Jeff Francis pitched five solid innings for his third win of the season in what was likely his final appearance in a Rockies uniform. It was what the Rockies had hoped they would get out of Francis all season long when they tabbed him the fourth starter to begin the year. However, throughout the course of a 162 games a lot can change and the Rockies were never able to rely on the back end of their rotation. It felt like a different year compared to last year, but now that it's all said and done, the Rockies once again find themselves at the bottom of the division and searching for answers.
One position that the Rockies will need to address will be that of first base. Franchise icon and 17 year veteran Todd Helton played his final game on Sunday. I couldn't help but feel emotional in his last at bat as a sold out Dodger Stadium recognized Helton with one final standing ovation. Helton as he customarily does, kept his emotions in check giving fans one last salute with a simple tug on his helmet and a wave of the hand before digging into the box. Always the consummate professional, Helton never craved the spotlight or attention, but none the less it had to feel good to have his hard work and dedication acknowledged with standing ovation after standing ovation in the final weeks of his career.
Going out with a strike out in a meaningless game was hardly what Helton deserved to end his career, but at least the Rockies were able to win. Troy Tulowitzki had an RBI single in the first that scored Charlie Blackmon to give the Rockies an early 1-0 lead. In the fourth, it was Blackmon that singled to score Charlie Culberson and that proved to be all the Rockies would need as four relievers combined to preserve the 2-1 lead.
Roy Oswalt pitched a scoreless inning and it remains to be seen if the Rockies will try and bring him back for one more season. Adam Ottavino pitched a scoreless seventh and finished the year with a very good 2.64 ERA. Rex Brothers, who will likely close next season, picked up his 19th save in a very shaky ninth inning. Brothers had a tremendous year though, finishing with a 1.74 ERA and he should be an excellent closer going forward.
Blackmon showed over the course of September that he might be a viable option to start every day in RF including Sunday in which he went 2-for-4, but oh by the way, this year's starter in RF just won a batting title. Michael Cuddyer went 1-for-5 and finished the season batting .331 to win his first ever batting title. A move to first base could be in the cards for Cuddyer next year to replace Helton, but wherever he plays, I wish the Rockies had 10 of him. Cuddyer's grit and determination were present all year long and his all out hustle style of play is the way that everyone should play the game. There couldn't be a more deserving batting champion in my opinion and Cuddyer certainly proved that the three year deal the Rockies gave him wasn't a bad move.
Well Rockies fans, it's over. The Rockies have a lot of talent and in my opinion, they aren't that far off from being a contender. It's going to be awfully strange not seeing 17 man first base next year, but players retire and life goes on. Helton certainly wouldn't want anybody feeling sorry for him. So let's enjoy some playoff baseball. There's already a play in game tomorrow so at least we have some sort of baseball to watch. I'm pulling for the Pirates to win it all, but only time will tell. Also, the Broncos look pretty unstoppable. Anyway, until next Spring Training... Go Rockies!
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