The San Francisco Giants, Arizona Diamondbacks, Los Angeles Dodgers and San Diego Padres woke up on Wednesday morning staring up at the Colorado Rockies in the division race, and fans of the Rockies can thank Carlos Gonzalez, Michael Cuddyer and Dexter Fowler for the most part.
This isn’t the first time the Rockies have been in first place this season, but it is the first time they’ve returned to the top spot since falling to fourth place last week after being swept in San Francisco.
Their 10 victories rank third in the majors, and second in the National League.
So how did this bunch of overachievers, if you choose to call them that, get to be the early-season stunner?
Some of it had to do with the ability to come back. The Rockies found themselves trailing in five of the games that they ended up winning. Their biggest comeback of the season came in the second game of Tuesday’s doubleheader against the New York Mets. The Mets led 8-2 in the fifth inning of that contest before the Rockies picked themselves up, scored a few runs and took advantage of some defensive lapses.
Sure, the comeback would have been tougher had the Mets not made those errors, but teams have to be able to take advantage of the breaks that come their way. That’s what the Rockies did to secure their 10th win.
What’s carried the team this far is the offense, primarily the aforementioned players. Gonzalez (.380) and Cuddyer (.367) entered Wednesday in fifth and eighth place, respectively, among NL hitters when it comes to batting average. In on-base percentage, Gonzalez is third in the league while Cuddyer is tied for eighth.
In slugging percentage, the Rockies have four players in the top 10. Gonzalez is second (.740), Fowler is fourth (.708), Wilin Rosario (.634) is ninth, and Cuddyer (.633) is 10th.
You know what’s not helping? Pitching.
The Rockies’ team ERA is 4.19, while the NL average is 3.93. It would be nice for Rockies fans, and a lot easier for the offense, if the pitching staff could get with the program. Fowler’s sore foot and the Rockies’ 10-0 loss to the Giants last week are indicators that the offense won’t be there or produce every day.
If the Rockies are ever going to get comfortable in the penthouse of the NL West, the pitching staff is going to have to start carrying its share of the load.