For the first time since the 2012 season, the Colorado Rockies are making some noise in the National League West, and they can now be considered a legitimate contender for an NL Wild Card berth.
Since 1993, when the Rockies came into existence, pitching has been a major problem for them. Usually, it has been a huge factor in their losing records. Although Coors Field has a vast outfield, balls still fly out of the stadium at an alarming rate.
This year, the Rockies have the third-worst pitching in the NL with a 4.77 ERA, but the staff has been better than it had been for the past few years. The Rockies have a pitching staff comprised of both veterans and young pitchers, and they don't seem to be intimidated by Coors Field. These pitchers understand the importance of keeping the ball low in the strike zone, inducing the opposition to hit ground balls. They have allowed just 114 home runs -- seventh-best in the NL.
Since the team came into existence, the Rockies usually have had a powerful, productive offense. In some years, it hadn't translated away from Coors Field. This season, the Rockies have scored the most runs in the league. Both DJ LeMahieu and Carlos González are in the top five in batting average in the league.
Last Saturday against the New York Mets, the Rockies suffered a blow that would give most teams a difficult time staying competitive, but since then they have won four out of eight games. Rookie shortstop Trevor Story tore ligaments in his thumb, requiring season-ending surgery. Story was vying for the NL Rookie of the Year Award. His 27 home runs were tied for first in the league with teammate Nolan Arenado when his injury occurred.
Although Arenado doesn't get the same attention from the media as Bryce Harper of the Washington Nationals and Mike Trout of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, he is the same caliber of player as they are. Arenado, 25, has been in the league for three years and has won three Gold Glove Awards, and he is poised to win another one this season. He leads the NL in both homers and RBIs. If the Rockies remain competitive for the rest of the season, Arenado should be a strong contender for the NL MVP Award.
Throughout their struggles, the fans have supported the Rockies well. It's good to see the team finally is rewarding its fans' patience.