At the very least the Rockies won't have to face Kansas City again for a few more years. That's about the only good thing you can take away from the series completed Sunday, as Aaron Cook's quest for 20 wins suffered another setback and the Rockies retreated with their tails between their legs from one of the least competitive series they've played all year. Along with Philadelphia, the Royals have a season sweep of Colorado for 2008. The Royals!
The Rockies can erase this past setback and get back to the winning ways they were at least starting to flash before they met the K.C. buzzsaw. You couldn't have picked a better opponent: it's the hated, overrated Tigers and our personal nemesis Jim Leyland. I was ridiculed, immediately after the Miguel Cabrera/Dontrelle Willis trade, when I said I couldn't believe how lopsided it was... in the Marlins' favor. How you like me now? The Tigers are an unremarkable 38-40, at a performance-to-payroll ratio not all that much better than Seattle's. Cabrera is hitting an only-OK .273/.347/.457, has been outhomered by Marcus Thames, and there's already been grumbling in the Detroit papers about his conditioning. Cabrera lasted all of one month into a seven-year contract extension before having to move off of third base. Dontrelle Willis is hurt and maybe done, and the Marlins are surprisingly good, again. The only thing necessary to complete my vindication is a series victory in Detroit by the Rockies this weekend.
The Rockies getting handled by their eastern neighbors was hardly the big story in the NL West this week. Can you believe that the Arizona Diamondbacks, the toast of April, are now only one game over .500? They're just 40-39, hardly better than the Tigers. It's obvious now that when Arizona stormed out to a 20-8 start, it was merely the effect of them fattening up on a lousy division and particularly a Rockies roster and management team that had already decided as of Opening Day to take this season off and bask in the World Series-appearance glow. At the time I was willing to accept that the quantum leap the D-Backs' offense seemed to have taken was legit. After all, there's any number of guys on their roster we've been reading about as prospects for years. As it turned out, Arizona's young offense still can't get on base consistently -- their .323 OBP is 12th in the NL. They were arrogant to think they could give away guys like Carlos Quentin and Jose Valverde as if they had them to spare. One thing they did get right -- Dan Haren is a bad man. Without him this month they'd already be under .500.
So is the NL completely worthless in 2008? As much so as it was last year? Well, the NL West is obviously a trash heap. The Mets seem far worse, and while the version of the Phillies the Rockies got this year looked like a playoff team, other NL teams have seen different incarnations of Philadelphia. Atlanta is too dependent on a few very old, very injury-prone players. But the Cubs are really good. Can this be so? The Cubs are the only absolutely, positively postseason-worthy team in the National League? Either something is horribly wrong, or it's 1907.