The Rockies closed the gap to two games in the National League West, defeating the San Diego Padres 10-8 at Coors Field on Friday night.
In early June, the Colorado Rockies were a team defined by failing when it counted the most. They had not won a game in which they were trailing after seven innings.
In fact, they had won only one game when trailing after four innings. Essentially for fans at home, if the team got down, whether it be one run or nine runs, they could shut off the television and try to get a good night sleep. The Rockies were not coming back.
Flash forward to July 9th. After being down by three runs in the 7th inning, the Rockies once again came from behind. It was the fourth time they have erased a deficit of three or more runs in a week. On Friday, the hero was Ian Stewart. The third baseman launched a home run in the five run third inning and a grand slam to cap off a five run 7th inning. He became the latest hero in a week full of magic for the Rockies.
The week has been reminiscent of the Blake Street Bombers, before the humidor was installed at Coors Field. That was when closers were scared to death to come in with a five run lead in the 9th inning, knowing that in Denver, anything was possible.
This team, however, has quite a different feel than the teams of the late 90’s had. Routine fly balls aren’t landing 15 rows deep anymore. Sliders actually slide in Colorado now, and curveballs curve. 30-year old journeymen are no longer turning into 40 home run guys.
The difference is that these wins are not cheap. They are legitimate. They are orchestrated not by one hero hitting the ball out of the park, but by teammates banding together to get the job done. Instead of worrying about the next day’s pitcher, this team believes that they can beat anyone on any given day.
This team has a swagger that suggests this run is who they are, not the team of the first few months that struggled to beat teams that they are far superior to.
These Rockies are incredibly deep. When one guy does not get the job done, another simply steps up and fills his shoes. For an example, look no further than Dexter Fowler. Since returning to the big leagues, the speedy center fielder has been on fire. He played the hero on Wednesday night, absolutely drilling a three-run home run to right field to tie the game up. As good as he has been, on Friday night he went 0-for-5 with four strikeouts.
With Fowler having an off night, it was simply someone else’s night to be the hero. On Friday, Ian Stewart did that job, knocking in six runs on two home runs.
This club has a feeling about it. Normally when a team goes on a run like the Rockies are on (winning nine out of their last 11), everyone is waiting for them to come back to earth. While Colorado will most likely not continue to win at the clip that they currently are, they seem like they have finally figured out the winning formula. They have finally put it all together.
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