Now like many of us Rockies fans, I was pleasantly surprised with how the Rox started the season. Sitting only 4 1/2 games out of the NL West lead is not too bad considering how dreadful the Rox were last year. Walt Weiss seems to have revamped this team and now their seems to be more desire and passion. Sitting at 45-60, the Rockies may actually play meaningful baseball late into the summer this year!
Looking back at the first half of the season, starting pitchers Jhoulys Chacin, Jorge De La Rosa, and Tyler Chatwood have all been very good this year. I am really starting to love Tyler Chatwood, the kid has that fire in his eyes and he seems determined to be a successful starting pitcher. Next you have Juan Nicasio who has been very up and down but if he can continue to repeat performances like his last start, I say keep him in the starting rotation.
Now that last starting pitching is up for grabs completely. Jeff Francis, Roy Oswalt, and even Drew Pomeranz (not likely) all have a shot. One of them needs to step up and be a factor this 2nd half of the season. Relief pitching has been pretty good I would have to say. Rex Brothers and Raphael Betancourt have been great and Matt Belisle has been effective in spurts considering the number innings he has thrown that last few seasons. However, Edgmer Escalona and Wilton Lopez have really been poor, and if the Rockies really want to contend for a playoff spot they need to be buyers and bring in some more pitching.
The offense has been above average I would say. The usual suspects of Cargo, Tulo, and Cuddy, have all done their jobs admirably and have carried the major load of responsibility. Wilin Rosario aka ‘The Baby Bull’ had a great star to the season but has really cooled off. Dexter Fowler seems much more confident at the plate this year, and his defense is always spectacular. I also want to shed some light on the youth movement of the Rockies. Youngsters Josh Rutledge, D.J. Lemathieu, and off course Nolan Arenando!
This youth movement another continued succeeds is going to be essential to the Rockies second half chances if they are serious about being contenders. Yes, Todd Helton will still have his nights but he is going to need a lot more production from everyone else if they want to send the ‘Toddfather’ to retirement with a smile on his face.
To put it bluntly, the NL West is a very poor division. Any team realistically has a shot to win the division. The Dbacks who lead the division currently and the Padres, are both very young but just don’t have enough pitching I feel to go all the way. The Dbacks are the dark horse to hang on I feel. That leaves the Giants who have been really poor this season, but hey, Tim Lincecum just threw a 148 pitch no hitter with 13 strikeouts. The Giants are such a strange team to figure out, so they will remain a question mark.
That leaves the Dodgers and Rockies. When I say Dodgers, I mean Yasiel Puig. Puig-mania has taken over the MLB the last month and he has been the driving force leading LA back to only 2 1/2 games out of the first placed leading DBacks at the break. Not to mention they have Clayton Kershaw who at 25, is already drawing comparisons to sandy Koufax the Dodger great. He is a stud on the mound, no question about it.
Finally, it’s our good old Colorado Rockies. I truly believe either the Dodgers or Rockies are going to win this division. It may sound crazy, but right out of the All Star Break, Colorado has a 10 game home-stand. If Colorado is serious about being contenders, I want to see them go at least 8-2. They are playing the Cubs and the Marlins. There will be and should not be any excuses. This has been a good year for the most part, besides Tulo being out for over a month and other nagging injuries to Cargo, Fowler, and Cuddy. The Rockies have been able to hang around. This is anyone’s division this year, come on Roux, take it, it’s yours!