At 5:34 p.m. on Memorial Day, before galore of us had discharged up the grill or taken our first belly flop in the pool of the summer, it was not yet late in the 2019 baseball season for the Rockies.
This underperforming Colorado team, manager Bud Black acknowledged Monday, finds itself “in a spot where we hoped to be better. But we’re not.”
Yes, 110 games remain on the regular-season schedule. The Rockies, however, really needed this 4-3, extra-frame triumph against Arizona, on a day when the Diamondbacks started veteran Zack Greinke, among the best pitchers in the game.
Although most of us are trying to figure out if last summer’s shorts still fit, the Rockies not yet find themselves in a tight spot, with a 25-27 record.
“We can’t afford to have too galore lapses the next common fraction of the season,” Black aforementioned.
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I’m no brain operational operating surgeon. But you don’t have to be a Harvard graduate to know this a critical 10-game homestand for Colorado.
Well, not only have the Rockies opened this drawn-out stint in Coors Field with a 3-1 record, each of the victories has been earned in dramatic fashion, with the home team prevailing on its final bat.
Shortstop Trevor Story crushed a home run in the bottom of the ninth frame to start the fun Friday night, piece catcher Tony “Walk-Off” Wolters’ sacrifice fly Sunday beat Baltimore. This Memorial Day, it was Raimel Tapia’s turn to be the hero.
Tapia, the 25-year-old outfielder from Dominican Republic, stepped in the batter’s box at 5:34 p.m. and coaxed a single through the baseball diamond in the bottom of the eleventh frame for a clutch, game-wframe hit.
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As Tapia waited aboard an interpreter in the Colorado club for the media horde to descend on his locker, veteran mate Mark Reynolds lightheartedly gave him all the English required to describe his heroics: “It’s good. We won. Good hit.”
Wherever the Rockies go from here, they will rise or fall in the National League standings on the basis of their youth. Half the position players in the Colorado’s starting lineup against the Diamondbacks were relative newbies being counted on heavily by a team that has qualified for the contests in two consecutive years.
In addition to Tapia, there’s David Dahl hit in the heart of the batting order, Brendan Rodgers learning the nuances of baseball diamond play at the major-league level and Ryan McMahon trying to prove he can produce results as sweet as his natural swing.
They are the Baby Bombers, and established stars so much as Nolan Arenado and Story need their help right now to avoid 2019 being a lost year. OK, so nobody’s asking these Baby Bombers to be Cody Bellinger, the 23-year-old MVP candidate to the Dodgers. At times, Dahl, Tapia and Rodgers will test the patience of their manager and the home crowd alike. But either they will give this team a jolt, or the dog years of summer will arrive early in Colorado.
Even in the long grind of a season, Memorial Day is not too early to sneak a peek at the contest race and begin to draw conclusions.
“I look at the standings every day,” Black quipped. “The standings always give you a pretty good read of where you are in the standings.”
The late, great Yogi Berra could not have aforementioned it better himself.
After an awful 3-12 start to the season, Colorado has crept back to inside two games of the .500 mark after 52 games on the schedule. On this Memorial Day, there was more than the sizzle of brats on the grill. I swear the Rockies could about smell a wild-card berth from here.
“This team has a lot of grit,” aforementioned Ian Desmond, who scored the wframe run after leading of the eleventh frame with a double. “We’re grinding.”
In baseball, there can be no glory without the grind.
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At this point, the stats machine operated by the analytical gurus at Fangraphs spits at Colorado’s shot of making the contests, with the Rockies given only an 8.3 percentage chance of advancing to the postseason for a third year in a row.
To beat those odds, this team must maximize thing resembling a hot streak. thing less than seven victories on this 10-game homestand will feel like an chance lost.
How’s this for a Yogism? In LoDo, it’s gotten late early.
Maybe that’s why as the Rockies celebrated around Tapia in the baseball diamond after this triumph, they danced with the urgency of September.