July 12 2010, 8:41 AM
Objective Colorado Rockies fans likely have mixed feelings about their team at the season's official halfway point. The Rockies played their final game before the All-Star break yesterday with a chance to tie the San Diego Padres for first place in the National League West. The Rockies carried a 6-5 lead into the eighth inning, but reliever Matt Belisle's wild throw to catcher Miguel Olivo on a tough play at home plate allowed the Padres to score two and go on to win the game 9-7 (recap via The Denver Post). Winning eight of the last ten games before the break, the Rockies sit at 49-39, two games behind the Padres in the division and in first place in the wild-card race. With 79 games left, the Rockies are in a good spot. They're doing a lot better than they probably should be, considering they didn't have their closer for most of the first half of the season and were without two of their starting pitchers for long stretches, as well. And the team is just now starting to pair solid hitting with solid pitching, a combination that has the Rockies looking like the kind of team many observers once expected to win its first division title this year. Those expectations are still high, with Sports Illustrated predicting the Rockies will lose the World Series four games to three to the Tampa Bay Rays. That prognosis may not be so far off if the Rockies can pick up where they left off when play resumes Friday night.