It seems almost incongruous to say anything negative about a Colorado Rockies team that has far surpassed any and all expectations this season. However, if the divide between a simple feel-good story and that of legitimate contenders ready to compete in the NL West Division has been crossed, then the stakes and expectations have to be raised.
And if that’s the case, then losing to the Houston Astros, who have the second-lowest win totals in MLB, is inexcusable, especially the fashion in which the Rockies fell. Taking advantage of opportunities is a quality contenders posses, it was a quality the Rockies lacked Monday.
Here are some mind-boggling numbers that may cause an involuntary twitch: 15 — the number of runners the Rockies stranded on base. Five — the number of Rockies stranded at third base. Three — the number of hits the Rockies had Monday in the 18 at-bats with runners in scoring position.
One — the number of times a runner took the 90-foot journey from third to home that would have been enough for a Rockies victory.
The toughest to swallow of the blown opportunities came in the third inning. The Rockies juiced the bases with no outs but failed to score one run. Did I mention this game went in to extra innings? 4-for-18 from the plate with runners in scoring position would have been enough.
The news wasn’t all bad for the Rockies Monday. Michael Cuddyer, who left Sunday’s game after getting hit by a pitch, pinch-hit for Charlie Blackmon then filled in for him in right field. Jhoulys Chacin pitched into the eighth inning while egistering nine K’s, a solid outing.
The Astros snapped a three-game losing streak while sending the Rockies into a three-game slump of their own. Hopefully games like these don’t come back to bite Colorado when the pennant race heats up in the fall. Optimists would say it won’t, but knowledgeable baseball folks and realists would say it always does.