|Rockies Streaking Toward October Again||| Print |||Send|
Written by Jonathan Leshanski (Contact & Archive) on September 13, 2010
It happens every September in the mountains of Colorado, just before the weather really starts getting cold. It happens first at the higher elevations, but the trees begin to react to the change of the season and as the leaves fall, so does a rather unusual pollen. The rain sweeps it into the subterranean aquifers where it builds up in the water table harmlessly sitting locked away from humanity by layers of shale and granite, at least until man intervenes and pumps that water into the reservoir that supplies metropolitan Denver.
Whatever it is, it transforms the Rockies into September juggernauts and coupled with a San Diego collapse, the Rockies find themselves right in the mix with the Padres and Giants for the NL West title. And they aren't just in the divisional hunt but the Wild Card hunt as well, and - with apologies to the Braves, Reds, Padres and Giants - the Rockies are the team no one else in baseball wants to face when they are tearing it up.
They've tamed Coors Field, and while the splits are still better at home for the offensive players, the pitchers have learned not just to pitch there but away from home too. Plenty of good baseball folks think the Red Sox broke the curse back in 2004 only because the Rockies had to wait nine days before they got to play in the Worlds Series, time enough for the mojo to cool and the momentum to vanish.
The Rockies are 10-2 in September and 17-4 since August 22 when everything just seemed to gel. And NINE of those wins have come on the road which says something about their turnaround considering that before this run the Rockies had only managed 20 wins on the road all season (with the nine wins their road record currently is 29-42).
Now they'll have to prove that their road prowess is for real. Of their final 19 games ten will come on the road - all against teams who have little left to play for (unless St. Louis manages a major turnaround) the rest of the year. That doesn't mean that the Dodgers, D-Backs or Cards are going to ease up, but the door will be open, as all of those teams will be giving their farmhands a chance to strut their stuff while the Rockies regulars will be playing for the chance to move forward.
But the Rox won't just have the also-rans to contend with; they'll face the Giant and Padres three more times each with the head-to-head matchup coming where the Rockies want to see them most, Coors Field, where the Rockies have the second best home record of any team in baseball (Atlanta's is a game better) at 50-22. That's a serious advantage for the Rockies as they open their set with the struggling Padres tonight.
One could certainly say that the September cards have been falling right for the Rockies, and everything looks to once again be in their favor the rest of the way. The Rockies biggest obstacle might well be what they do when this winning streak ends, and it certainly will in the not too distant future. They'll have to get back up on their horse, possibly on the road and start a new one.
If they can do that, all bets are off as to who'll win not just the West, but the entire National League.