Colorado Rockies scoring with big balls and small

Local sports yakkers have been hyping the Colorado Rockies' current homestand as the most important in the history of the franchise, which strikes me as an example of enthusiasm trumping short-term memory. Seems to me there were some pretty key series at Coors Field during the run-up to the Rockies' World Series season, which took place waaaay back in 2007. Still, it was impossible not to get excited about the squad's response to Friday's opening-game 6-3 loss to the San Francisco Giants -- two come-from-behind victories, with the latest, yesterday's 4-2 win, being the most impressive despite fewer runs on the scoreboard. Ubaldo Jimenez wasn't intimidated by Giants starter Tim Lincecum even though the latter started out with five-plus innings of no-hit ball, and neither were the Rockies batters -- particularly Seth Smith, whose seventh-inning home run not only reached the upper deck, but seemed capable of flying straight through it. For me, though, the insurance tally the Rockies scored in the eighth inning was even more impressive. The team managed to notch a run despite just one hit -- a single by Troy Tulowitzki that bounced higher than its total distance from the plate. An error, a swinging bunt by Ian Stewart, a walk and a hit batsman did the rest of the damage, which qualified as death by a thousand cuts -- but death nonetheless.

Right now, the Rockies are as good at small ball as they are at SportsCenter-friendly bombs -- and if they can defeat the Giants later today and hold their own against the Los Angeles Dodgers, the next crew on the docket (and one that always seems to have the Rocks' number), they'll solidify their playoff chances in a major way whether they win the division or not. Of course, questions remain -- like, for instance, Jason Giambi? But if this weekend was any indication, the Rockies will have the answers.

KEEP WESTWORD FREE... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Michael Roberts has written for Westword since October 1990, serving stints as music editor and media columnist. He currently covers everything from breaking news and politics to sports and stories that defy categorization.
Contact: Michael Roberts