Tonight's pitching match up of Jeff Manship (0-3, 7.80) vs. Jose Fernandez (9-5, 2.41) doesn't look to promising on paper, but if the Rockies can dust off their magic wands an channel back to a time before the season that shall not be named, they may have a secret weapon on their sides.
You see, there was a time when August 24th meant that the Rockies were almost guaranteed to pull out some crazy, wild, jaw dropping, "how in the world did they manage to take that game" sort of victory. In fact, from 2007 through 2011, it happened every year.
2007: Rockies 6, Nationals 5
This is where most of the August 24th magic started. In fact, it's also where much of Rocktober's magic started. It wouldn't kick into high gear for a few more weeks, but it was games like this that told you there might be something special about this group.
Coming into this contest, the Rockies were in desperate need of a victory. They had fallen to forth place in the division, a full 7.5 games behind the first place D'Backs, were in danger of dropping back to .500 for the first time in a month, and were just 2-6 in their last eight games. It appeared likely that for the 12th consecutive season, the Rockies would not be playing meaning baseball for the better part of September.
Things also looked pretty bleak within the game as Colorado trailed 5-1 entering the bottom of the ninth to the lowly Nationals. But then, things started to happen...
Troy Tulowitzki led off the ninth with a line drive base hit hit into center field. Then, the should have been MVP followed the should have been Rookie of the year with with a home run to center field to cut the Washington lead in half. For Matt Holliday, it was his 23rd blast of the season.
The flood gates were now open. Todd Helton followed with an infield single before Garrett Atkins doubled and Brad Hawpe walked to load the bases. Yorvit Torrealba would then step to the plate and deliver and game tying opposite field singe that moved the winning run into scoring position. Two batters later, D'Angelo Jimenez bobbled a ball hit to shortstop off the bat of Kaz Matsui to end the game.
Tulo's post game quote on the win...
"Those are the kind of nights I play the game for," Tulowitzki said. "It's exciting, it's awesome, and it's fun to be a part of. This is a huge win and could give us a lot of momentum. That's probably the biggest win of the year so far."
One year later, the Rockies again trailed going into the bottom of the ninth. However, this time they were going to get all they help they needed from the Reds.
Matt Holliday led off the inning and hit a ball Brandon Phillips couldn't handle. The miscue was already Cincinnati's fourth miscue of the day, and they were just getting started. Reds closer David Weathers then made a huge mistake, balking Holliday over to second and moving the tying run into scoring position. (And yes I did check, but surprisingly, Bob Davidson was not working this game)
Brad Hawpe then hit a ball towards right center field that was caught by Jay Bruce, but when Holliday tried to tag up and go to third, Bruce threw the ball away which allowed Holliday to come to the plate and tie the game at four.
It would remain deadlocked into the bottom of the 12th when Omar Quintanilla, who had just one career home run at this point is his career stepped to the plate with one out. After taking ball one, Quintanilla hit a high fly ball to deep right field that just cleared the fence, and out of nowhere, the game was over.
Despite going 0-16 with runners in scoring position, the Rockies were again celebrating in walk off fashion on August 24th.
I could write a
few hundred few thousand words about this game, but I don't need to. Any Rockies fan who saw this game will never forget it. And if you didn't see it because you went to bed, shame on you!!!
///SHUN THE NONBELIEVERS!!!
To this day, the Spilly Slam game remains one of the greatest baseball games I've ever witnessed, and not just for the finish either. This was a 14 inning masterpiece with high drama throughout the night. It's just remembered most for its epic conclusion.
I've seen the highlight more times than I can count, but I'll link it again here, because let's face it - This moment will never get old.
"In the air, Depp Right Center Field, WAYYY Back..., ROOCCKKIEES WIN!!!!"
2010: Rockies 12, Braves 10
Okay, you got me. This game actually happened on August 25th. The Rockies did win on August 24th, but it was a tidy and more routine 5-2 victory. Instead, they saved the real drama for the following afternoon.
Here's the cliff notes version. The Rockies go down by nine runs - NINE RUNS (!!!) - after three innings by a score of 10-1. They chip away at the deficit by grabbing a run in the fourth, three in the fifth, and three more in the sixth to close within two.
This sets up a euphoric bottom of the eighth where a Chris Iannetta walk, a Melvin Mora single, and a Dexter Fowler free pass load the bases with two outs for the heart of the order. Carlos Gonzalez then tied the game ripping a base hit to center. Tulo followed that up with a hit to left that gave the Rockies the lead, and Helton then added another RBI to give the team a little insurance.
The nine run comeback was tied the franchise record for largest comeback in team history with the July 4th, 2008 Marlins game.
This game was many things. It was a seesaw battle that saw both teams take the lead multiple times. It was a slug fest that saw 12 total run scored in the first five innings. It was a pitcher's duel that saw neither team score a run from the bottom of the fifth through the top of the tenth. And it was a walk off that once again saw the Rockies pull out some magic on August 24th.
This was a big day for Tulo. He was on base five times, hit his 26th home run of the year, and was right in the middle of the game winning rally in the 10th. After Carlos Gonzalez struck out to start the innings, Tulo drew a seven pitch walk with one out. He then advanced to third on a Jonathan Herrera base hit to center. Two batters later, Astros pitcher Aneury Rodriguez uncorked a wild pitch that allowed Tulo to scamper home with the winning run resulting in the celebration you see pictured in today's Rockpile photo.
* * * * * *
Unfortunately, there was no such magic last year on this date. So maybe it's over?
Or maybe that means we're just in for an extra incredible game in 2013 to make up for it? Or maybe that was just the worst season in Rockies history and it eclipsed even the August 24th magic streak? Or maybe the magic only happens when the Rockies play an August 24th game at home? Or maybe all these things only happened because it was Silverblood's birthday and those were the years she hung around this blog? (Come back Silver!!!) Or maybe last night's comeback win in the eighth inning was this year's version of the August 24th magic balancing out when it came a day late in 2010?
Either way though, I'd much rather look at tonight's game in these terms than look at that starting pitching match up at all.