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Wednesday Morning Rockpile: Welcome to the bandwagon, sun birds.

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Alright, I should have expected this, but suddenly the Rockies are a hot item. Everybody seems to want to say how they knew all along that this team was capable of pulling these feats of strength off. Mark Kiszla, who encouraged fans to boycott the team early in the season, now says our chase is "too real to be called luck."

Similarly joining the party late, the official stance at Baseball Prospectus seems to be that the Rockies are a .500-ish team just riding a well timed hot streak to contention in a weak NL. This article by Christina Kahrl at the NY Sun being a good example of that. Two key points to remember: when the Rockies began this "hot streak" they were already a few games above .500, and because of it, they have overtaken the rest of the field for best run differential in the league. In other words, this isn't just a "decent team gets lucky" scenario, it's a "good team plays up to its capability" story and Kahrl and Joe Sheehan would be wise to recognize it.

Maybe what makes me go off a little on Kahrl here is her sudden praise of Kaz-Mat in the article:

Add in the contributions of outfielders Ryan Spilborghs and Cory Sullivan, and the payoff on Kazuo Matsui (who wasn't quite as done as Mets fans may have believed last summer), and you've got a lineup delivering enough runs to not just make the continuing excellence of lefty Jeff Francis stand up, but also to exploit the recent hot streaks of youngsters Ubaldo Jimenez and Franklin Morales.

Which kind of puts a burden of wrongness completely on Mets fans rather than taking some on herself, too. From her analysis of the Rox call-up of Matsui from the Springs last year:
Before you start thinking that Matsui's rehabilitated, keep in mind that the former big league starter hit only .278/.328/.391 at Colorado Springs, the same place where the essentially punchless Omar Quintanilla has hit .282/.349/.389. Like a shrine to the memory of pop-rocks victims, it isn't just that hoping that there's any truth in Matsui's usefulness is wasted effort, the real question should be finding out why you hoped for such a thing in the first place.

She's not done yet, this from her final roster analysis of the Rox before this season:
Is This Really Going to Work? If Kaz Matsui were a soft drink, he'd be one of those weird ones from the Land of the Rising Sun, especially the ones with weird floating balls of gummy goo in it, where you can't decide if it's really all fluid, let alone whether or not it's any good to drink. Nevertheless, the club seems to be drinking him in like so much Kool-Aid; gods above and below only know why, but then that is this team's story, and they're sticking to it.

In fairness, a couple of the writers at BP do seem to get it. Bryan Smith wrote an excellent subscriber only article lauding the trio in charge of the Rockies draft and player development, Dan O'Dowd, Bill Schmidt and Marc Gustafson. My only beef with the article would be that in the limitations of the publishing biz, it has to leave out several important behind the scenes people who have made our success possible, from the scouts on the ground and our Latin guru Rolando Fernandez, all the way up to Bill Geivett, who works closely with O'Dowd and Gustafson on the development end.

At the other end of the spectrum from those late arrivals to Planet Rox, Dave Krieger at the Rocky Mountain News gets props for recognizing before the season started that this team was better than a lot of people were giving credit for. He praises Hurdle's handling of the bullpen in last night's win.