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Friday Morning Rockpile: It All Starts Tonight

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LaTroy Hawkins knows the importance of these September games since the Rockies have already faced one of two teams not in the hunt of the playoffs this month and will face the other at the end of next week. So these next seven games will determine where the Rockies stand when they host Florida on the 14th. Will they still be looking for that spot in the playoffs or will they be in a sinking ship that hit an iceberg a little later than usual?

Whatever happens, it will come down not to the play on the field, but, according to Mark Kiszla, to the workings of Hurdle's mind:

Is Hurdle the man your Rockies can wholeheartedly trust to construct a dangerous batting order, determine when a pitcher's ego needs a gentle massage and order a strong hitter to sacrifice his bat with a bunt?

We already know the answer to the first question as Helton is still batting cleanup and Kaz gains preference in the two-hole over Tulo, as Kiszla points out. It's a decided no. We know Hurdle's ordered strong hitters to go with a bunt before, but that doesn't mean it's right. The Rockies are losing 2-3 in the sixth inning with a man on first and one out. Who doesn't want to see Holliday or Helton or Atkins or Hawpe or Tulo bunt the guy over to second? We can wholeheartedly trust Hurdle to order that.

It is a fair question to ask, "Is Hurdle the manager you want in the dugout of a one-run game?" as Kiszla does. However, how much control does Hurdle have over how well Dessens pitches tonight, the ability of Ramon Ortiz in a game if long relief is needed (bringing him in is another question), or the health of Josh Fogg's shoulder? Find out tonight when September really starts for Hurdle and his men.