The Rockies are 63-60 with 39 games left. Ever since the Rockies started the second half and faced loss after loss and then repeated a win after a loss for several weeks, Rockies fans have written off the Rockies. Maybe the Rockies are done, but there are still several reasons why Rockies fans should still tune in to the Rockies over the last month-plus of the season.
5. Carlos Gonzalez
Quick, name the Rockies' leaders in the traditional stat categories. Carlos Gonzalez is at or near the top of all those categories. He's hitting .315/.347/.557 with 141 hits (21 doubles, six triples, 25 homers), 79 RBIs and 19 steals. Sounds like an MVP candidate to me. He's just fun to watch.
4. Jhoulys Chacin
If we learned anything from Jhoulys Chacin's start against the Diamondbacks yesterday, it's that Chacin has the makings of a solid contributor to the rotation next season. With Cook and Francis looking doubtful in the rotation next season and Jorge De La Rosa a free agent this offseason, the rotation will be anchored by Ubaldo Jimenez and Jason Hammel. Chacin is a necessary and important cog for the 2011 rotation. While Chacin has been up and down this season (both with the club and in performance), yesterday's tantalizing performance of 7 2/3 innings pitched, no runs allowed, and nine strikeouts needs to be repeated against stiff competition this season. If Chacin is dealing down the stretch, watch out.
3. Ubaldo Jimenez
Ubaldo Jimenez has slowed down considerably on his pursuit of the Cy Young award in the last two months, but he's still having the best season of any Rockies pitcher in team history. Eventually he'll break on through to the other side and nab his 18th win to set the franchise record. His 2.66 ERA and 1.104 WHIP as of now would stand as a franchise best. He'll also break Pedro Astacio's 1999 record of 210 strikeouts in a season.
While U-Ball looked like a Cy Young lock in early June, there are now several other candidates vying for the award. How high he'll finish will be determined by how well he pitches down the stretch and where the Rockies are in the standings when voters make their selections before the end of the season.
This is more of a lead into the first reason why the Rockies should still have everyone's attention. It'll take quite a bit to make up 11 games on the Padres, which is why this is a pipe dream most likely. Seven games out of the Wild Card? Now that's doable. Why? Continue reading.
1. 11-24, 23-16
Since the start of the second half of the season the Rockies played 11 games at home and 24 on the road. We know how well that turned out. However, in the last 39 games of the season the Rockies will play 23 games at home. And of the next 23 games, the Rockies play 17 at home. The Rockies are still in it to win it.
What makes this stretch even better for the Rockies is that they play a number of teams they are competing with for the Wild Card and the division. The Rockies play the two teams competing for the NL East, the Braves for three starting today and one game against the Phillies. The Rockies also play the two teams competing for the top of the NL Central in four-game series each. In early September, the Rockies play the Cincinnati Reds for four games at Coors and then finish the season with a four-game series against the Cardinals on the road. The Rockies also play a total of 12 games between the Giants (currently second in the West) and the Padres (first in the West).
Since the Rockies got hot at the right time two of the last three seasons, there's no reason they can't make it three out of four seasons. Ah, to be so optimistic. . .