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Monday Rockpile: Despite Rough Start, Rockies Poised To Play Spoiler 2nd Half 2012

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Friday Night, Christian Friedrich looked downright excellent. Still somewhat tied by the pitch count rules, Friedrich hammered his way through 6 innings of 1-run ball, striking out 7 Phillies batters while inducing 7 grounders. Saturday, Jeremy Guthrie didn't have a great outing, allowing 4 runs in the 1st, but his next 4 innings went pretty well, shutting out the Phillies during those innings. Not great, but we figured Guthrie would be the rough part of the rotation. Drew Pomeranz then closed the series by allowing 5 runs in 5 innings while striking out 5 batters, including a 3-run homer to Hunter Pence in the 5th inning.

We watched the series, but leading up to the break, things were doing pretty well. In fact, in the month of July, the pitching staff has a 3.97 ERA in 11 July games, a drop of nearly 2 full runs from June. Batters are hitting nearly .200 OPS worse against Rockies pitching. Obviously, we have another 120 or so innings to pitch, but it's definitely an improvement.

It would take the most dedicated of optimists to think that this recent turnaround would be indicative of the 34-54 Rockies making any kind of noise regarding the 2012 postseason.

But this is one of the few good things about follow a team with as bad a record as Colorado, and even better with the sheer number of young players the Rockies have on their roster right now. The Rockies get to play spoiler down the stretch in the 2012 season, especially in the NL West, where 41 of their 72 remaining matchups take place, including 22 against the Dodgers and Giants, and 10 against the Diamondbacks, should they surprise us.

.Interestingly enough, nearly every other series the Rockies are playing outside of the NL West. Colorado will be playing the Mets, Braves, Pirates, Reds, Cardinals, and the Brewers (who would also need some momentum to make up their deficit in the NL Central).

So my call to the Colorado Rockies is to be that team that ruins other teams' seasons. To be that team where the other fanbase is grumbling "we couldn't even beat the Rockies."

This team has a decent shot at doing just that, as well. This isn't a bad team, it's a young team, and with guys like Josh Rutledge, Drew Pomeranz, Christian Friedrich, and Wilin Rosario taking a decent chunk of the playing time as well as the trade deadline approaching, this team is likely going to just get younger, as far as who gets the innings/ABs.

There's no "la la la, this team is perfectly fine once young talent grows up" flag to wave right now. This team IS going to improve as the young guys get more MLB playing time, but even with solid performance the rest of the way, this hole is just too deep to climb out of. With a season that's all but finished right now, Rockies fans will get to watch a lot of these young guys continue to grow and turn into solid MLB players. That's the real upside to the 2012 season. Let's hope to wreck a few seasons along the way.

Off Topic

Rockies' Drew Pomeranz takes lessons on how to gut through rough patches - The Denver Post
Drew Pomeranz' postgame quotes show a lot of poise. He really didn't pitch a bad game, just a couple of bad pitches. It's an excuse, I know, but the guy needs to learn and needs to grow. This is how that happens.

Colorado Rockies outfielder Dexter Fowler enjoying red-hot July - The Denver Post
Dexter Fowler is really having a slick season, and "2nd half Dexter Fowler" is starting to rear his head. Sometimes it's tough to really enjoy a hot streak with a hitter prone to streakiness, but I encourage everyone to at least try and enjoy it. He's a really fun player to watch when he's hitting.

Woody Paige: Rockies and Dan O'Dowd star only in their own soap opera - The Denver Post
Woody Paige doesn't like the pitching experiment. Well, get used to it, Woody. It'll be Broncos season soon enough and then you can stop pretending to care about the other sports in Colorado.

Troy Renck: Rockies' trade talks about to escalate involving multiple players - The Denver Post
Jeremy Guthrie, Marco Scutaro and Ramon Hernandez are all trade possibilities, and Rafael Betancourt could join them as well. Renck also throws up some notes from around the league about names like Huston Street and Ubaldo Jimenez.

Reviewing the Top 100 Prospects List, 25-1 | FanGraphs Baseball
Featuring Nolan Arenado and other great names.

Rutledge settling into Major League role | News
Josh Rutledge had a neat debut and a passable 2nd game of his MLB career. He feels he's adjusting, and at the least he's saying all the right things. Also, Jhoulys Chacin is looking at a simulated start coming up in the next few days.