Friday, May 2, 2014

Despite April being over, Colorado Rockies continue to show they can contend

Jorge De La Rosa improved to 3-3.
Just eight short months ago, there was only one angle to write about when it came to the Colorado Rockies. It was all about their lack of effort, lack of fundamentals, and their inability to play the game like they cared if they won.

What happened to that team? The Rockies won again, crushing the Mets 10-3 at Coors Field on Friday night.

Fortunately for Rockies fans, it seems that the team that they struggled to watch in 2012 and 2013 is nowhere to be found. On nights like Friday, their are too many angles to talk about. So many good things happened that some things are bound to not get mentioned.

Jorge De La Rosa pitched six innings and gave up three runs. He picked up his third win of the season and tied the record for the most wins at Coors Field. The impressive part of De La Rosa's performance wasn't his line. Three runs in six innings obviously isn't the De La Rosa that Rockies fans have become accustom to.

The reality is, De La Rosa didn't have his best stuff on Friday. That was evident in the 1st inning. He gave up hits to the first three batters that came to the plate. A run had scored before he recorded an out. It seemed like it might turn into an ugly night for the lefty.

Instead, the Rockies ace figured out how to get outs without his best stuff. Plenty of pitchers have good stuff. They can throw the ball past the majority of batters, yet, they still struggle at the big league level. The mark of a good pitcher is one who can get outs when he doesn't have his best stuff. De La Rosa did that on Friday. Normally a ground ball pitcher, De La Rosa only got six of his outs on the ground and five through the air. However, he got outs when he needed them.

The other angle is the story about a kid who was a prospect with a bad glove and a good bat. That kid is not becoming a good player, but might just be turning into a star right before our eyes. Nolan Arenado extended his hitting streak to 22 games on Friday night with a hard-hit single back up the middle. The streak is longer than any hitting streak put together by two Rockies legends, Todd Helton and Larry Walker.

Arenado looks relaxed at the plate. He looks like he has figured out how opposing pitchers are trying to pitch to him. He suddenly seems comfortable, which has allowed him to come into his own and find out where his ceiling is. The funny thing is, the hitting streak isn't always the top story because he preempts himself with his defense. Arenado the third baseman steals the highlight reel from Arenado the hitter.

Fans should be getting used to it by now, but it seems that Arenado makes jaw-dropping plays every single night. Despite the fact that he has done it in the past, Arenado continues to amaze with his glove.

Interestingly enough, the other angle is the play of Troy Tulowitzki. The shortstop will certainly be in the conversation for National League Player of the Month for April. He put together one of the best months of his career, but with the way the Rockies have played, even his statistics can be overlooked.

Tulo went 3-for-4 with three RBIs. He now has 25 RBIs and is hitting .385. The reason that Tulowitzki is a superstar is because he possesses the ability to literally put an entire team on his back and carry them to victory. When he gets hot, it is hard to describe how good he is. There are very few players who get locked in the way Tulo does. It is times like these that show why it hurts the team so much when he goes down with injury.

The amazing thing for these Rockies is that they have been doing all of this with Michael Cuddyer, the reigning National League Batting Champion on the disabled list.

Are the Rockies in the process of making all of their critics eat crow? Is this a different team than the Rockies have been over the past few years? They certainly have more depth than they have possessed in years past, something that doomed them.

The Rockies certainly have reasons for their fans to be skeptical, and until the winning continues deep into the summer, there will be plenty of reasons to believe that it won't continue. However, for now, the Rockies are playing a fun brand of baseball. They are winning, they are playing hard and there is no reason to believe that they can't continue winning.

Rockies fans should enjoy it.

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  1. last year on this day they were 17 - 11, and in 2012 they were 12-12, so.......

    1. Troy,
      Very good point. Although I think they are deeper than they were in previous seasons, it still all comes down to whether or not their two stars can stay healthy.