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Friday, April 20, 2018

Are These the ’07 Rockies All Over Again?

The 2007 Colorado Rockies were a mediocre team playing around .500 ball most of the season until September. That month, the team went from 69-66 to 89-73, finishing up the year going 12-1 to force a one-game playoff with the Padres to determine the National League Wild Card winner. After beating the Padres, they continued their hot play by sweeping the Phillies and Diamondbacks before ultimately crapping out against the Red Sox in the World Series. What they did was not only improbable but also alarming — how could a team go from being average for 80% of the season to stellar the other 20% and wind up as the top team in the league? Well their luck seemed to catch up with them last year and this year’s team seemed to be following the same form. Until May 29th when everything changed.

The Rockies decided that they needed to switch it up at the top and they fired manager Clint Hurdle. Hurdle was the same guy who presided over the World Series run so clearly he’s capable of leading a team to success, but it was apparent whatever was happening with him in charge wasn’t working. The front office fired him and promoted Jim Tracy who’s collected unemployment checks following stints with the Dodgers and Pirates. While Trace has made some important changes like moving Clint Barmes up in the order and dropping Garrett Atkins, the roster is pretty much the same. The difference is the team is hearing a new voice and feeling like they have a fresh start which clearly was necessary. Now the starting pitchers are performing and the hitters are turning things around.

The results have been astounding. On Monday night, the Rockies got out to a 3-0 lead against the Angels and pounced in the 5th with a Brad Hawpe 3-run home run to make it 6-1. They wound up winning 11-1 for their 17th victory in 18 games. The team is now 19-5 since firing Clint Hurdle and four games over .500 instead of 10 games under. Even when the Rockies were hot, they were still around the .500 mark and therefore not worth mentioning. But now they’re within reach of the Dodgers the way they’re playing, and certainly a serious player for the Wild Card spot once again. I don’t know how long this will last but the warning label has been advertised: watch out, this team might be for real once again.

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