Thursday Rockpile: Looking back on the significant dates of 2011, as 2012 schedule comes out

MILWAUKEE, WI - SEPTEMBER 14: Willin Rosario #12 of the Colorado Rockies discusses a call with umpire Marvin Hudson during the game against the Milwaukee Brewers at Miller Park on September 14, 2011 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. (Photo by Scott Boehm/Getty Images)

April 29: Thanks to rain (and in the case of one game in Chicago, the mere threat of rain) the Rockies wound up with a three day break after raising their record to 16-7 on April 26th. Little did we realize that day would be the season's high point. Scoring zero runs at home against Kevin Correia and the Pirates is a terrible omen. Looking at the boxscore, the key issues were all at the top of the lineup. One hit, by Carlos Gonzalez, a walk from Jonathan Herrera and a bunch of nothing otherwise. After starting off the season well, Herrera and Dexter Fowler were entering a cold spell that would wind up tanking the Rockies season. 

June 7: The start of the Charlie Blackmon era. While the Rockies would lose this first start of his, they returned to being a .500 team for the next month that he was with the team. His hot hitting for the first couple of weeks of that stretch keyed a run, as Blackmon cooled, so did the team. 

July 7: The end of the Blackmon era. It came in the midst of what would become the team's season long losing streak to date of five games, and part of a four game sweep in Atlanta. The losing streak began a two month slide that has dissuaded any notion that the Rockies were capable of contending in 2011. On July 2nd, in fact, Colorado was just a game under .500, 3.5 games behind Arizona and had outscored their opponents season to date by a dozen runs. The Diamondbacks had only outscored their opponents by nine runs, note the divergent paths of the two teams since. 

July 15: Dexter Fowler returns from AAA and combined with Mark Ellis, finally provides stability at the top of the lineup for the Rockies. Unfortunately by this point the pitching is in disarray and as inconsistent as the lineup had been in May.

July 30: As far as the story of the season's win/loss record goes, this game comes in the middle of a two month long malaise that started with that five game losing streak mentioned above. This was the end of a three game win streak, and just before another four game losing streak. This particular game, of course, is much more symbolically significant than any of the rest. The trade of Ubaldo Jimenez didn't light a spark for the team, nor did it let the season careen any more off the rails than it already had been. The Rockies were 10-14 in the 24 games leading up to this, they were 12-12 in the 24 games after this. I actually think that's a pretty sad indictment of the 2011 club right there. You'd think something would happen with the trade of the ace. Instead, it's just taken in stride.

I think there might be another, more recent date of significance for the season as it seems the Rockies have turned around a little, and later when we have a little more chance for retrospection, we can look for it. One thing it might be, though, is just clearing Arizona off the schedule. The Rockies as a team always seem to cower to the Alpha dog in the division, regardless of which team it is at the time. Since the All Star break, Colorado has just a 2-7 record against the D-backs.

At any rate, here are a couple of links:

Millwood makes mark with Rockies - The Associated Press's Colin Fly writes about the most consistent of Rockies starters of late. 

Carlos Gonzalez continues to hit- Also other notes from the Denver Post's Jim Armstrong.

2012 schedule starts with 'Stros - thank heaven it's not Snakes this time. It's always snakes.

Colorado Springs, good or evil? - My opinion is that there's nothing good that comes of the place for the Rockies. Unlike Tulsa. Tulsa helps us a lot. The Springs? It just gives us hack hitters and timid pitchers.

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