.500 will keep Rocks in race

Jun 20, 2006 4:55 AM

Our frequent stories this year about the Colorado Rockies always starts out with a definitive storyline that suddenly fails to apply 72 hours later.

Take this past week, when the Rockies were 7-2 in their last nine ballgames, only to have St. Louis come into Coors minus Albert Pujols and come away with a three-game sweep.

So instead of euphoria over the Rockies reversing two lengthy losing skids, they fall back into last place in the Wild Wild NL West where .500 is like even par at Winged Foot. Staying optimistic, Colorado begins the week just 2½ games out of the lead. Basically, throw a blanket over the five division teams as they approach 70 of a 162-game regular season.

The latest odds of winning the division, as listed at the Palms Casino Resort just off the Las Vegas Strip, has Los Angeles at 6-5, Arizona 14-5, San Diego 3-1, San Francisco 5-1 and the Rockies 8-1.

The good news is that Colorado isn’t in the American League Central. Imagine the plight of the Minnesota Twins, who have won seven in a row to get back to .500 and still can’t gain ground on either Detroit or the world champion White Sox. The Twins start the week 9½ behind, but certainly a team that can generate a whole lot of cash flow in the betting world.

No reason why the Rockies can’t do the same. If Colorado can produce a 10-game winning streak like Oakland is on, it too can rise from the cellar to the top of the division within a week to 10 days.

If you want to point a finger at someone on the ballclub, maybe it’s lefty Jeff Francis. Two weeks ago he was 5-3 and the Rockies were in first place. Now, he’s 5-6 and they’re last. Fault never is that simple. However, if the 6-foot-5 lefty regains his form, look for Colorado’s record to improve.

The Rockies-Cardinals matchup last weekend was the only one not involving AL vs NL teams. Colorado now faces a dose of the AL West at home, unfortunately against the division’s hottest teams Oakland and Texas.

Colorado has had two losing streaks of at least five games within the past month and the reason boils down to lack of offense. Again, in the three losses to St. Louis, the Rockies scored just eight runs at Coors.

Taking the positive approach, Colorado has not been worse than two games below the .500 this year. Should this trend continue, an 8-1 futures bet on the Rockies is a good play in a division nobody can dominate.