I grew up the youngest of three boys. My brothers are four and five years older than me and they never let me win at anything. When I wasn’t taking physical beatings, I was receiving them on courts, fields, and video game consoles. I eventually caught up with my brothers, but not before they turned me into an over competitive idiot.
Lately, the Giants-Rockies rivalry has had the vibe of a big brother-little brother dynamic. Against the Giants, the Rockies always seem to find a way to lose. When they hit, they don’t pitch. When they pitch, they don’t hit. So far this season, the Giants have fended off the advances of Tulo and company by using the old school trick of a stiff arm to the forehead. That all changed today.
Over the last two days, the Rockies have recaptured the grind-it-out style of play that made them so successful in April. On Monday, they beat the great Tim Lincecum. Against the Giants’ ace they scored seven gritty runs in five plus innings. The highlight was when Cargo hit a three run bomb that landed in Roosevelt National Forest. Then, today, they hung in against a very effective Jonathan Sanchez for seven plus innings. Sanchez was dominant for most of the game, but couldn’t finish the job, finally succumbing to a relentless Rockies’ approach in the eighth.
The Rox are now back in first place, and, even though it’s still May, that is significant. After squandering a four game lead in just two weeks, a lot of teams would’ve failed to bounce back. What’s more, coming into this series, the Giants were one of the hottest teams in baseball. But, this time it was the Rockies that did the bullying. Hopefully, these last two wins will help them to exorcise their San Fran demons.
While this was a great start, this team still has its issues. Today’s game was probably the most important contest of the young season. It was an opportunity for the Rockies to fight back into first place. However, Tracy started an awful lineup. He spread the Rockies’ third base black hole over to first base by starting Ty Wigginton and Jose Lopez on the same day. I understand that Todd Helton needs an occasional day off, but Wiggy and Lopez should never be in the lineup together. That fact that they were signifies a problem with bench depth. Predictably, Wiggy and Jose went a combined 0-7. Luckily the rest of the lineup came through.
Obviously, the Rockies have a special core of players, but they’re still developing into a true contender and they need to deal with a few weak links. Ubaldo made a lot of progress today, but he’s not quite where he needs to be. Third base is a huge hole that needs to be filled. Also, there are a couple of relievers that they would probably be better off without. However, every team in baseball has their flaws. The Rockies are fortunate. Their problems can be overcome. I still like their chances.
Enjoy this one Rockies’ fans. The boys rose up against big brother and went into bully-mode. Watching the Giants leave Coors Field with their heads hanging low was a beautiful sight. Now they need to build off this success and take care of business against the vaunted Phillies.