The Colorado Rockies team that took the field Tuesday looked the same as the one that took the field Sunday. To many, this was a surprise, given Monday’s non-waiver trade deadline. Several Rockies players were the subject of trade rumors in the weeks leading up to deadline.
Right fielder Carlos Gonzalez, center fielder Charlie Blackmon and reliever Boone Logan were the most-talked about names. But all three were dressed in purple and white when Colorado kicked off its homestand with a 7-3 win over Dodgers on Tuesday.
So why, after all the whispers, does this group look the same?
Simple: Rockies management believes in this group.
That was the message Rockies general manager Jeff Bridich delivered in a state-of-the-union address Tuesday.
“I said prior to the break that I believed this team was better than our record at the time,” Bridich said. “And I think at the time, we were seven, eight or nine games under (.500). Something like that. And I felt like this team hadn’t really played its best baseball together as a group.”
Bridich was right. The Rockies have ripped off 13 wins in 18 games since the All-Star break. Tuesday’s win got Colorado back to .500 (53-53) and sliced the Marlins’ lead in the National League Wild Card race to 3 ½ games.
Colorado is one of a handful of teams vying for one of the two NL Wild Card spots. The Dodgers, Marlins, Cardinals, Mets and Pirates make up the rest of the group. Bridich knows the Rockies face long odds — especially now that Trevor Story is all but lost for the year — but he still believes.
“They’re not that far ahead of us,” he said. “They’re a couple games ahead of us. It’s not like were trying to make up eight, 10, 12 games. We’re right there. And it’s in our grasp, it’s in our control. So why not?”
The Rockies will have plenty of chances to make up ground.
They’re looking at several head-to-head match-ups against other Wild Card contenders over the last eight weeks of the season, including nine games left against the Dodgers, an upcoming series against Miami at home and a three-game set hosting the Cardinals in September.
There won’t be any significant new pieces that help Colorado make up the ground. It’s up to the players who’ve been here since spring training to get it done. That was the idea the Rockies front office had in mind when they were inactive Monday.
“If there was a message sent (to the players), great. I’m not the right person to ask that,” Bridich said. “I think that it was consistent in the fact that we believe in this group.”