Friday, May 28, 2010

The Difference A Week Can Make

Last week at this time we were wondering what the Rockies needed to do to spark their offense.

This week the Rockies are raking, while fans of teams like St. Louis, Philadelphia, and the New York Yankees are all asking the same questions we were asking.

That's the beauty (and frustration) of baseball. Every team goes through slumps. Every good team works their way out of them. These past five games should make us feel pretty good about the Colorado Rockies

Of course there are a number of little things that the Rockies are doing better during this five game winning streak.

The extra base CarGo took in the first inning yesterday after a bobble by Chris Young is a good example. It was aggressive and smart, which is different than aggressive.

Aggressive is Tulowitzki attempting to go first-to-third in KC against David DeJesus and getting thrown out by a mile. That had very little chance of going well, but it qualifies as aggression just the same.

Smart and aggressive is CarGo running out of the box with purpose, not assuming anything, watching the opponent, knowing the opponent, and not hesistating to make his move. Can live without the head first slide, but the pure hustle involved there can never be questioned.

They aren't giving away ABs so easily. We were all pulling our hair out as batter after batter took awkward looking swing after awkward looking swing against very mediocre pitchers. It honestly looked like a team going through the motions, just taking their normal BP cuts at live pitches under the lights.

Starting with Greinke on Sunday, the offense has seemingly refocused their entire approach. Their patience has improved. Situational hitting has improved by leaps and bounds. And above all that, the longball has returned in force full. Nothing better than getting a quick one or three runs on the board in one swing.

The defense is back to making every play they need to make. They're also making several plays that few of their counterparts can make. When it's on, the defense can absolutely carry this team on a given day. Tuesday's 3-2 win was a shining example of that.

Bullpen structure. Jim Tracy has a better feel for where he wants to use guys and the guys are taking to their roles. It's a fairly significant thing where you look back at all the bullpen we saw the first six weeks of the season.

And those are just some of the things I'm noticing that have improved.  They're pretty obvious to see, but sometimes writing the obvious is the best way to go.

Now that the Rockies have all these things going in their favor, they are in a position to make up a move up the divisional standings earlier than we're used to.