Well, that was fun while it lasted. A loss to Dontrellemania and the Marlins brings the Rockies back down to .500, 27-27, and for good measure deposits them in their old familiar position as the last place team in the NL West. If anything, it points out how well the Rockies were doing for a while there. They've been playing flat-out lousy for two weeks, and it took them this long to lose their winning record! It's just one game on the schedule in the grand scheme of things but this particular contest seemed like a microcosm of Colorado's recent failures. The starting pitching was okay, but not quite good enough. Clint Hurdle's bullpen decisions were a tad on the peculiar side (Sunny Kim, who hasn't pitched effectively in the majors this calendar year, was brought into a one-run game). Production from the guys expected to be secondary contributors in the offense continues to be inadequate. Clint Barmes' homer tonight was only his third of the year. The Rockies' continued difficulties with the catcher position were highlighted this evening by the season debut of Yorvit Torrealba (0 for 4). Cheers are in order for the Colorado bench, however. Cory Sullivan and Brad Hawpe didn't start due to the tough lefty starter and Ryan Spilborghs and Choo Freeman each had hits in their stead. Spilborghs' was a homer.
Are we happy with the Rockies' progress to this point, or do we feel like they're squandering the opportunity their early-season success granted them? I said before the season began that I'd be quite happy with 75 wins, and I still would be. It's becoming increasingly clear that the NL West isn't going to be won with 84-86 wins this year, and while Colorado might be able to finesse their way to that kind of win total, they're not a ninety-win team by any stretch of the imagination. I'm not punting on the season this early, but let's not get ahead of ourselves. The Rockies weren't really planning on contending this season unless by happy accident, and more or less every substantial contributor on this year's team will be around for next season. The Rockies are not quite as good as they were for the first several weeks of 2006, nor as bad as they appear right now, and it's fine with me if they stay the course for a while. When the trade deadline is more of a looming reality, we may reassess. If Colorado can trade Jose Mesa for actual value, that would make the whole season from my perspective. Well, also I'd like to see them bust out the purple jerseys again.
I know I said I wasn't going to dwell on the whole Onward Christian Soldiers thing, but I have noticed something slightly alarming about the journalistic community's response to the USA Today article. Christianity is the new altitude! Already in a power rankings column somewhere and a Rob Neyer chat transcript I've seen writers making cheap jokes about St. Clint and his 25 apostles instead of offering legitimate measured answers to honest questions about the Rockies. Here I thought we had come so far. I hope this trend dies out soon, but I'll be keeping an eye open. I watch everything. Just like God!