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Less than two weeks ago, the Colorado Rockies offered local sports fans realistic hopes of playoff baseball in LoDo. After all, the team included two of the most exciting young players (Carlos Gonzalez and Troy Tulowitzki), one of the league’s best pitchers (Ubaldo Jimenez, pictured), and one of the league’s best home-field records. And, as Yahoo! Sports points out, the Rockies were less than half a game out of first place—and surging. Fast forward two weeks, and the team has lost eight of its past nine games and is now officially eliminated from post-season play in 2010.
“It’s pretty sudden,” closer Huston Street tells The Denver Post after a disappointing 9-7 loss to the Los Angeles Dodgers at Coors Field last night. “But you don’t do what we’ve done the last week and expect to stay in it.”
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The team has its final home game of 2010 later today versus the Dodgers at Coors Field, before heading to St. Louis for the final three games of the year.
Rockies fans are in a familiar position, looking to next year and hoping for the best. One familiar face will return in 2011: Todd Helton. Despite struggling through one of the worst seasons of his professional career, Helton says there’s no way he’s retiring (via The Denver Post). The Rockies will likely bring in a right-handed hitter to pair with Helton at first base, giving the aging hitter a chance at limited play, which may help his longevity (and hopefully his performance at the plate). Keeping Helton likely means fan-favorite Jason Giambi won’t be back in Denver next year, even though he also says he won’t be retiring and he’d love to return to the Rockies.
Besides the return of the game, Colorado baseball junkies have even more to look forward to next spring: the opening of the new Salt River Fields at Talking Stick spring training facility (sign up for updates on yet-to-be announced spring training schedules here).