The Rockies at the break: Positive developments, warning signs

Given my fearless opening-day prediction that the Colorado Rockies would manage just 72 wins this season (a record they seemed well on their way to achieving during the early weeks of the season), the team's 47-41 mark at the All-Star break qualifies as surprising, and gratifying, news. But the sense of satisfaction that's been evident since the naming of Brad Hawpe and Jason Marquis to the All-Star Team feels more than a little premature due largely to the Rocks' inability to take advantage of home cooking. During the July 4th weekend, the locals dropped two of three to the Arizona Diamondbacks at Coors Field (the Snakes are currently fourth out of five in the National League West), and yesterday, they barely eked out a split with the Atlanta Braves thanks to Hawpe's ninth-inning double.

A mid-week sweep of the lowlier-than-lowly Washington Nationals helped the Rockies to a 6-4 homestand. However, if they want to contend for a wild-card slot, as opposed to exceeding subterranean expectations but missing the playoffs, they need to play consistently better at Coors. It's called "home-field advantage" for a reason, and during the next few days' worth of festivities, the Rocks would do well to remember that.

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