Well, it is August. Kids are going back to school, the weather has reached its pinnacle for the year before making that slow decline to what, annually, is predicted as the worst winter to come since 2003 here in Colorado, and, more important than anything, baseball is down to the homestretch.
There are two more months until playoff baseball comes calling and our Colorado Rockies are in a winner-take-all cage match to reach the playoffs against the Dodgers and Diamondbacks in the NL-West. Unfortunately, much like their games of late, the Rockies seem to be coming up short ate in the game.
July was a monster for the Rockies who won 17 of their 23 games in the month. The Rockies had some notable series in their as well which made the month even sweeter. They swept a 3 game series with the Giants early in the month to solidify their middle of the pack placement in the division. They went 4-2 in the six games they played against the Arizona Diamondbacks to make a strong case why they should be first or second in the division. They beat up on teams with a similar or slightly better record in the Seattle Mariners and the Oakland Athletics. To top it off, they split a 2 game matchup with the extremely talented Houston Astros. The July Rockies looked like contenders.
Then came August and it is not starting out well. After splitting the first 2 games of a 4 game series with the St. Louis Cardinals in the last games of July, the Rockies dumped the next 2 games in St. Louis to start out August. Running out of St. Louis as fast as they could Colorado found themselves in Milwaukee against a good Brewer’s team for a 3 game series and once again Colorado dumped the first game. 3 days of August and 3 L’s in the books.
What is the Colorado Rockies’ problem to start out August? It seems they can’t finish games. All three contests have been close affairs until the last inning or two. Colorado actually led the final game against St. Louis and the first game against the Brewers of the games up until the ninth inning and the other game against St. Louis in August, they were only down one run up until the 8th where they fell apart. If the Rockies can’t finish the game in one way or another the season is going to feel much like their first three games in August – solid start, strong middle, and a stagnant end.
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I’m sure there is a lot of finger pointing to go around in the Colorado Rockies locker room after three tough loses to start August, but the bottomline is everyone is to blame. The offense just stops and the pitching gets suspect when the final few innings have set in. On offense the hits just stop and the Rockies start swinging at anything that comes their way. Strikeouts ,easily caught pop-flies, and force outs to nullify the few late game hits the Rockies do get, make for scoring droughts. On defense the pitching just gets awful late in the game and relief is no where in sight in the bullpen. Walking players late in the game and giving up hits has plagued the late inning pitchers and then one lazily thrown ball creates scoring opportunities for the other team. Both offense and defense aren’t giving the other any room for error.
The series against Milwaukee has just started and the middle game of three is tonight, then one final game on Sunday. These next two are must win games on the road to turn the Rockies August around. If the Rockies can learn to close out these games and in-turn the season, there is a good chance they can take over the NL-West division before the end of this season. They certainly need to figure out how to close games before division rival L.A. Dodgers roll into Coors Field next week.