Avs, Nuggetscan study Rocks

May 16, 2006 1:34 AM

Is the world really flat? Is Coors Field a pitcher’s park. Is Elway making a comeback?

However Colorado sports fans look at it, the Nuggets and Avalanche are out and the once lowly Rockies are in first place.

It’s not a surprise to the experts at GamingToday, who called for a last to first rise in the NL West for the Rockies as early as last December. For the first 45 days of the season, we’ve merely been proven right.

Check this out — the esteemed and highly respected Caesars Palace Race and Sports Book in Las Vegas has lowered the odds from 150-1 to 50-1 for the Rocks to win the World Series. And, the numbers are even better to win NL pennant (an original 75-1 down to the present 25-1).

The Rockies are second only to Cincinnati in money winnings, up nine units ($900) thus far — including a league-best $590 profit per $100 bet against right-handed pitching.

These stats tell a lot of the story, but what has truly turned the tables on years of cellar-dwelling is Colorado’s newfound ability to win on the road. The Rocks are 12-8 away from Coors, an although struggling this past week at St. Louis and Houston, they have been a far cry from the laughable bunch that was thought up as a team that couldn’t hit a lick away from home.

Not only can Colorado hit, but the pitching at Coors has been phenomenal. Take away Jason Jennings’ eight homers and the pitching staff has yielded just 22 in the first 37 games. Jennings, Aaron Cook and Jeff Francis have been a formidable starting trio, while lefty Brian Fuentes has posted nine saves as the closer.

On offense, the Rockies have excellent balance, led by veteran All Star and Gold Glove first baseman Todd Helton. But the organization’s coming superstar could well be outfielder Matt Holliday, who raised his average 72 points in the 14 games prior to this past weekend’s series at Houston. Holliday was hitting .307 and led the team in homers (10) and RBI (33).

It’s hard to say how long the Rockies can hang on to first place. Arizona is in a virtual tie for the top spot, San Diego is having another hot May and Nomar Garciaparra has given sudden life to a listless LA Dodgers offense.

But, for now all is well in Coors Country, even if the Nuggets and Avs are playing golf early.