With the completion of the All-Star break the Colorado Rockies now find themselves facing reality. They currently stand 8.5 games behind the division leading San Francisco Giants and 10.5 games behind the National League Wild Card leading Atlanta Braves.
Before we get to the Rockies let’s take a look at their competition in both races. The defending World Series Champion Giants have followed up their performance last year with an impressive 52-40 record at the half. The scary thing about the Giants is that they have been playing so strong collectively despite injuries to key players. World Series MVP Cody Ross missed the first 17 games of the 2011 season with a calf injury. Outfielder Andres Torres missed 26 games with a strained left Achilles, but has since returned. He is a good fourth outfielder who can run up opponents pitch count and provide some extra speed on the base path. Barry Zito who was looking to bounce back from an off year missed time with a sprained right foot, but perhaps the most devastating injury this year in all of baseball happened to Buster Posey. In a controversial collision at home plate involving Florida Marlin Scott Cousins, Posey suffered a broken fibula and torn ligaments in his left ankle and lower leg. The original diagnosis was that Posey would miss 4-6 months, ending the 2010 Rookie of the Year’s sophomore season. With all these injuries, the Giants should be struggling, but with breakout seasons from Ryan Vogelsong and Mike Fontanot coupled with strong play from rookies Brandon Belt, Brandon Crawford, and Emmanuel Burris, the Giants still look pretty good. As more players come off the disabled list, the Giants management has the luxury of a deep roster and can afford to rest their stars as they see fit.
The National League Wild Card race is one that looks even tougher for the Rocks. The Atlanta Braves are 54-38 and are nipping on the heels of their division leader, the Philadelphia Phillies. If the Rockies are going to make it to the postseason, it looks like they will have to knock off the defending champs and will have a better opportunity to than against the Braves due to their division match-ups with San Francisco.
The Colorado Rockies finish the first half of the 2011 MLB season with a dismal record of 43-48. After winning 17 of 25, Colorado has cooled off significantly and battled injuries to key players and pitching inconsistency. Lately, the Rockies have lost games to top level teams, but haven’t managed to win the games that they should. If they are serious about a second half playoff run they can’t afford to drop any games against teams like the Padres or Royals like they have.
The Rockies pitching staff has had their share of setback in the early parts of the season. Jorge De La Rosa’s season ended after suffering a torn ligament after an impressive 5-2 record. Jason Hammel has been pitching poor lately as well going 5-8 on the season with a 4.23 ERA. The only bright spot in the pitching rotation so far has been Jhoulys Chacin who is 8-7 with a 3.16 ERA.
For the Rockies to be successful they need their big three of Troy Tulowitzki, Carlos Gonzalez, and Ubaldo Jimenez to all play at the top of their game or pretty close to it. Troy Tulowitzki did make the All-Star Game, but is hitting only .268 on the season. Tulo’s power numbers are pretty god with 17 home runs and 57 RBI’s. Troy suffered a quad injury before the All-Star break and actually played in the ASG, but whether or not it will be a lingering issue remains to be seen. Carlos Gonzalez began the 2011 season on a cold streak, but it looks like the move to leadoff hitter has breathed new life into the young outfielder who now has 13 home runs and 51 RBI’s. Ubaldo Jimenez started the season out very poorly, struggling with his velocity and location before spending some time on the disabled list with a cracked cuticle on his pitching thumb.
In the second half of July, the Rockies’ schedule looks more of the same. They square off against the National League’s elite in Atlanta and Milwaukee, but also have division games against the Diamondbacks and the struggling Dodgers and Padres. August’s schedule opens up against some very good teams in Philadelphia, Cincinatti, and St. Louis. The second half of August looks very winnable with series against Los Angeles (Dodgers), Houston, Los Angeles again, and Arizona. Look for the easier games to continue into September with the month’s first two series against San Diego and Arizona before facing the Giants in two different series. Overall, Colorado’s second half schedule doesn’t look overly difficult, but if they are planning to make a run at the playoffs, they will need to go through some of the big teams.Back to the Colorado Rockies Newsfeed