Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Colorado Rockies role players will determine overall team success

Much of the Rockies success will depend on the contributions of role players.
There is no way around it. As Troy Tulowitzki and Carlos Gonzalez go, so go the Colorado Rockies.

Rockies fans know that this is the case. Unfortunately for them, they have had to experience what happens when one or both of those two guys are injured. It has been a common theme for the two Rockies studs in the past few seasons.

The perennial All-Stars are the fuel that drives the Rockies. They have the ability to change a game with one swing of the bat. They impact the entire lineup because an opposing pitcher must think about them regardless of where they are in the game.

After 10 games, the Rockies sit at 5-5. They have had some very exciting games. Their performance on Wednesday afternoon at Coors Field is a prime example of that. While things aren't perfect, as the team clearly has found out that they have some serious bullpen issues, and they have some depth issues on the bench.

With that in mind, the success of the Rockies season isn't going to come down to how Tulo and CarGo play, the success of the 2014 Rockies will come from the role players.

While Tulo and CarGo have done everything expected of them so far, they are going to require the help of the other guys on the field. On Wednesday afternoon, one of those guys came through big-time.

Struggling early, second baseman DJ LeMahieu changed the course of the game in the bottom half of the 6th inning. With the Rockies down 4-3, Justin Morneau led off the inning with a double and moved to third on an error. It put the Rockies in good shape. All they needed was a base hit, a sacrifice fly, or even a ground ball that wasn't right at someone and the game would be tied. Instead, Nolan Arenado hit a ground ball to third base that kept Morneau at second. With one out, Charlie Culberson grounded back to the pitcher. Suddenly, the Rockies were in a very familiar situation. It was one that they saw several times in 2013 and failed.

With two outs and the tying run sitting at second base, LeMahieu stepped to the plate and drilled a double on the first pitch he saw. The double scored Morneau and tied the game. The Rockies went on to win in blowout fashion, thanks in part to a six run 8th inning.

The score made it look like the Rockies were in charge the whole time. However, the at-bat by LeMahieu was pivotal. If he would have recorded an out, leaving the tying run at second base after Morneau had led off with a double, the Rockies would have been down a run and there is a good chance the whole game changes.

Wednesday was LeMahieu's day. However, the Rockies have seen another role player have a day that secured victory as well. Charlie Blackmon has not only had a six-hit game, but he has remained hot since then. His offense is important to this team's success. Blackmon took much of the weight off of Tulo and CarGo's shoulders, creating enough offense himself to win games.

LeMahieu and Blackmon certainly aren't the guys that the experts are going to be talking about in the offseason. These aren't the guys who the national media is paying attention to. However, the Rockies success depends on their role players coming through in a very important moment.

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1 comment:

  1. It is still way too early to determine if the Rockies are going to be a factor, but there are a couple of things that I see that are encouraging. One is that the Rox have a very good defensive club, especially in the infield. We were at the game yesterday and LeMahieu received an award for being the best overall defensive player on the team last year. We already know how great Tulo and 'Nado are, but it was nice to see D J recognized. Mearneau completes a really great defensive infield. I have also been encouraged that, for the most part Rockies pitchers, even when they've gotten roughed up, they have battled to limit the damage. In the past, we've seen them crumble and let the floodgates open up. I liked what I saw from Belisle. (Anyone know why Weiss took LaTroy out ot go to Logan in the ninth yesterday?) One thing to remember though, is that we still haven't gone against a team from MLB's "upper echelon." I think that we're going to see a major challenge this week when the Rockies play the Giants. Hopefully, the Rox will battle.