Let's be honest: stalking the 2011 MLB standings with over 75 percent of the season left to go is a bit premature. But when the Colorado Rockies enter a series with the San Francisco Giants and emerge with just a one-game lead in the NL West following a losing sweep, fans will certainly believe they are certainly seeing the writing on the outfield wall: "This team is in first place, but they sure as hell aren't playing like a team there. Time to make some changes."
Of course, that's countered by other fans: "Look, a team wins 60 and loses 60, it's the other 42 that count. Even the best teams lose five of their last six games at some point." At this point in the season, where does a team strike a balance between what those two opinions express? How much longer do the Rockies stick with Felipe Paulino and Franklin Morales in the bullpen? Both have exceptional fastballs--if they ever harm them. What is to be done at third base, as Jose Lopez and Ian Stewart still lag behind in production there?
If the Rockies are still asking these questions in a month, they may no longer be first in the division.
The Rockies return home for an eight-game homestand that ends with the Giants, but it starts on Monday with a series against the Mets. The Giants meanwhile have Monday off before they host the Arizona Diamondbacks for a three-game series. The Dodgers, who are only 3.5 games out, visit the Pirates for four games, starting Monday.
The full NL West standings: