In a perfect world, the Rockies and their fans would stay in this week forever. The All-Star Game was not only a blast, but it received rave reviews from people across the country. And not just those with a mile-high bias. Germán Márquez was perfect in an inning of work in the game, Trevor Story outslugged Joey Gallo, and on top of all that, the Rockies had what appears to have been a pretty solid draft.
In case you haven’t noticed yet - this is not a perfect world. As Rockies fans, we frequently ask ourselves, “why can’t we have nice things?” Now, it’s time to turn the page on the All-Star game festivities and head into the second half of a season that hasn’t been kind to the Rockies. The club certainly won’t be easing back into things either as the Dodgers are coming to town led by the 9-1 Walker Buehler, who will take the mound Friday night. At least it’s a home game!
The rest of the month doesn’t get any easier. The “worst” team the Rockies get to play is the Los Angeles Angels. At 45-44, they’ve underperformed expectations and would be getting more attention for that if it wasn’t for a certain Shohei Ohtani. True to form, the Rockies won’t get lucky for that series either...if all goes according to plan, Mike Trout will be back by then, giving the Angels their usual triumvirate of Trout, Ohtani, and Rendon, a group that nobody wants to have to deal with if possible.
From a non-gameplay standpoint, the Rockies are stuck in a bit of a holding pattern until moves begin in the trade department. As sellers, it’s not a question of if the Rockies make a few moves, but when? The usual trade rumors will only grow in volume and frequency as we barrel towards the July 31st trade deadline, with virtually no player off-limits, except for Germán Márquez (if you believe Bud Black).
Trevor Story will get the most attention from other clubs, but Jon Gray would be another valuable tool for any competitive team. Every contender is looking for starting pitching depth at this point in the season, especially given the uncertainties of pitcher workload following last year’s shortened season. It would be an absolute shock if both these guys are still on the team come August 1st, and I wouldn’t be surprised if neither one is playing in Denver anymore. In all honesty, if they ARE both still here, the Rockies probably blew their best chance at some semblance of success in the next five or so years. Financially, it’s simply not viable that the Rockies can offer Gray and Story enough money to lure them away from teams in better positions to win, and they might as well get something in return while they still can.
Two other, albeit much less critical, remaining mysteries of the season have to do with broken records... and not good ones. The first is the infamous 100-loss season. Thanks to solid play at home, it seems like the 2021 Rockies will not be the first Colorado team to crack triple digits in the loss department. With 71 games remaining, they’d have to go 22-49, a dismal .309 winning percentage. The Rockies are currently playing at a.440 clip, so the last 71 games would have to go really poorly for 100 losses to be in play.
After grabbing their first road series win of the season last weekend against the Padres, the Rockies seem to be moving away from another dismal claim to fame, the worst road record of all time. That record currently belongs to the 1935 Boston Braves, who went...13-65. As it stands, five more wins away from Coors, and they’ll pass those Braves. Make it seven, and they’ll have leapfrogged a couple more teams to break out of the bottom four.
As frustrating as the team has been this season, there are also plenty of positives for Rockies fans to enjoy down the stretch. Germán Márquez has been on an absolute tear lately and will be looking to lay claim to the best season by any Rockies pitcher in franchise history. Could he best Kyle Freeland and crack the top three in NL Cy Young voting? It’s not out of the question.
There will also be the continued development of the young guys, hopefully, lead by Brendan Rodgers. He’s finally getting consistent plate appearances in the bigs and should only improve from here on out. Heck, we can even expect to see a few new faces once we hit the final month of the season? Ryan Rolison, perhaps?
While the playoffs are out of the question this year - prove me wrong Rockies, I dare you - there will be plenty to keep an eye on over the next two and a half months, even if a lot of it requires...patience. Fingers crossed we feel better about the future of this team after the season than we did at the beginning.
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I may be 1,500 miles away from Coors Field in the nation’s capital, but that (unsurprisingly) didn’t stop a litany of Purple Row writers from making their way to the All-Star game this week. If you want to turn back the clock and relive the game through their eyes, I’m here to make that possible. Let’s start with Joelle Milholm’s breakdown of Germán Márquez’s Tuesday night brilliance:
And make sure not to miss Justin Wick’s beautiful piece on how the game brought him and his family together for a night that was about much more than just a game:
Lastly - check back later today for an article containing all the best memories from Purple Row’s adventures at 20th and Blake this week. You’ll be glad you did.
On the farm
The Hartford Yard Goats were in it early until eight runs across the final three innings finally sunk them. After falling behind 2-0 in the first, the Hartford boys muscled three runs across in the sixth to grab the lead. They still held a one-run lead after both teams managed to score twice in the seventh, but reliever Julian Fernández got knocked around for four in the eighth to give the Fisher Cats the advantage. New Hampshire also got to Reagan Todd who took over for Fernández in the ninth to add on a pair of insurance runs.
A four run lead in the fourth wasn’t enough as a pair of tough innings sunk the Spokane Indians Wednesday night. Reliever Fineas del Bonta-Smith was saddled with a blown save and a loss after giving up three runs, while Jared Biddy came in to clean up the mess and promptly gave up three runs of his own. The loss brought the Indians’ record to 28-34 on the season.
The Fresno Grizzlies threw a combined shutout last night on the heels of five scoreless innings from starter Mike Ruff who gave up just one hit and four weeks while striking out five. Three bullpen arms shut it down the rest of the night by giving up zero hits, one walk, and adding on another four strikeouts. Coveted prospect and 2020 draft pick Zac Veen crushed a solo home run to pace the offense.
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