In both 2009 and 2010 the Colorado Rockies were the epitome of a team making a late season run and crushing the hopes of other teams who were thought to be shoe-ins for the playoffs. However on September 21st of 2011 the Rockies are 19.5 games back of the on the verge NL West champion Arizona Diamondbacks. A season ago today they were in a much different situation being only 2.5 games back of the eventual World Series champion San Francisco Giants.
So one has to wonder, where did they go? Did they fade off into the distance? Did all of their star players fail this season?
Hold on a second. Their star shortstop Troy Tulowitzki is batting .305 with 30 home runs and 105 rbis, their star center fielder Carlos Gonzalez is batting .295 with 26 homers and 92 rbis, and their star first baseman Todd Helton is batting .302 with 14 homers and 69 rbis. So what happened?
Well their season didn’t necessarily ever hit rock bottom however when they traded their ace Ubaldo Jimenez on July 30th to the at the time surging Cleveland Indians the Rockies essentially threw up not only the white flag but also their season. So now its beginning to hit me, yes their hitting was amazing last year and along with their massive amount of fan support they almost made the playoffs, but what helped their hitting succeed, their pitching?
The Rockies are also the complete opposite of the epitome that pitching wins ballgames. As I browsed the Rockies website today I noticed that Jason Hammel and Jhoulys Chacin were the only two starters who qualified for ERA and WHIP on the season according to their homepage. Not only that but these two starters who are at the top of the Rockies rotation have a total of 18 wins combined so far this season. CY Young hopeful Clayton Kershaw has more on his own with a weaker offense.
So there you have it. Well I think you do. The Rockies indeed were once the ideal late-surging, playoff hopes crushing, September team to watch but they are now also the ideal team to look at and say, they won’t succeed because their pitching isn’t good enough.
Yes the Rockies can strike fear in an opposing pitcher by sending up Troy Tulowitzki, Carlos Gonzalez, and Todd Helton back to back to back. But even if you have Juan Pierre batting in the fourth hole, you have a good chance to win. The Phillies just backup my statement even further that pitching wins ball-games. They have the hitting that the Rockies have, maybe a little more, but what they have that the Rockies don’t is four starters with a combined 56-32 record and a combined 2.70 ERA that will most likely be pitching deep into October.
In other news: Manny hit a new low as he is reportedly ineligible to join a team in the Dominican Republic. Oh well. I guess I will just have to wait until next season to see more of Manny being Manny on ESPN, hopefully.