DENVER — It’s not you, 2016 World Series teams. It’s them.
The Rockies have a terrible memory. They forget things. Or are they simply ignoring the past — their own, which says they were not supposed to be the first National League team to 40 wins, and that of the big boys who once were baseball’s best?
After winning the first three at Wrigley Field, the Rockies are 8-1 against the Cubs and Indians, the reigning NL and AL champs. The Rox had five straight against the World Series qualifiers from a year ago. They won all five, by a lopsided, loopy score of 37-9. Sunday, they go for the Wrigley Field sweep.
“They were the world champions last year,” Ian Desmond corrected reporters after the first series win against Chicago. “This year they’re just the Cubs.”
Overall and in an upset, the rockin’ Rockies are 19-9 against playoff teams from a year ago. To be the best (record) in the NL, they’ve beaten the best in the NL (aside from the Nationals, who are 3-1 against the boys in purple).
Break up the Rox! Colorado’s won seven straight for the first time in over six years. Friday, they zoomed to 17 games above .500 — the first time they’ve been there since the Wild Card tiebreaker game against the San Diego Padres in Rocktober 2007. The Rockies have opponents swearing their name.
History says the Rockies won’t last. They don’t seem to care about history. Beating the Cubs, again, this time 9-1 on Saturday, bumped their June record to 8-1. They’re 5-1 against the champion Cubs while — get this — throwing rookie starters in five of the six games. Tulo, who-lo? Rookie starter Jeff Hoffman, the Rox centerpiece of the Troy Tulowitzki trade, threw the Cubs a nasty curve: one hit through five innings. “The Hoff” had eight strikeouts, one walk and allowed one run. In search of a single win — say, in a wild card tiebreaker — Hoffman would be my choice at the moment.
“I executed a bunch of pitches and the defense played great behind me,” Hoffman told assembled media in Chicago.
The Rockies are in great shape but, it must be remembered, are guaranteed nothing yet.
“It’s still really early,” said center fielder Charlie Blackmon, the best leadoff man in baseball and an early MVP candidate, prior to this road swing.
With 98 games remaining — see, that's a lot — the Rockies are on pace for 104 wins. If they can just go .500 the rest of the way, it would make them 90-72. Over the previous five seasons it took an average of 91 wins to land a wild card spot in the NL. Yes, Chuck’s right. It’s still really early.
Right now the Rox are rollin’, better than the returning World Series teams, the premier road squad in baseball (with 24 wins away from Coors Field). The June swoon is now the June boon, and the Rockies refuse to kiss the ring.