|Dodgers Series may Determine Rockiesâ€™ Future||| Print ||
Written by Jonathan Leshanski (Contact & Archive) on June 29, 2009
That has to even have the Major League-leading Dodgers -- who have 48 wins -- looking over their shoulder.Â After all, the Rockies were essentially left for dead before June even rolled around.Â While the Dodgers still have a comfortable lead and a San Francisco team standing between them and the Rockies, a confrontation is brewing.
The Dodgers might be overconfident coming into the series that starts tonight in their home park.Â So far this season theyâ€™ve taken eight of nine from Colorado, and the return of Manny Ramirez is just days away.Â So what have they got to fear?
Well the Rockies arenâ€™t the same team the Dodgers have met three times previously this season.Â This is a new Rockies team, reformulated and re-inspired following the firing of former manager Clint Hurdle and under the leadership of current skipper Jim Tracy.Â These Rockies havenâ€™t won their games via smoke and mirrors, but on the strength of a revitalized offense, which has outscored their opponents 139-88 over the last 24 games and whose pitching has allowed over four runs just four times in that span (23 of those runs against them came in two of the three Rockies losses during this stretch).
In fact, as well as the offense has played, it might well be the pitching that really deserves the kudos for the Rockies.Â In this 24-game period the Rockies have held their opponents to three or fewer runs 13 times -- including five times at Coors (theyâ€™ve only played nine games at home in the last 24).Â That kind of quality pitching is the same recipe that propelled the Rockies to the World Series back in 2007.
For the Rox the next challenge will be sustaining this kind of quality.Â No one realistically expects the Rockies to sustain the .875 winning percentage theyâ€™ve boasted over the last 24, but even if they could manage to go .550 the rest of the way, theyâ€™ll find themselves battling for a playoff spot unless someone in another division finally steps it up.
A month ago there was no doubt that the Rockies would be sellers come the trading deadline in July, but now that whole premise is coming into question.Â How good are these Rockies?Â How scared should the rest of the NL be?Â Â This three-game set against the Dodgers might well be the deciding factor for management in determining if they can play for the whole thing or if they should dump salary and veterans before July ends.
You can be sure every other general manager who thinks they have a contender in the NL will be watching, anxious to see just how good these Rockies are.