|If the Rockies were in the race, it would have been fun.|
Fans who were staring at the standings every night after the game back in April and May have forgotten that the baseball season is still going on. As far as they are concerned, some misguided emails from a pompous owner were sent out a couple of days after another disappointing season came to a conclusion.
Those who realized that the Rockies are indeed forced to play out the remainder of their schedule, were treated to an extra innings affair in which the club made several huge mistakes. None of those mistakes were bigger than in the top of the 10th inning, with runners on second and third base with one out and DJ LeMahieu at the plate with the game tied at three.
With Justin Morneau on third and one of the Rockies best contact hitters at the plate in LeMahieu, Walt Weiss called a rare suicide squeeze. With Morneau on his way from third, LeMahieu did everything that he could to get the bunt down, yet failed, resulting in Morneau being put-out and the Rockies needing a base hit to take the lead.
The Rockies blew a good, not great start from Jorge De La Rosa. Their ace gave them six strong innings, giving up only three runs. He made only one true mistake, a pitch left over the plate that Emilio Bonifacio drilled into the left field bleachers for a two-run, game tying home run.
The problem for the Rockies is that the only time it feels that they have a legitimate chance to win is the day in which De La Rosa takes the mound. If the offense can't score more than three runs in those starts, they aren't giving their ace much rope to work with. The reality is, even when he doesn't have his best stuff, De La Rosa gives the Rockies a chance to win every single time he takes the ball.
As the clock ticked towards 11 pm in the Mountain Time Zone, fans were forced to see if Rex Brothers could complete two consecutive scoreless innings. Already in shock after Brothers shut down the Cubs in the bottom of the 11th, following finishing the 10th after a clean 2/3 inning from Matt Belisle, for a brief moment, it seemed that anything might be possible.
Some games that head to extra innings require eyes to be glued to the TV. Strategy is taken to a new level. Managers are forced to make moves that are risky, but could have a big impact in the game. How that manager played his cards earlier in the game goes a long way for the team's chances in the late innings. However, Tuesday night was anything but that.
As the game headed to the 13th inning, it was abundantly clear that Tuesday's debacle was not the traditional good baseball game with two heavyweights trading blows and battling to the bitter end. Instead, Tuesday's affair was an exercise in futility between two really bad teams. The only team in Major League Baseball that makes the Rockies bullpen look like they were built for success is the Chicago Cubs.
With Dick Monfort in attendance, thoughts about what a great job the bullpen did on one idle night in Chicago almost certainly made the Rockies owner feel like Dan O'Dowd was once again correct. He had indeed built a great bullpen, it simply was taking until the end of July for the Rockies to get everything to come together. Unfortunately for the Rockies, it is too little too late...however, O'Dowd will almost certainly be on the phone with Monfort letting him know that a bullpen performance like Tuesday night's game is something that, with the deep talent coming through the system, will be a regular occurrence in the next few years for the Rockies.
That statement, of course, is dripping with sarcasm. However, with the cynicism that the Rockies organization has built up in the past three seasons, there is no reason to think that things are going to change any time soon.
The sad reality is that Rockies fans long for a chance to have even a late July extra inning game be something that they sit on the edge of their seat for. They long to be hoping for each pitch to go their way, for each call from the umpire makes to be in their team's favor. Instead, Rockies fans watch their Twitter timelines fill up with Broncos training camp information and get other things done around the house while Root Sports or KOA is on in the background.
The Rockies have nothing to play for, so when they play past midnight it instead just feels cruel that the die-hard fans, who are committed to seeing whether their team won before they call it a night and go to bed are only rewarded with the need for an extra cup of coffee the next morning at work instead of the excitement that their team is grinding out games in their attempt to make a run at the playoffs.
It could be so much fun for Rockies fans. It could be something that is worth staying awake for. Instead, it is simply torture. It is a reminder that sitting around watching and hoping that the Rockies win is simply an exercise in futility that will only change the number in the standings at the end of a season in which the Rockies will almost certainly find themselves in their familiar home in the National League West standings, the basement.
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