I'm glad I went and looked up how many times the Rockies scored 10 runs in a road game last year (three) yesterday, because today I had to look something else up: the first time Colorado won a road series in 2005. It was after the All-Star Break -- July 18-20 at Washington. ("It is an accomplishment," said Clint Hurdle at the time. Someday someone less averse to hard work than I is going to put together a best-selling book of Clint's zingers.) This is the first road series of the year, and the Rockies have it won with a whole game left to go! The sky's the limit! The 2005 Rockies didn't sweep a single road series all season, and that is something that good teams occasionally do. It's certainly something teams on hot streaks do.
Let's talk about that for a second. Last year, the Padres essentially won the NL West by going 22-6 in May. The rest of the season they went 60-74. Conversely, the Rockies went 6-15 in April '05, giving up any hopes they might have held for the division title right there at the season's outset. The very early signs seem to indicate that in 2006 the division will not be very much if at all better than it was last year. That's great news for Colorado. This year it might very well be the one team in the NL West that manages to go on a sustained winning binge at one point that gets a cheap playoff berth. Or the team that avoids a big losing streak. Last year's Rockies club was too flawed to get any kind of winning streak going with all the dead weight in the rotation and negative-VORP guys getting starts in the field. Now? As for the offense, well, our margin for error is still razor thin. At this early point it sure looks like Eli Marrero was a shrewd pickup, however. Not to mention Jason Smith. We still have yet to see how Yorvit Torrealba will react to Coors Field, too -- though it is an absolute certainty that Danny Ardoin will not see a huge upward spike in his hitting numbers this year, Torrealba's days of being considered a legit two-way catching prospect are not far behind him. The rotation's a little better. Byung-Hyun Kim's imminent return will help things along in that department. Remarkably, both Josh Fogg and Zach Day have stated in their regular season starts claims to the permament fifth starter's job that they failed to make in spring training. Thank goodness for small favors. If someone gets hurt or washes out, the options are better than they were last year. No one like Jamey Wright is going to hang around for the whole year guaranteeing one loss a week for lack of any other reasonable candidates. Sun-Woo Kim is around. Miguel Asencio is around. There are worse guys starting in the major leagues now than Mike Esposito, many of them for the Reds. There are worse guys than Esposito starting for the Padres!
Which brings us around to the game. I was at another show, but it doesn't seem like there's much to say about this one -- you know, just another run of the mill blowout by the Rockies' Murderers' Row-like lineup. Everybody in the lineup hit, everybody in the lineup scored. Clint Barmes and Miguel Ojeda homered. Day, to his credit, was handed a seven-run lead, frittered away much of it in the bottom of the first, and then settled down and threw six shutout innings. Clint Hurdle used Tom Martin in the exact right situation (five-run lead) for once. We're tied for first place, you know. You don't have to look up when that was last true. After the famed Barmes homer/Mohr injury Opening Day 2005 win, the Rockies promptly lost eight in a row to effectively end the season before the first Coors Field snowout of the year.