BY LESLIE MONTEIRO
Where was this the last few weeks?
The Rockies swept the Pirates by earning a 3-2 victory yesterday afternoon. They earned the sweep by executing in all facets of the game this weekend. They hit, pitch and field well. That’s something they have hard time doing since May.
It was refreshing to watch. That’s the type of product the Rockies should be delivering when they are playing.
It was a different Rockies team. They played with a sense of purpose. It seemed like they played well with no pressure on them now that they are out of the division race and wild-card race. This is about players playing for themselves.
The players know they are going to take the blame if the Rockies have another losing season. It was easy to blame Jim Tracy last year since he couldn’t manage at all. As bad as Walt Weiss has done as a manager, he can’t be the only one that is taking the blame this year.
The problem with the Rockies is not about the lack of talent. It’s about guys that don’t know how to win. It seems they don’t do well when the pressure is on. It shouldn’t take the second week of August for them to put everything together when they are 13 games out of first place. This doesn’t speak well of their star players when they can’t do well when the pressure is on.
Make no mistake. This is about the players saving their reputation. They want to show management they are the solution for the Rockies as the franchise moves forward. They don’t want to be everything that is wrong about the Rockies.
The Rockies can talk about being in the division race and the wild-card race, but they know better. The Dodgers are too good to blow their lead in the NL West, and the Rockies are not good enough to go on a tear like the Royals are doing by winning 16 of their 19 games or the Dodgers winning 37 of their last 45 games.
The problem with the Rockies is they are inconsistent when it comes to their hitting. They also can’t win on the road. It’s hard to be a playoff team that way.
This is not about the Rockies making the playoffs now. This is about finishing with a winning record. That’s a reasonable goal for this team to have after finishing last season with 98 losses.
For some fans, finishing the season strong does not mean much. It’s about playoffs or bust. That’s how fans view success in four of the main professional sports.
It means more for the players after what they experienced last season by enduring so many losses for the final months of the season. They want to feel good about themselves in the offseason. It’s understandable why they would think differently than the fans. They don’t want to be miserable by enduring losses game after game. It was a depressing feeling last year for them. That’s why they have so much to play for in the final seven weeks of the season.
This weekend was a good start for the Rockies. Now, they have to sustain this. That’s been a problem all year. It’s about time they had more than a five-game winning streak.
If they can finish August strong, they can be interesting to watch next month.
Rockies fans will settle for winning baseball by their team for the final two months. That’s the only thing they got going the rest of the way.
It’s imperative the Rockies are not mailing it in like they have done the last two years at this part of the season, and that’s why this weekend had some meaning.
This weekend was a relief for the players. They did not have to answer questions about why they are playing bad. Instead, they can talk about how good they can be and how they still have time to make a run. They can feel good about themselves heading to the next series. That’s the type of feeling they need to experience.
Losing takes a toll on the guys in the end. They work so hard all season to mail it in. That’s why there is incentive to finish the season strong.
Playing for pride may not mean much for the average fan, but it certainly is for the Rockies.
That itself is why this weekend was encouraging.
They may not play for Weiss, but they are certainly playing for themselves.
What we learned this weekend is the Rockies still have a pulse based on their sweep against a good Pirates team.
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