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Wednesday Rockpile: World Series or Bust for Rockies in 2010

Recently the Rockies were the subject of CBS' spring training camp tour, and they do a fairly decent job of it. Danny Knobler writes about the Rockies' elevated expectations after the disappointment of 2009 and the solid foundation the Rockies have in place. Knobler also provides five things to know about the team.

I've written before about my elevated expectations for this Rockies team and I'm glad that they have those expectations too. This team should strive for greatness--and with the talent that O'Dowd and company have assembled top to bottom I am confident that this team will achieve greatness and a NL West crown.

Beyond that, playoff success is too much of a crapshoot to predict further, but make no mistake: I am guaranteeing a NL West crown for the Rockies this year, a la Jimmy Rollins. Therefore, when my guarantee comes to pass I expect to be named the NL MVP over a more deserving St. Louis Cardinal. Jinxes are for the superstitious and communists (not that there's anything wrong with that), and I am neither. The Rockies are the best team in the division and I'm proud to stand by that without caveat or qualification.

Yesterday in a game that I hope will prove to be a common occurrence this year, the Rockies took the Dodgers behind the woodshed, winning 12-0, pounding out 16 hits and holding LA to only 3. The team has been locked in so far this spring, hitting .338/.385/.517 as a team through eight games. Ubaldo Jimenez was on time and feeling good, pitching three solid innings, while Greg Smith made an excellent second impression with three sterling innings following Jimenez. Jim Armstrong notes the strong performances of both Smiths.

On the injury front, Troy Renck writes about the Rockies' bullpen contingency plan if Huston Street and Rafael Betancourt are slow to heal from shoulder issues. Street seems to be making good progress, while Betancourt is taking smaller steps toward regular season readiness. On the whole, I'm downgrading the panic level from a six to a four after initial reports.

Finally, Thomas Harding writes that Colorado is trying to cut down on strikeouts, an admirable goal if it doesn't detract too much from the Rockies' prodigious slugging ability and selective aggressiveness. I'm of the opinion that the big sluggers who are speed-challenged should generally retain their big swinging ways while the speedsters should aim more for contact in those situations. I just hope that Tracy doesn't get too carried away with this concept.