Now that’s more like it.
In the Month of May, the Rockies stunk up the place. In fact, they were downright putrid, and pretty much played the team out of contention. On April 30th, the Rockies were exactly .500, and 4.5 games out of first. On May 30th, they were already 9 games under .500, and 11.5 games behind the front-running Dodgers. In the month of May alone, the Rockies suffered through a 5-game losing streak, a 4-game losing streak, and a 6-game losing streak. It’s easy to see how the Rockies plummeted down the standings.
But as the calendar turned from May to June, the Rockies may have turned over a new leaf, and their play of late has them smelling like roses. They have won six of seven, and even had a nice 5-game winning streak of their own, their longest of the 2012 campaign. They captured their first sweep of the season, albeit against the lowly Astros, and also won a series against the Dodgers, making up ground in the process.
Are the winds of change swirling in the Rockies favor? What has caused this recent breath of fresh air to circulate through the Front Range? Here are some reasons for the Rockies recent resurgence.
Dexter Fowler is hot, and the Rockies are finally getting some production from the leadoff spot. Since Jim Tracy inserted Dex at the top of the Rockies line up seven games ago, he has jumpstarted the Rockies offense. He is 15 for 27, with six walks, a double, two triples, and two home runs. More importantly, the Rockies are 6 and 1. Coincidence? Maybe, maybe not. But Marco Scutaro was not getting it done at the top of the lineup and Fowler currently is doing exactly that. Dexter is setting the table, and his teammates are driving him in. Dex has scored 13 runs in the last seven games, scoring at least one run in every contest.
Carlos Gonzalez is even hotter, and is locked in at the plate right now. During the Rockies recent home stand, “Lil Pony” was the Rockies main horse, posting big offensive numbers. He hit 15 for 30 (.500), with 4 HR and 9 RBI. His four home runs were in consecutive at bats, tying a major league record. He currently ranks among the national league elite in many statistical categories – .332 average (6th), 14 HR (2nd), 45 RBI (2nd), 45 runs (1st), 67 hits (3rd), and a nice .634 slugging percentage (1st). Cargo is earning his coin right now and his sizzling hot bat is a pleasure to watch.
The starting pitching is steady. Let’s be honest. It’s no secret the Rockies have a highly questionable starting rotation. But they are all in with their younger arms, and the new rotation held up last week. Outman’s most recent outing produced many outs, even if his start was too brief (3 innings) to produce a victory. Christian Friedrich and Alex White both pitched brilliantly in their last appearances, and both spearheaded Rockies victories.
Weak opponents. Let’s not get carried away here. The Rockies swept the Houston Astros, who are not good. And then they won two of three from the Dodgers, who were without superstar Matt Kemp. Beating a team that has its best player shelved on the disabled list is no great feat.
Let’s see if the Rockies can continue this hot streak against stauncher competition and away from home. They travel to Arizona for a three game set, and then return home for some inter-league play against the Angels, who are just as hot as the Rox right now. The Rockies are still a below .500 team with a lot to prove, but there is no question their play of late has been a refreshing breath of fresh air.
Follow Zach Cohn on twitter @zscohn1.