Thursday, June 11, 2009

6/11/09 - COL 5, @ MIL 4 - "Eight"

As much as I enjoy listening to baseball on the radio, I have a tough time listening to the late innings of a close game while I’m driving. Thankfully, I wasn’t in my car during today’s seventh inning, when for the second time in two days, Joel Peralta nearly caused me to have a stroke.

With the bases loaded, two outs, and a two-run lead in the seventh, I waited for the inevitable bases-clearing double from Ryan Braun. I swore at Peralta when he fell behind in the count. If there’s one thing I know about the 2009 Rockies, it’s that eventually things are going to turn for the worse.

Except that over the past eight days, what I thought I knew about this team has gone almost completely out the window. The Rockies never won one-run games – they do now. The Rockies never came back to win games – they do now. The Rockies didn’t get the big hit or make the big pitch… they do now, and did today when Peralta blew a 91-mph fastball down and in past Braun to end the inning.

The best way I can describe the Rox right now? It’s like they were a beat up old car that had been through some bad weather, some mud and dirt… and then it went through a car wash and came out the other side looking shiny and new. There’s a newness to the team, almost like they’ve been able to push a RESET button on the entire season and start playing the kind of baseball they – and we – all thought they were capable of playing when they broke camp in April.

You get the sense that nobody’s concerned with the 28-32 record, or how far back they are in the West and Wild Card standings, or any of the rumors about players getting traded. They’re just showing up and playing ball, and it’s been a winning brand of ball.

It’s not as simple as just playing better. There’s a different attitude and a different confidence level that’s evident just watching the team on a daily basis. There’s a killer instinct late in games that hasn’t been there since… well, Rocktober. Which, not coincidentally, was the last time it’s been this good to be a Rockies fan.

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