A masterful stretch run by Ubaldo Jimenez will go a long way towards a Colorado Rockies comeback.
Okay, I'll admit that watching the Rockies is pretty depressing right now. I mean, both Carlos Gonzalez and Troy Tulowitzki are hobbled, the team is four games below.500 and 6.5 back in the division, and everywhere you look the Giants are finding new ways to win in ridiculous fashion. It's not a pretty situation at all.
I mean, I'm one of this team's biggest cheerleaders, but they have rewarded my belief in their talent with 11 straight losses on my game wraps. Okay, so it's not exactly Job-ian suffering I'm going through, but the fact remains that this team has underperformed lofty expectations so far...again.
So why am I declaring that this point (of all points) is the nadir of the Rockies' 2011 season? As in, the Rockies will turn everything around starting now-ish (by Friday). There are several reasons for this, very few (if any) of them rooted in logic. First and foremost, in my experience I have found that optimists have more fun than realists. As someone that considers himself a realist, it's good to be optimistic about something. I'm also something of a numbers guy so I'll change tacks and de-emphasize that part of it. The gist is that I'm doing my best to be optimistic despite some pretty depressing signs lately. The comeback starts now!
Secondly, while a few things have gone right for Colorado so far (Seth Smith, Jhoulys Chacin, and Todd Helton come to mind), a lot more things haven't (pick a failed 2B, 3B, OF or injured pitcher). Despite all that has gone wrong, Colorado's run differential is hovering around 0. I am a big believer in talent and with Colorado's complement of superstar talent (and even their supplementary above-average talent) it's hard for me to conceive of a scenario in which this team doesn't put together another monster 20 game stretch to get back in the hunt.
Third, Colorado's divisional opposition is hardly inspiring. The Giants' hitters struggle against all pitchers who propel the ball in a forward motion toward home plate while the Diamondbacks are playing well above expectations -- and while expectations aren't everything, there is a reason that the D-Backs were cellar dwellers in 2010 and were picked to repeat in 2011. As a result, the barrier to the playoffs is likely closer to 85 wins than 90.
Fourth, I expect the Rockies to explode out of the gate after the All-Star Break. They've got an eight game homestand followed by a nine game road divisional swing (everyone but the Giants). Over those 17 games, I expect at least an 11-6 record. By the end of this stretch the divisional deficit will be at least halved. Part of this confidence is derived from the fact that I will attend at least two of those home games, and Colorado is undefeated in games I attend this year. Part of it is a combination of health, confidence, and banking on a collapse by Arizona, LA, and San Diego.
Remember, this is a Jeff Aberle guarantee -- they have been accurate before (just not lately), but are not accepted by any FDIC accredited institutions.
Yesterday's Rockpile turned into a pretty negative place. In these Rockpile comments, I'd like to see your own justifications as to why the Rockies are primed for a turnaround. Logic is optional, but appreciated.
Jason Giambi is all about the Vote For Todd movement. Todd Helton is currently running third in the Final Vote standings, which is about what I expected, given that Victorino has Shaq on his side. Nonetheless, none of you shall have your supper until you vote at least 30 times for the Toddfather. It's easy -- vote now!
Tulowitzki isn't going to be rushing his injury comeback...which means we can expect him starting by Friday and hitting the game-winning HR in the All-Star game next week.