Even after Colorado's doubleheader sweep loss against Atlanta last night (the two coldest games in Rockies history), the Rockies still sit at 13-7 after 20 games of the 2013 regular season and they're still in first place of the division. If you had told me that before the season, I'd be ecstatic...and I still am ecstatic right now. After the hell that was 2012, the early success of this year's team is a salve that soothes the ache of last year's wounds.
Much digital ink has been spilled over the last few days about whether the Rockies can keep this going, by (among others) Jonah Keri of Grantland, Paul Swydan of ESPN Insider, and Jonathan Bernhardt of Sports on Earth. They all bring up some pretty cogent points about why Colorado won't stay among baseball's elite - one of them, Bernhardt's assertion that Colorado's pitchers were allowing a below average amount of home-runs, came to pass after yesterday's six Atlanta homers.
And you know what? Those national writers are probably right. The Rockies likely aren't going to get pitching this good from their rotation all year, while the offense has already shown signs of cooling. Baseball Prospectus gives the Rockies an 11% chance of making the playoffs.
But here's the thing: I don't care. The 2013 team has already given me more joy and excitement in 20 games than the 2012 squad did in 162. It was (and still is!) nice to be in first place for a change. Sure, it's only 3 weeks of baseball in a 26 week season, but it's been a fantastic 3 weeks to be a Rockies fan. In a world where the Rockies are 13-7 instead of 7-13, I am free to imagine the possibilities of Rocktober pt. 3 (or 4, depending on your opinion of the 1995 team) and meaningful baseball at Coors Field that lasts well past the All-Star break.
I'm looking forward to seeing if Dexter Fowler can turn his hot start into an All-Star season. I want to see Jon Garland rejuvenate his career with a completely inexplicable great year at Coors (and I wouldn't mind the other members of the rotation doing the same). I want to see Nolan Arenado come up and rake at the major league level just like he has at AAA, contributing to a deep and potent lineup that carries the team into the playoffs. At this point in the season, none of those dreams is out of the question - and that's the true beauty of a hot April start.
The Rockies will go with Tyler Chatwood in today's game to try to avoid being swept. No official word on who will be sent down in his stead - I would imagine it would be Rob Scahill.
Todd Helton is champing at the bit to get back in the lineup - we'll see if today's improved weather does the trick.
Speaking of Helton, Greg Simons at the Hardball Times writes about players who have seen their Hall of Fame career arcs fade late in their career. I absolutely want Helton to be in the Hall of Fame, but I honestly think that Larry Walker has a better case than he does - and if Walker can't get in, I don't like Todd's chances.
Paul Kragthorpe of the Salt Lake Tribune writes about Walt Weiss' successful managerial debut.