Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Colorado Rockies see the difference between a pretender and a contender in Atlanta

Freddie Freeman is leading a team that knows how to win. 
If the Colorado Rockies think they are contenders, they haven't been looking across at the other dugout the last two nights.

The Atlanta Braves showed why they are a team that is winning their division by a robust 10 games. The Braves are a team that pitches well, they hit well, and they lead the league in come-from-behind wins. They play with an edge that almost makes them scarier when they are losing.

Atlanta is packed with talent, but one player seems to enjoy playing the Rockies slightly more than the rest of the bunch. Freddie Freeman continued his tear against the boys in purple. On Tuesday night he drilled a 1st inning home run off of Juan Nicasio, then hit a three-run shot off of Edgmer Escalona in the 7th inning to bury the Rockies.

Freeman has hit 10 home runs in 20 career games against the Rockies. That ties the Rockies with the Mets for the team that he has hit the most bombs off of. The Mets, however, have played 48 games against the All-Star slugger.

As good as Freeman is, the Braves have a myriad of other players who can do damage. Jason Heyward, Justin Upton and Dan Uggla may not have the most desirable batting averages, but they certainly can hurt a team in a hurry. That isn't to discredit Brian McCann, who has been an All-Star in the past, and Evan Gattis, who is a National League Rookie of the Year candidate.

On top of their hitting, the Braves starting rotation gets the job done. They are efficient, they throw strikes, and they get outs.

With all the talent that the Braves possess, is it really that far of a stretch to think that the Rockies really aren't that far behind Atlanta as far as talent goes? The Rockies may not be as refined, but name a player who the Braves have, and try to suggest that the Rockies don't have someone of equal talent. The Braves have the Rockies beat at first base, where Todd Helton simply isn't the Helton of old and Freeman is blossoming into a star for years to come, however, beyond that spot, the Rockies are as good, or better talent-wise than the Braves.

So why can't the Rockies compete with the Braves, or with the Marlins for that matter?

The Braves have a swagger that hasn't been seen from the Rockies since early April. They not only look like they aren't going to quit scoring runs, they also have a demeanor on the mound that they aren't going to let the opposition back into the game.

On the other side of the field, the Rockies look like don't know what to do with a lead. They don't take good at-bats, and they hope that their starting pitcher can shut down the opposition.

The Rockies lack a winning mindset. They lack a mentality in their clubhouse that demands excellence. They don't play baseball with a mentality that suggests they are only satisfied with winning. They play baseball with an attitude that looks like they are hoping to win, but if it doesn't happen, they have another shot the next day. That attitude is reflected in interviews from the top down.

The Rockies All-Stars all suggested publicly that they don't want the team to be sellers at the trade deadline, which is approaching on Wednesday at 2 pm Mountain Time. However, those statements came immediately after the team had played 10 straight games against NL West opponents and went a disappointing 4-6, scoring just 19 runs.

Immediately following those statements, the Rockies went 5-5 at home against the three worst teams in the National League. If the Rockies players want the front office to spent money and make a splash at the deadline, they shouldn't have mailed in 20 games in which they had a chance to move up.

Many wonder why the Rockies seem to follow the same formula year-in and year-out. The answer is simple. They don't demand excellence. Winning championships requires a team to push to get better, even after wins. This Rockies team, for years, under the guidance of three different managers, hasn't pushed themselves to get better even after a loss. If there is no accountability within the clubhouse or front office, how can fans expect this team to simply go on a run and make up the gap?

The Rockies need to change their mindset, or when the team rolls into August every year, the teams in the other dugout will continue to feast on them as they pursue their own championship aspirations.

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  1. The Rockies problems are the same as they have always been - Dan O'Dowd and Bill Geivett. They replace managers all too often and put lipstick on a pig. Look at two of the former managers - Clint Hurdle is successful in Pittsburg and Jim Leyland is successful in Detroit.

    1. Been a Rockies fan since 2005. Agree owners think they can sign a couple superstars and keep drawing 30,000 at Coors Field. This attendance will need to get to 10,000 before they do anything and that might include selling the team. As a long term fan I feel abused and will not attend or watch any more games on Root Sports (owned by Monforts). This will all cave in on owners unless they do something to build a respectable team and stop abusing their fans.

  2. And they still let a below average 1B play and hold onto about 50 AAAA outfielders past their prime.


    Worst organization ever

  3. Having been a loyal fan since the opening game at Mile High (12 rows up from EY’s homer) I have reached the point in my life that I have better things to do than continue to carry my emotions on my sleeve over this team. That being stated, I would like to address the “potential” element of this column, as well as a couple of other syndromes that the Rockies possess.

    Regarding “potential” it was Charles Shultz, speaking through Charlie Brown who stated: “Great potential is a heavy burden.” You can go to a multitude of All-Star games, but if you continue to swing at pitches out of the strike zone during crunch time, your response to pressure is obviously to heavy a burden to bear.

    Second syndrome is “Rockford Syndrome.” On the Rockford Files, Jim was grazed on the temple by a bullet. His “dad” Rocky said “Sunny, if that bullet had been 2 inches to the left, you’d be dead right now. Jim replied” Yeah, but 2 inches to the right and he misses me completely!” Thus sums up the Rockies interviews after loss after loss. If only we had ………

    Final Syndrome is Tom Jones Syndrome. In his famous song "Take me in tender women,” a tenderhearted woman spies a poor half-frozen snake. She brings it in, revives it, and the snake repays her by biting her. The woman asks how the snake could do that. The snake replies “Shut up silly woman. You knew I was a low down snake before you took me in.” This exemplifies the unfortunate state of most of us Rockies’ fans. The June, July, August swoon is almost a forgone conclusion. Yet we continue to believe in April and May that we have a contender. What’s that definition of insanity again?

    1. Craig-
      This is hands down the best comment I have received on this blog. Well said.

    2. David, thanks for the compliment. My main regret is the use of "to" instead of "too" for "too heavy a burden". Amatuer mistake. Oh, and actually watching some of tonight's game.