BY LESLIE MONTEIRO
It’s not early anymore.
It’s starting to get late.
There comes a time when the Rockies have to make a run in the NL West standings if they want to be taken seriously as a contender in the division.
Now is the time for the Rockies to take advantage of a homestand featuring three awful teams in the Cubs, Marlins and Brewers.
It’s now or never. It’s hard to believe the Rockies can recover if they have a bad homestand, especially with them playing 20 of their next 26 games on the road. If they can’t beat these teams, it’s hard to feel confident about the Rockies beating teams in the division.
It was bad enough the Rockies played awful Friday night when they mustered only five hits in their 3-1 loss to the Cubs.
It’s easy to wonder if they have it in them to do well in this homestand if they lost last night.
After the Rockies struggled to get anything going against Carlos Villanueva in the first few innings, they finally got to him in the middle of the game, and they went on to a 9-3 victory over the Cubs last night at Coors Field.
Everything went so right for the Rockies in this game that the fans received free tacos from participating Taco Bell locations in Colorado after the Rockies scored their seventh run, which is always the case after the Rockies score seven runs.
It was a night the team could enjoy.
It has been a tough stretch for the Rockies this month. They were last in runs scored. They scored only 37 runs overall in their last 14 games. They grounded into so many double plays rather than creating a big inning.
There’s no question the guys are frustrated. The losses and offensive woes wear on the guys after awhile.
Last night was a relief for the Rockies. Maybe it will get them going the rest of the homestand.
The fourth inning was what started it all for the Rockies.
The Rockies grinded out some good at-bats in that inning, and that resulted to Todd Helton hitting a single and Wilin Rosario hitting a double.
Nolan Arenado tied the game at 1 by grounding out to first, scoring Helton from third.
With Rosario at third and Juan Nicasio working out a walk, the onus was on Dexter Fowler to give the Rockies the lead with a base hit with two outs in the inning.
Settling for a tie was not good enough. Not when Villanueva was struggling in the fourth inning. The Rockies could not bail him out when they had the opportunity to break the game open.
Fowler came through with a triple that gave the Rockies a 3-1 lead.
That was the turning point of the game. The hitters relaxed, and there was no more pressure about coming through in situational hitting. The guys could play instead of thinking about failure or trying to do too much.
That’s why Fowler’s hit was important. From there, everyone followed his lead.
Carlos Gonzalez led off the fifth inning by hitting a home run that extended the Rockies’ lead to 4-1. Overall, the Rockies had five straight hits in that inning.
The Rockies scored four runs in the fifth inning to extend their lead to 7-1.
That inning went the Rockies’ way to the point Villanueva was out of the ballgame.
When a pitcher is taken out of the game, it’s a sign the hitters did their job.
The Rockies added two more runs in the eighth inning to maintain their lead over the Cubs to 9-3.
It was a night the Rockies needed. They had to get it going on offense, and they had to win the game. They can’t keep blowing winnable games and having games like Friday night where the offense was not there.
The Rockies could not be in a position to get swept by the awful Cubs this afternoon.
There was so much on the line in this game. They can’t start the homestand by losing two straight. If that was the case, this homestand could spiral out of the control by which guys would start doubting themselves.
The Rockies have been resilient overall, but now, they have to show their mettle at a crucial juncture.
If there is a bad homestand, the Rockies can call it quits for this season. It’s going to be tough for them to recover, and it would be hard to take them seriously.
This weekend is a referendum for the Rockies to show they can be in this race. It’s going to come down to their hitting.
They executed well in the nick of time.
Now, they have to do it again today and the rest of the homestand.
Their season depends on it.
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