"We've played as bad as we can play," O'Dowd said. "Now we're playing well. We'll have to see as we play out the ebb and flow of the season. We know we have a chance to be good. We've demonstrated we may not be."
The main issue is that the wildcard standings are a mess that hasn't really begun to sort itself out yet, or maybe it's just barely starting to sort itself out, but there are still eleven teams within five games of leaders San Francisco and St. Louis, and you could even include the Diamondbacks who some feel have a better claim to being able to make a comeback and get back into this than a couple of teams ahead of them. Let's take a look at those twelve teams and try and see how the Rockies really stack up:
San Francisco - ERA+ 118 (1st) OPS+ 79 (16th)
- Advantages- Already in the WC lead, strong pitching plus defense has given them the best run prevention unit in the league thus far.
- Disadvantages - They have the worst run scoring unit in the league thus far.
St. Louis ERA+ 107 (t-5th) OPS+ 96 (t-5th)
- Advantages - Solid all around team, should be a contender
- Disadvantages - Too much of the offensive load is being shouldered by Albert Pujols
NY Mets ERA+ 107 (t-5th) OPS+ 105 (2nd)
- Advantages - Also solid both offensively and defensively, might actually mean that we should look at the Phillies as the team to beat instead.
- Disadvantages - Holes in the pitching staff leave them somewhat vulnerable.
Cincinnati ERA+ 114 (t-3rd) OPS+ 85 (t-14th)
- Advantages - Strong pitching
- Disadvantages - Dusty Baker
Atlanta ERA+ 105 (7th) OPS+ 91 (11th)
- Advantages - Fairly strong pitching once again.
- Disadvantages - A weakness at the corners outside of Chipper leaves them with a pretty pathetic offense until they find an upgrade.
Chi Cubs ERA+ 114 (3rd) OPS+ 86 (13th)
- Advantages - Very strong pitching staff
- Disadvantages - Who knew the Cubs would be a lesser version of the Giants this year? I'm guessing the offense won't be this bad for long, but it's not likely to be as good as a lot of people thought it would be heading into the year.
Florida ERA+ 93 (t-13th) OPS+ 90 (12th)
- Advantages - A strong start leaves them in the conversation.
- Disadvantages - A closer inspection of the team suggests maybe they shouldn't be.
Colorado ERA+ 101 (10th) OPS+ 96 (t-5th)
- Advantages - The pitching is probably better than the ERA+ number appears, and the offense has actually been the best in the league in June so far, sad to say, but this is coinciding roughly with the benching of Garrett Atkins.
- Disadvantages - Poor defense has once again been what's been dragging that pitching number down, I'm not completely convinced that we've overcome all of our issues in this respect, although it's been looking better.
Pittsburgh ERA+ 97 (11th) OPS+ 95 (t-9th)
- Advantages - Their ability to score eleven runs in an inning off the Rockies? I'm not really sure actually, as the ERA+ and OPS+ suggest, this team seems just a little south of mediocre all around right now.
- Disadvantages - Already selling, the FO believes the current contending status is mostly a mirage (to the ire of some players and fans). Like the Rockies Gen R centered 2007 team, the Pirates this year might have surprised, but it wasn't quite enouugh talent for a lasting foundation for perennial contention.
Houston ERA+ 94 (12th) OPS+ 96 (t-5th)
- Advantages - Decent NL offense.
- Disadvantages - Pitching's not up to par. Like Pittsburgh, they seem to be mostly in sell mode right now.
San Diego ERA+ 81 (t-15th) OPS+ 95 (t-9th)
- Advantages - PETCO park is the biggest homefield advantage of any stadium, masking the issues in the pitching staff.
- Disadvantages - That pitching staff has to go on the road for half of its games.
Arizona OPS+ 85 (t-14th)
- Advantages - Pitching, particularly the rotation, Justin Upton.
- Disadvantages - Too much faith in some of the other young players has left this team without enough plan B's to cover all of the holes that have arisen in the lineup. Interesting side note, Felipe Lopez still has had as many HR's since opening day (2) as he had on opening day against the Rockies.
So the bottom line is that I think San Diego, Houston, Pittsburgh and Florida are all making strong signals of leaving the Wildcard race. Arizona and the Rockies have been giving mixed signals, but I believe both have more reason for optimism than the aforementioned four. I think the real Wildcard race looks like the folllowing ten teams (including two current division leaders) with Arizona teetering:
Phillies/Mets - one of these two teams wins the division, the other's stiff competition for the WC
Braves - a darkhorse, but they need help via trade
Brewers/Cards - Same deal as with the East
Cubs - Seeming suddenly old and ill-equipped, but I wouldn't put a late season run past them
Reds - I don't believe the offense is capable this year, look for a July/August fade.
San Francisco - No offense, but they've done just well enough to get this far. I don't know if they can make it all the way, but they're definitely in the running
Colorado - This 10 game win streak is still six short of where I think the team needs to be to comfortably be in the conversation, but at least it's enough to put us back on the map.
Arizona - this team needs to fall more than 10 games under .500 by the end of the month to put them safely in sale mode. They're nine under right now, I'd love to see a losing streak similar to our winning run put them in the cooler.
- Renck: Rockies pass toughness test
- One of the big warnings we've been given with Jim Tracy as manager is that he lives in the past, specifically in his 2004 Dodger team past, we see a good indication of that here as he can't stop thinking about Alex Cora and Cesar Izturis, two light hitting good glove infielders he had on that team. He has actual MLB quality hitters and good gloves on this team, but still gets nostalgic. Go figure. Patrick Saunders also notes the Taylor Buchholz injury news. If the reliever does wind up shelved for the season, the Rockies may be less inclined to deal Huston Street.