Giants Rockies Baseball

Colorado Rockies' C.J. Cron follows the flight of his solo home run off San Francisco Giants relief pitcher Sean Hjelle in the sixth inning of a baseball game, Tuesday, Sept. 20, 2022, in Denver. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

DENVER — Where would the Rockies be without CJ Cron? 

Well, an already-lackluster offense would have 29 fewer home runs and 101 fewer RBIs. Cron provided the only spark of offense on Tuesday, hitting a home run in the fifth and a RBI double in the eighth. He finished his night a triple shy of the cycle as the Giants beat the Rockies 6-3.  

"Traditional numbers, 30 (home runs) and 100 (RBIs), that's legit," manager Bud Black said. "He's been the guy. Broad shoulders and he's doing it. That's a lot to ask and he's providing it."

A team built with the goal of power, the Rockies have only 134 home runs, eighth-worst in the league despite playing half of their games at altitude. Take Cron out of the equation and no other players have even close to 20 home runs.  

Cron knows his importance on the team, and that they rely on him to put up runs in big spots. And even though he thrives on the pressure, he can't do it alone.

"I probably put a little too much pressure on myself, but I wouldn't have it any other way," he said. "My job is to drive in runs and that's what I'm going to do."

A healthy Kris Bryant likely can provide a number in the mid-20s, if not higher, but one thing is clear: this team needs power, and they need it now if they want to be competitive. Four of the five best teams in MLB — the Yankees, Braves, Astros and Dodgers — all rank in the top five in home runs. 

The Rockies have some of the pieces already. Randal Grichuk has done it before, and so has Charlie Blackmon earlier in his career. Ryan McMahon and Brendan Rodgers could probably hit 20 a piece if all things go right. Michael Toglia and Elehuris Montero have the potential, but haven't proven themselves at the major league level yet. They have two and five respectfully so far in their young careers.

But the biggest key is doing it all season. Even Cron — who is on track to finish with a career-high in games played, home runs and RBIs — has struggled in the second half. 

"We didn't have the season we wanted to," Cron said. "We are just going to have to eat it this year. ... We are going to be better. We have to be better. I think everyone knows that."

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