Overall, I think yesterday’s group therapy session was a success. It helped us purge all the nasty emotion that’s been building over the last month or so. Also, it clearly rallied the team. Last night, they won a three game road series, which is truly remarkable considering it’s the first one they’ve taken this year. In the words of Herm Edwards, “we can build on this!”
In my opinion, the best comment during the Blake Street therapy session came via Steve from Montana. Steve, herein after known as Montana Steve, appropriately compared our relationship with the Rockies to a marriage. I can’t disagree.
“Right now, I feel like the fan relationship I have with this team is like a marriage. The magical ’07 run was the honeymoon, and now there’s dirty laundry on the floor and dishes piled in the sink. It’s really hard to watch this team right now, but you’re locked in, you’re wearing that ring so you dutifully tune in. Anyone else feel like this right now? The worst part is they know we’re not going to leave, no matter how bad it gets!” — Montana Steve
Over the last month, the Rockies have grossly neglected us. Every night, they stay out late without calling. Whenever they do show up, they’re drunk and reek of strippers and cigarettes. We suspect that they might be running around on us, but we can’t prove it. I’m still convinced that there was another woman’s lipstick on Tulo’s collar last week. But, like Montana Steve said, we aren’t going to do a single thing about it. We’ll take as much emotional abuse as they’re willing to dish out.
However, yesterday, they finally made a gesture that let us know they still care. It wasn’t anything huge, certainly not a diamond necklace or even a dozen roses. It was more like a pat on the head right before we went to sleep. Regardless, it was something. They may still love us after all.
The star of the Rockies’ rare road series win was undoubtedly Todd Helton. In three games at spacious Petco, Helton went 7-12 with three doubles and a home run. Yesterday, he nearly hit for the cycle, but he was inhibited a bit by his thirty-eight-year-old legs. Frankly, I don’t think any of us care that Todd is incapable of hitting triples. All we care about is that Todd is healthy and hitting better than he has in several years.
More than anything Helton is much stronger this season. Take yesterday’s home run for example. Helton seemed to be slightly fooled by a change-up, but, even though he was out on his front foot, he was still able generate enough power to hit it out. I can’t recall the last time Todd hit a home run like that. It may have been 2005.
Helton isn’t just passing the visual test. The numbers also seem to back up this theory of increased burliness. First off, he’s on pace to hit twenty plus home runs. He hasn’t hit that mark since 2005. So far this season, his ground-ball, line-drive, and fly-ball ratios are in line with his career track record. However, his HR/FB ratio has increased dramatically. Currently, his HR/FB is 12.7%. That’s almost double what it was last season and is the highest it’s been since 2004. Like most stats, there is a factor of luck in HR/FB ratios, but hitting the crap out of the ball helps more than anything. He wouldn’t be driving balls out of the park like this if he wasn’t significantly stronger.
Right now, the old veteran is the Rockies’ most consistent and dangerous hitter. As bad as they’ve been offensively, it would’ve been much worse without Helton. Of course, his back is still a concern, but I’m not worrying about that right now. This squad has given us enough to fret over. Todd’s resurgence as an all-star caliber player deserves more attention and should be celebrated by Rockies’ faithful.
For the last month, I’ve felt like a few wins might pull the Rox out of their funk. Clearly that hasn’t happened. But, there are signs they might be turning a corner. They just went 4-5 on this recent road trip, and, honestly, if they can play around .500 baseball on the road, we have to be happy. Also, don’t look now, but they have a winning record in June.
The most important thing is that this team figures out how to win at home. Starting tonight, they have ten straight at Coors. To me, anything less than seven wins is unacceptable. Somehow, they’re still in third place despite their woeful play. They can turn this thing around, but it has to start soon.