Can Rocks stayhome all year?

Jul 10, 2007 3:52 AM

The Colorado Rockies are making weekly publications like GamingToday look out of date. Seems this soap opera has a new plot each week.

Returning to Coors Field apparently solved the latest setback to a wild and crazy 2007 season for the Rockies. Suddenly the Rockies are right back in the NL West picture after losing all eight games on the last road trip and falling four games below .500.

In came the NL East leading New York Mets and Philadelphia to Coors and the Rocks reeled off five straight victories to cross the .500 mark again and back within five games of first in the NL West.

The volatility of Colorado has caused the books in Las Vegas to keep the pennant and World Series odds basically constant. The prevailing feeling from my inside sources is that nobody knows what to make of the Rockies. Even Dr. Melfi on the Sopranos is puzzled.

Check out these streaks over a two-month period.

”¡ After falling to a season worst 18-27 on May 21, the Rockies won seven in a row.

”¡ May 30- June 21: The Rocks lose three straight, then win 13-of-16.

”¡ June 21-July 8: Colorado hits the road and goes 0-8, then rebounds to win 6-of-7.

This latest run is being credited by the revamped bullpen, which hurled 10 straight scoreless innings against the Phillies and removed Brian Fuentes from the closer’s role. Fuentes was also replaced in Tuesday’s All-Star Game due to injury. In truth, ineffectiveness made Fuentes a questionable selection to begin with.

Again, the Coors Field factor has to be considered. Year in and year out, the Rockies are a far better ballclub at home. Whether it’s the humidor that’s responsible, the stats do not lie.

At 26-18, only the Milwaukee Brewers (30-13) have a better home record than the Rockies. The 18-25 mark away from Coors is among the five worst in the National League.

Colorado have outscored its opponents 47-21 on the seven-game homestand. The bad news is, Colorado goes back on the road this week after the All Star Game.

And, it’s immediate trouble. The Rocks are in Milwaukee for three beginning Friday. Then it’s off to Pittsburgh and its fine young pitching staff loaded with lefties. The trip ends with four games at Washington, which is just 3-10 against NL West opponents.

Garrett Atkins, the subject of trade rumors the past few weeks, rebounded from a dismal .188 batting average in May to hit .305 in June with eight homers and 25 RBI and is off to a .360 start in July with two homers and eight RBI.

Atkins is part of a Colorado batting order that features six .300 hitters and a strong bench featuring a now healthy Cory Sullivan and his .478 batting average.

Of course, next week’s story could be about the Rockies losing three at Milwaukee and more death notices issued. Then again.”¦