So It’s September, football is starting, the leaves are changing… And the Rockies are making their annual playoff push.
It happened in 2007 when the Rockies winning ways landed them a spot in the Series versus Boston, it happened last year during another playoff push sans Matt Holliday, and it’s happening again this year thanks to a 10 game winning streak that has pushed the Rockies to within a game and a half of first place in the NL West.
How have they done it? How do all great runs happen? Timely hitting, great pitching and a little luck. The pitching has come from this year’s Cy Young leader Ubaldo Jimenez. Jimenez has been the man ever since he no-hit the Braves in the spring and has cruised to a sub 3 ERA and a NL high 18 wins. Also Matt Belisle has been a strong man out of the bullpen with a 2.75 ERA.
Of course this is Colorado, so offense is still the main attraction. With Ruan Spilborghs and Troy Tulowitzki coming up with clutch hits time and time again they have offset a dismal year from the always steady Todd Helton. However, the man has been Carlos Gonzalez who has had the breakout year of breakout years.
(there’s something about that number 5 in left field ther, just ask Holliday.)
Gonzalez is one of the three triple crown, MVP candidates in the NL, leading the league with a .337 batting average, 4th in home runs and 3rd in RBI. Gonzalez’s breakout year desperately filled a void in the lineup left by Holliday a year ago and has added a great component to an already
Lastly luck always a big role in the Rockies late runs… And it seems to invoke the San Diego Padres in some way.
In 2007 the Padres led the NL wildcard, but faltered late down the stretch which coincided with the Rockies run of 20 straight wins and included that breathtaking playoff game that ended with a Holliday faceplant.
This year the Rockies winning ways come during the Padres 10 game losing streak which watched them go from ten up on the Rockies in August to a game and a half lead today, which includes a three game sweep by Colorado earlier this month in San Diego. The Padres must love watching Colorado play in rocktober.
You can also thank the unknown players for giving Colorado a boost. Besides Belisle, players like Jason Giambi (Yankee great) have come up with clutch game winning hits to put the Rocks over the edge.
The question is can the Rockies do it again?
Three times in four years seems like a lot to ask out of one team, but the Rockies have turned this into an art form. It’s as if Colorado flips the on switch on August 31st and it runs deep into October.
This week’s series against San Diego will be their latest test.
The Padres haven’t been able to score runs at all in their last 15 games… Heck all season! However, in the offense friendly confines of Coord Field Adrian Gonzalez and company may be able to get it going.
If the Rockies can Take two from the Padres at Coors that would leave them a Hal game back with less than 20 games to go with 10 games left against non playoff competition while San Diego still has series left against St. Louis and Cincinnati.
Colorado could essentially put themselves in the drivers seat with a great series in the next 3 days.
If it happens again we shouldn’t be surprised. This is Colorado’s time of year. Leaves changing colors, weather turning colder, and the Rockies getting on a role and making a late postseason push. You may be amazed. Me? I’m used to it. I’m surprised they haven’t won 15 straight by now.