As the end of another year approaches, it becomes best-of list time. So many lists. Top-ten lists and best moments are popping up everywhere, but since we are also approaching the end of a decade, we have extra lists that also cover the last 10 years.
On Thanksgiving, best-of lists are a great way to remember to be grateful for the mind-blowing plays, fantastic players, happy moments, and fond memories that might not be so fresh after a disappointing 2019 campaign. A bunch of lists of best moments and the Rockies came out recently, so we’ll start with 2019 and then zoom out to the decade.
This list from Thomas Harding is definitely one that can inspire some hope for 2020 because he lists five great wins, but also explains what those wins mean in terms of future potential to get back to the 90-or-more win range. Oddly enough, Harding also points out that four of the five came after the Rockies were out of postseason contention.
1. German Marquez’s one-hit shutout win over the Giants on April 14. Outside of the rare pitching gem Rockies fans don’t get to see very often, this is important because of glimpse of a promising young rotation with Marquez, Jon Gray, and Kyle Freeland.
2. Raimel Tapia blasting a pitch-hit grand slam in a sixth inning that plated seven runs for a 11-7 win over the Brewers on Sept. 27. Harding notes that this matters because there were five walks in that inning and more walks could lead to more multi-run innings down the road.
3. Gray gets a win with seven solid innings and David Dahl breaks out of a slump with a double to lead the Rockies to a 9-3 win over the Pirates on May 22. While this one isn’t particularly noteworthy in highlight reel material, it was a big game for two young players who are key to the Rockies getting back on track.
4. Remember when the Rockies had two 2-1 victories over the Cardinals in a row? Harding picked the Sept. 10 win where Chi Chi Gonzalez went six strong and Carols Estevez and Jairo Diaz locked it down. This win shows that sometimes the pitching staff can so that thing where the starter goes six or more innings AND the bullpen doesn’t throw it all away.
5. Ryan McMahon hits a line-drive, walk-off homer that capped off Tim Melville’s Coors Field debut 3-1 win over the Braves. McMahon hit 24 homers. He’s got promise with the bat and glove that the Rockies really need in 2020 and beyond.
What do you think was the best win for the Rockies in 2019?
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German Marquez’s shutout 4-0 win over the Giants.
Beating the Brewers 11-7 when Raimel Tapia hit a pinch-hit grand slam.
Jon Gray and David Dahl lead Rockies to a 9-3 win over the Pirates.
Chi Chi Gonzalez, Carlos Estevez, and Jairo Diaz carry Rockies to a 2-1 win over Cardinals.
Ryan McMahon’s walk-off homer over the Braves.
Other (Please feel free to elaborate in the comments)
In addition to McMahon’s homer, there were numerous walk-off wins by the Rockies in 2019 – from game-winning homers from Nolan Arenado, Trevor Story, Charlie Blackmon, and even Chris Iannetta to winning-run-scoring singles from Daniel Murphy and Tapia. Even when those came late in the season when playoffs were a long-faded dream, they were still fun. If you want to see all of those and more in a smile-making highlight reel, here are some moments to be grateful for in 2019.
Speaking of best-of lists for 2019, fans get 50 percent of the say in the inaugural All-MLB team and we have through Tuesday, Dec. 3 at 3 p.m. Mountain Time to vote in the three Rockies nominations: Nolan Arenado, Trevor Story, and Charlie Blackmon. While we are at it, DJ LaMahieu is worth a pick as well. The other 50 percent of the weight comes from a panel of experts. The 2019 All-MLB team will be announced on Dec. 10.
It’s fun to vote for things, especially a big list that is MLB-wide instead of separated into National and American Leagues. Thomas Hardy breaks down each Colorado nominee and their competition at their position. Fans can vote here and continue to do so once every 24 hours until the deadline.
The 2010s. It’s weird to write. It’s weird to say. Twenty-tens? Teens? It’s kind of as awkward as the teenage years. Anyway, it was a decade where after six losing seasons, the Rockies had their first back-to-back playoff appearances. In a reflection of greatest moments since 2010 for Colorado, the one-game Wild Card win over the Cubs is one of the greatest in club history.
In this tribute to Tony Wolters and his grounder up the middle that scored Trevor Story for the game-winner, Groke points out that this win was more than magical. It derailed a Cubs team that was trying to build a dynasty. They still haven’t recovered and their manager got fired after this last year. Even though the Rockies then got knocked out badly by the Brewers, they were a team on the rise. But then 2019 happened and now the future seems uncertain.
It’s still fun to watch the highlights of that game with Wolters’s hit and then Scott Oberg’s four strikeouts that sealed it.
The Rockies have (and had) some ridiculously good players on their roster over the last 10 years.
Here is The Athletic’s all-decade Rockies squad:
First base: Michael Cuddyer. Pretty good call.
Second base: DJ LaMahieu. No brainer.
Shortstop: Troy Tulowitzki. Groke notes the surprise here over Story, but justifies the pick by saying that Tulo was the Tulo we loved into 2014 before injuries and a trade ended it all. However, Tulo only played 47 games in 2012 and 91 in 2014. His batting average was higher than Story’s and his fielding was out of this world. Should Tulo get the nod for his 2010, 2011, and his 2013 over Story’s solid four seasons?
Third base: Nolan Arenado. Obviously.
Left field: Carlos Gonzalez. Groke writes, “CarGo should be remembered as a Rockies legend, perhaps the most vivid, dynamic player to ever wear purple.”
Center field: Dexter Fowler. Groke reminds us we traded him for Brandon Barnes and Jordan Lyles. Dang it.
Right field: Charlie Blackmon. Chuck Nazty has played the most games on this all-decade team. He played 27 games in 2011, 42 in 2012, 82 in 2013, and then became one of, if not the most, consistent hitter of the decade for the Rockies.
Catcher: Tony Wolters. Not great competition here since Wilin Rosario didn’t pan out.
Left-handed pitcher: Jorge De La Rosa. His 86 wins are the most all-time for the Rockies.
Right-handed pitcher: Jon Gray. He made great strides last year, but I wonder if this more of a hopeful projection. That being said, I am not sure who else gets this nod. Gray is 43-33 with a 4.46 ERA in a little over four seasons. Marquez is 38-24 with a 4.32 ERA in just over three seasons.
Closer: Rafael Betancourt. He has 57 saves for the Rockies in a decade where other closers have had a season of glory, but no lasting success.
There are two other Rockies that made an all-decade team in different jerseys. Daniel Murphy, as a second baseman, and Ian Desmond, as a shortstop, earned spots on the Washington National’s 2010s team.