It's for the best, I swear, that the so-so Blue Jays pounded the riding-high Rockies into so much purple mulch this weekend at the "Rogers Centre." Colorado needed a reality check, although I don't see why the brutal Fuentes/defensive meltdown Friday night was entirely necessary, especially after Troy Tulowitzki's big 10th-inning home run. Well, get swept, lose two of three, either way, the team was going to lose a series eventually, and this loss confirms that they neither possess magical interleague play power nor can afford to keep striking out at such a raging pace.
I was silent on the subject all weekend for a couple of reasons. First, I had a whole really funny "scourge of the AL East" column ready to run Friday night until Fuentes bollixed it up. Second, it's so hot in Boulder right now that all I really want to do is sit in the sweet spot where the air flow from both of my house fans meets and play Harvest Moon DS in my boxer shorts with my tongue hanging out slightly. Third, I have been very much occupied working myself into a frenzy for my new band's gig in Denver tonight.
Besides all of those very good reasons, I've put a lot of effort towards restraining my enthusiasm during what's indisputably the longest sustained stretch of quality Rockies play since the wild card season of 1995. I know this team still has a lot of work to do. But now that the hot run is over, I do have to pat them on the back a little, and I hate doing that. It must be done, though. Everyone had buried them, and they clawed their way out of the grave. Was it Clint Hurdle's doing? Well, obviously on this one occasion Clint's tendency to not show much of a reaction one way or another about anything paid off as Hurdle gave no indication that he was at wit's end and the team clearly didn't tighten up or abandon ship like the White Sox and Orioles already have so far this year. There are many names that deserve individual accolades for this long stretch of contender-like play in Denver. Garrett Atkins, for relocating his swing. The bullpen as a collective, including guys like Jorge Julio and LaTroy Hawkins for accepting a more merit-based system of assignments and pitching well in the middle and late innings alike. Maybe even Willy Taveras a little. A very little. The big three though, I think: Matt Holliday, Kaz Matsui, and Jeff Francis.