Remember when the Rockies couldn't hit themselves out of a paper bag from the 6th-7th inning on? When was that? 2004? Sure seems that long ago with the way this offense is firing right now.
It's impossible to even imagine the team went through a stretch that awful for such a prolonged period of time. But that's baseball. Just when you think you have the answers, the game changes the questions.
There's a common threat holding this entire offensive turnaround together.
That thread? The Colorado Springs Sky Sox.
Jonathan Herrera. Chris Iannetta. Dexter Fowler. Brad Eldred.
All men who came up from AAA or were shipped to AAA to fix their swing and returned with an improved offensive mindset. Rene Lachemann deserves a lot of the credit for this. The young men thmselves also deserve the credit for their hard work and dedication, but Lachemann is a truly professional baseball man that the Rockies are very lucky to have in their organization.
Let's see how the Four Horsemen of the Springs fared tonight.
In his Rockies debut, Eldred hit three baseballs extremely hard. Each resulted in a hit. Each hit led to Eldred scoring a run. That's making an impact.
Three more hits. Didn't score a run or knock a run in but kept the lineup moving. Made the opposing pitchers throw extra pitches. He's a professional pain the ass.
There aren't going to be many situations where you'll want to see Dexter Fowler swing for the fences. Down three in the 8th inning with two men on base is one of those rare times. Fowler came through, as he seemingly has everyday since his recall.
Highlight: Fowler's 3-Run Blast
This is the guy we all prayed Fowler would become. We had our doubts through all the struggles. Of course there's always still work to be done to improve and remain consistent, but he's in a great place right now. Just going through a stretch like this will give him confidence in the future that he can overcome any and all slumps.
Well, you already know about the walk-off bomb.
He won't be reclaiming everyday catching duties any time soon, but he's not the lonely lost kitten out there anymore either.
In total: 8-18, 2 HR, 2B, 6 R, 4 RBI
Is tonight's overlooked star of the game.
Stewart didn't even start the game, yet by the completion of the 6th inning he was 2-for-2 with 3 RBI. Seriously. And both hits came against a lefty. Those two knocks set the stage for another special comeback.
Highlight: Stewart's Tough Grab
Not good again tonight for Cook. I'll say this in his defense, in Jeff Francis' defense, in Jhoulys Chacin's defnese and in Esmil Rogers' defense... the Cardinals can flat rake.
I'm still less worried about Cook right now than Francis, but maybe all involved should get a little pass for having to deal with a Cardinal offense that is as hot as it's been all season.
Matt Belisle & Huston Street
That said, these two men, along with Manny Corpas last night, deserve all the more credit for holding St. Louis down and allowing the Rockies offense to peck away and eventually finish the job.
Huston Street gets his first win of the season. Matt Belisle gets another huge pat on the back from all his appreciative teammates.
These past 7-10 days have been all about winning team baseball. Guys picking others up. Guys coming up from the minors and contributing immediately. It's incredibly fun to watch and it's satisfying to watch because you know your favorite baseball team is doing their work the right way.
There are just some teams and organizations that win constantly whose fans can't honestly experience that feeling. That's great for them that their team wins, but I think it has to be a little bit of a hollow enjoyment compared to teams like the Rockies and Twins.
Ubaldo Jimenez vs Chris Carpenter
Seems like Ubaldo needs to be pretty special to wrestle the all-star starting gig from Josh Johnson. That should serve as great motivation. Chris Carpenter will just be motivated to pitch a complete game so the St. Louis bullpen can't implode again.
Gonna be a fun afternoon at the yard.