Rockies’ second half surge depends on Freeland (and others) saving the season

Sep 13, 2018; Denver, CO, USA; Colorado Rockies starting pitcher Kyle Freeland (21) in the dugout in the seventh inning against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Coors Field. Mandatory Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

It’s no longer “early” for the Colorado Rockies.

When they limped out of the gate at 3-12, and some of us were concerned, “Early Guy” was there to constantly remind us that 2019 had just started.

It was the equivalent of the Broncos being down at half of their first game, or something like that.

But with the 2019 All-Star Game now a thing of the past, it’s go time for the Rockies, and it’s certainly no longer early.

Sitting at 44-45 after the first half of the season, a third straight playoff appearance no longer feels like a certainty. In fact, it feels more unlikely than likely this Colorado team plays a postseason game.

The reality is the Rockies had a chance to win the division a season ago because Kyle Freeland and German Marquez both had career years. Glad we didn’t get used to that.

Marquez has looked fine in 2019, Freeland, as it’s been well documented, has struggled tremendously. In fact, it hasn’t really mattered if he’s been wearing a Rockies uniform or an Isotopes uniform, the results have been flat out ugly.

Realistically, it will probably take 90 wins to get a shot at the N.L. Wild Card game. I’m not a mathematician, but this one isn’t too tough to figure out. That’s a 46-27 mark down the stretch.

To go from one game under .500 in the first half, to 19 games over in the second half is quite the task. And by no means is it impossible, but it does feel improbable.

Unless…

Well, unless things start to click for certain guys on the roster.

General manager Jeff Bridich hasn’t been known for acquiring a big name starter at the trade deadline, so the most likely outcome is maybe another bullpen arm or two, similar to what he’s done to reinforce the roster each of the last two seasons.

So that means the help is going to have to come from within.

First and foremost, Freeland has to find his way back to the majors and be Freeland again. It’s the biggest question mark in the organization right now (what in the world happened?), but we’ve seen him do it before and he’s going to have to do it again.

The team’s “big” offseason signing in Daniel Murphy needs to produce more as well. Yes, he dealt with the finger injury that cost him most of April, but it’s July 11 and he still hasn’t hit a home run at Coors Field. That’s alarming.

Murphy’s glove has also left something to be desired. For the Rockies to make the playoffs, he has to be better all around.

Once Brendan Rodgers makes it back from the injured list, he needs to show a lot more than what he’s produced thus far. He’s flashed almost no pop, and some fans are starting to wonder what all the hype was about. It might be a lot to put on the kid, but Colorado probably doesn’t make the dance without him.

In the bullpen they need Wade Davis to get right. They need Seungwhan Oh to get right. They need a little more consistency out of Bryan Shaw and Carlos Estevez.

And this piece hasn’t even mentioned the good things about the Rockies in the first half. The problem is: Those guys have to be just as good if not better in the second half.

They can’t afford a dip from Nolan Arenado, Charlie Blackmon, David Dahl or Trevor Story at the plate. Ian Desmond, Raimel Tapia and Tony Wolters must continue to overachieve.

On the mound, Jon Gray has to continue his resurgence with Scott Oberg being nails at the back end of the bullpen. Marquez must take his game up a level as well.

Those ten guys have all been pretty damn good for the Rockies, they just need more out of the other 15.

It’s no longer “early” for the Rockies.

A postseason berth depends on some of them waking up.

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