Intensity 08/26/2009Posted by sportretort in mlb, Sports, Uncategorized.
Tags: colorado rockies, los angeles dodgers, mlb, national league baseball, nl west, ryan spillborghs, san francisco giants, troy tulowitzki, wild card
You’ve heard of Christmas in July? How about Roctober in August!
Playoff style baseball has come to the Mile High City a bit early this season. Last Friday the Rockies returned home
for an important seven game home stand. They were 2 games ahead of the San Francisco Giants in the National League wild card race. Colorado also had pulled to with in 4 games of the Los Angeles Dodgers for the NL West lead. First came the Giants for 4 games. The series stood at 2 games to 1 for the Rockies heading into the Monday finale. The crowds had been large and electric. The baseball had been better than good. But nothing could prepare the Rockies faithful for what was in store.
The final game of that series was quite a contest. The Giants
scored first, taking a 1-0 lead. In the bottom of the fifth, the Rockies knotted the score at one each courtesy of a bases loaded walk. The score remained that way until the 14th inning. San Fran scored 3 times in the top of the inning, thanks mainly to a Giants triple. Game over, right? Not with these Rockies. In the bottom of the 14th, a bases loaded walk to the pitcher brought Colorado back to with in 2 runs. That brought Ryan Spillborghs to the plate. Spilly had come to bat in the 10th with runners on first and third and one out. He grounded into an inning ending double play, and he wanted a chance at redemption. He did not waste that chance. Spilly drove an 0-1 pitch over the right field wall for a walk off grand slam home run. The first walk off granny in Rockies history. He raced around the bases and touched off a mob scene at home plate with his teammates. The Rocks had taken care of the Giants, and had taken the series 3 games to one. When that home run cleared the wall, the Rockies next game loomed a scant 19 hours into the future. And with that game came the hated Dodgers.
The division leading Dodgers were off on Monday. They would be the well rested team. Surely that would be all the advantage they would need. The Rockies came into the bottom of the 4th inning hit less and trailing 2-0. A Todd Helton double and Brad Hawpe homer later, and the game was knotted 2-2. The Rockies took a 4-2 lead into the ninth. Closer Huston Street (33 saves in 34 opportunities) was unavailable, getting a off night after a heavy recent work load, and the bullpen faltered, allowing LA to tie the score at 4. Extra innings for the second straight night. The Rockies loaded the bases in the bottom of the 10th, and it was Troy Tulowitzki’s turn to be the hero. His single to left center plated the winning run and set off another mob scene at Coors Field. Two very large games at Coors Field in just over 24 hours, and two extra inning walkoff victories by the Rockies.
While nothing is won in August, these games loom large because of the roll the Rockies have been on. On June 3rd, the Rockies sat in last place in the NL West with a 20-32 record, 15 1/2 games behind the Dodgers, who were 37-18 at the time. Since that point, the Rockies have gone 52-22 while the Dodgers have gone 37-34. That 15 1/2 game lead is down to 2 games. In addition, the Rockies have opened a 4 game lead in the NL wild card race. The playoff momentum is building in Denver. The Rockies believe. They play hard and with heart every night. They bring an excitement to the game that is refreshing. They have good starting pitching, good relievers, excellent defense and potent offense. They have been the best team in the National League for the past 2 1/2 months. They go out each and every night expecting to win. Keep this up and they will win the first division title in their history. And Roctober will return to the playoffs.