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Klee: By cruising past NL West visitors, Rockies pass early test

By: Paul Klee
May 22, 2013 Updated: May 22, 2013 at 6:25 pm
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photo - Colorado Rockies' Yorvit Torrealba, points skyward before a baseball game against the Arizona Diamondbacks, Wednesday, May 22, 2013, in Denver. The Rockies won 4-1. (AP Photo/Barry Gutierrez)
Colorado Rockies' Yorvit Torrealba, points skyward before a baseball game against the Arizona Diamondbacks, Wednesday, May 22, 2013, in Denver. The Rockies won 4-1. (AP Photo/Barry Gutierrez) 

DENVER - On the TVs around the Rockies clubhouse, the flat screens showed the colors of the emergency broadcast system.

No games, no highlights. Just yellow, white, blue, green, pink, red, blue stripes.

This homestand was a test, only a test, but a test in the NL West.

"That was a good homestand," shutdown closer Rex Brothers said. "We needed that."

The Rockies earned a B-plus.

Seven games, five wins, against the top teams in the NL West: San Francisco and Arizona.

At Coors Field, this was a smooth pour.

If not for blowing a 6-0 lead in the homestand opener against the Giants, this was an A.

In the ninth inning of Wednesday's 4-1 win against the Diamondbacks, catcher Yorvit Torrealba approached Brothers on the mound.

"He said, 'Pretend it's the eighth," Brothers recalled. "'I'm tired. Hurry up.'"

Does that sound like a team waiting for the wheels to come tumbling off?

There's a long ways to go. It is OK, though, to state the facts.

On May 23, heading into another series with the Giants, the Rockets are 26-21, tied atop the division with the D-Backs and the Giants, who played later Wednesday. For the Rockies, 26-21 is an improvement of eight wins at this point last season.

But this was a test.

Entering this B-plus homestand, the Rockies had lost eight of 12 and were bumbling. On the street, it was uh-oh, here-it-comes-again time.

Testing, testing, testing.

There's a chess set in the Rockies clubhouse, hidden next to a bag of baseballs, over by Wilin Rosario's locker. In this homestand, Walt Weiss had to juggle his chess pieces.

He found an able sub for injured closer Rafael Betancourt. Brothers has pitched 19 straight scoreless innings and earned his second career save.

He plugged leadoff hitter Dexter Fowler into the cleanup spot Wednesday, the first time Fowler has started a game there. Fowler went 2-for-4 with a double.

"It doesn't matter where you play him," Carlos Gonzalez said.

He rode the heavy bats - not heavy legs - of Troy Tulowitzki and Gonzalez. In his past 12 games at home, Tulo is batting .462 with 10 RBIs. CarGo zip-lined a 418-foot homer.

"It creates a lot of motivation for us," CarGo said of the brief homestand.

If this were a 2-5 homestand, not 5-2, we would be writing the epilogue of the Rockies season. Prematurely, but that's the curse of covering a team that lost 98 games a year ago.

By taking a pair of series from the Giants (3-1) and Diamondbacks (2-1), the Rockies earned a passing grade that goes on Mom's fridge.

"There's no doubt you've got to go through the Giants, because they're the world champs," Weiss said.

Next up: the Giants, for three games, at AT&T Park.

This is a test.

-

Twitter: @Klee_Gazette

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