos Gonzalez on second base, Cuddyer launched a no-doubter of his own. His home run also landed in the second deck of seating in left field. It wasn't as far as Rosario's, but it was still never in doubt.
The Rockies offense poured it on. Gonzalez had three hits,including a double, Troy Tulowitzki went 2-for-4 with a double and Todd Helton added two hits for his second straight multi-hit game. Helton's double in the 3rd inning put him in a tie with Ivan Rodriguez for 20th on the all-time doubles list.
Before heading home to a cold Coors Field, the Rockies go for the sweep of the Padres for the second straight weekend. There is plenty of reason to be skeptical of the early success of the Rockies. Consider the fact that when they played a team that has more talent than they do, they got swept. The Padres and Brewers have been bad so far in 2013, potentially showing that the Rockies are simply beating bad teams.
The problem with that argument is that it ignores the fact that the Rockies lost 98 games in 2012. That logic suggests that the Rockies are on a higher level than any team in baseball, and the reality is, the Rockies are the team that everyone feels like they should be beating. This is a team that is one year removed from losing time and time again to teams that they should have been beating. In fact, they were extremely good at finding creative ways to lose to bad teams.
The Rockies beating bad teams is a step in the right direction. One year ago, wins weren't happening against bad teams, let alone good ones. The Rockies probably won't be very competitive with teams like the Giants, but they can show their improvement by beating teams like the Padres.
Despite the sweep by the Giants earlier in the week, there is a conclusion that can be a sign of big improvement for these Rockies. Most experts were saying that they were one of the worst teams in baseball. Keith Law of ESPN predicted that the Rockies would lose 109 games. After only two weeks of baseball, it is safe to say that this team isn't even the worst team in their division, let alone all of baseball.
In fact, the Rockies aren't even close to the worst team in baseball. In the early going, it is probably safe to say that Colorado is home to a team that is better than the Padres, Astros and Marlins, hands down.
When a team that lost 98 games sits three games above .500 at any point in the season, it should be celebrated. It doesn't matter what team, or what pitcher they have been beating. The fact is, they are winning baseball games. This is something that fans saw very little of a year ago, so whether it is the Padres they are beating, or anyone else, a win is a win at the big league level, and it shows improvement, which is what every fan is looking for.
The Rockies head into Sunday looking for their second straight weekend sweep of the Padres. They send Jorge De La Rosa to the mound to get the job done.
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