The surprising success experienced against a generally superior team needs more attention than I can actually give it, as this will have to be a shamefully threadbare edition due to my total lack of time and the total domination that my homework is currently exercising over me (like Stewart and Barmes over the Cardinals pitchers. O snap). But after losing three of four to the Astros to open the road trip had us feeling as if it was going to be the same old, same old, the Rockies miraculously decided to flip the "hey let's play good now" switch in St. Louis, and came up with three very enjoyable contests that saw them play the kind of complete baseball that's been missing -- well, for most of the season.
Scores of 10, 11, and 7 attested to the offense's rejuvenation (at least for now). Scores for the Cardinals of 4, 1, and 2 attested to the pitching's general competence (never a given). And despite the hijinks of MLB.TV, they did not, in fact, make 15 errors. They only made one all series, in the eighth inning of today's game when Tulo threw the ball into the dugout, and that didn't result in a meltdown, as a strong Ubaldo Jimenez retired the next three hitters in order. That was a recurring theme. Earlier, in the sixth inning, when he let the batter in front of King Albert reach base, the wise decision was made to put Albert on base as well. Uball then faced Rick Ankiel, whose bush-league antics in the first game had earned the ire of Rockies Nation. Apparently Ankiel wanted a fastball. Well, Uball gave him a fastball. At 98 mph. Which Ankiel looked at to make the third out.
That, my friends, is the kind of combination that will win you ballgames.
/Captain Obvious switch off
In addition, the Rockies enjoyed several novel feelings: being on the fun end of a giant inning (9 runs in the seventh during the series opener) getting production from all fronts (except Atkins) and from bit parts (third-string catcher Paul Phillips enjoyed a 4-for-5, 3 RBI day today) and having one of our players turn into a complete terror to the other team a la Cody Ross, Scott Hairston, Pedro Feliz to us: Ian Stewart's shredding of anything wearing a red hat and standing sixty feet away from him. Stewart didn't confine his contributions to the offense, making an outstanding stab and leaping throw in a game in which he'd already hit two home runs, and although this incendiary run has come out of nowhere (for the team as well as Stewart) it goes without saying that it's a welcome sight to see.
While "unpredictable" might be the understatement of the year when it comes to evaluating the 2009 Colorado Rockies, it sure is a hell of a lot of fun when they finally deploy their considerable talent to something besides inventive failure. Not to put too fine a point on the comparisons, but as has been mentioned by attentive Rowbots, the 2007 turnaround began with a sweep of the Cardinals at Coors. Maybe we just needed some of that Redbird mojo. If nothing else, it's left us just as befuddled as the Cardinals fans: they can't figure out why they're losing to us, and neither can we, but damn, we're enjoying it while it lasts. And we're also getting used to seeing another guy in that #5, who we hope will help define a crowded outfield that has trade rumours swirling around the much-loved Spilly. Hopefully we don't make a trade just to make a trade.
Of course, the Rockies have one more game to go tomorrow, thanks to some wonky schedule-making that sees them complete a four-game series from Friday to Monday, before heading to Milwaukee for a more conventional three-gamer. It goes without saying that they could suddenly decide to leave the lumber in St. Louis and fall on their faces again, since that's the way they like to do things, but then again, they may not.
6-4 in the Tracy era, and the crocuses are poking their noses out. Everyone wants it to be rainbows and unicorns from here on out, but if there's one thing we're sure of, it won't be. The Rockies, despite their recent munificence in letting the Denver denizens enjoy cheap tacos four days running, don't do fat and healthy. They prefer scrawny and miserable. Still. Oliver Twist got the better of Mr. Bumble in the end. Just you remember that.