Stop! It's Hammel time...
Could there be any greater sign that the Rockies are going to start this road trip well than the fact that MC Hammer himself will actually be performing at tonight's game? In the words of Hammer's contemporary, poet/philosopher LL Cool J: I don't think so. Still, this should be a good game to go to even without Hammer's performance, so I'm glad I'll be attending. Bronson Arroyo's gone 4-1 with a 2.76 ERA since the beginning of June and has allowed a total of one run in his last two starts, while Hammel has gone 5-0 with a 2.06 ERA in that same June 1 to today span.
At any rate, to reiterate the point that's been brought up already regarding how tough a long road trip after the All-Star break can be on a team, we don't have to look much further than the 2009 Giants. San Francisco entered the break 10 games over .500 (with the same 49-39 record we have) after a long and successful pre-break homestand and were the frontrunners for the NL Wild Card slot. In other words, 2009 San Francisco up to that point in the season was more or less equal in the standings to your 2010 Rockies. After the break, the Giants had a ten game road trip through Pittsburgh, Atlanta and Colorado. They lost all three series, winning just once in each city, and finished 3-7 overall. They went from playoff position leaders to chasers two games behind Colorado, and spent the rest of the summer desperately pawning off prospects for veterans in what would prove a futile attempt to regain that wild card position.
So, for the Rockies on this 11 game trip, I think we can set up a sort of grading scale:
- A (Exceptional performance) - Winning two of the three series and getting no worse than a tie in the other, at least a 7-4 record.
- B (Exceeds expectations) - Six wins, five losses. I'd be really happy with this result.
- C (Average) - Five wins. If the Rockies only finish with five wins on the trip, nobody should panic, we still should be in good shape unless multiple NL contenders have 10 game win streaks simultaneously.
- D (Below average) - Four wins. This scenario is a bit worse than the one above, and it could make the playoffs a trickier proposition without a strong rebound in the ensuing homestand.
- F (Failure) - Three wins or less. This is where we get into the fairly plausible disaster of a road trip scenario, and this is why everybody will be holding their breath until we get that fourth win. These are three tough teams, each capable of winning a series against the Rockies on their home turf and a couple of them are more than capable of sweeping the Rockies on their home turf in the right circumstances. The Reds and Phillies are both at or near .600 at home, and the Marlins are near .500 but with a dangerous team that can look playoff competitive in short spurts. If this brutal scenario plays out and the Rockies finish the road trip 3-8 or worse, it would put a serious dent on the team's visions of a return to the playoffs and mean we'd have to use the entire month of August recovering.
After we win tonight, we'll only need three more to not worry about the doom and gloom scenario.
The game wrap will be a little late as I'll have to return home before posting it.