September: A month in search of answers for Rockies

The Colorado Rockies National League baseball ...
The Colorado Rockies National League baseball club at Coors Field in Denver. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Yes, it’s a week until the NFL regular season begins and I’m talking about the lowly Rockies still. But there’s a reason why. The last month of the 2013 campaign will show a great deal as to how the club might fare next year.

I’ll save my season review until after the Rox finish their 162nd game. To sum up how 2013 has gone so far this year, it’s this: when the Rockies hit, they don’t pitch and when they pitch, they don’t hit. Once again, consistency has eluded the purple pinstripes.

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The month of September needs to be about finding nine guys every night that will compete and get the job done. This time of the season often results in managers of bad teams giving call-ups chances to play, since rosters expand from 25 to 40.

Frankly, manager Walt Weiss would be stupid to roll out minor league lineups on a regular basis from here on out. Unlike other mediocre teams, such as the Twins, the Rockies don’t have the next Clayton Kershaw or Yasiel Puig in the farm system.

Weiss also has the difficult task of filling out a lineup card that doesn’t include Todd Helton, who is almost certain to announce his retirement at the conclusion of the season. Rockies fans would also like to see at least one starting pitcher not named Jorge de la Rosa or Jhoulys Chacin prove that they should be in the rotation to begin 2014.

In terms of actual opponents, the Rox have a daunting September. They host the ridiculously hot Dodgers at Coors Field before heading out on their final lengthy road trip of the season, which features three series against the Padres, Giants and Diamondbacks.

The final homestand of the season plates nine games with the Cardinals, Dbacks and Red Sox. 2013 is officially over for the Rockies Sep. 29 in Los Angeles following an afternoon contest with the Dodgers.

It all adds up to 25 games in the final month of the season. Facing opponents boasting above .500 records almost every day, the Rockies could easily lose 15 to 18 games in September. Here are five things to watch for if you’re a Rockies fan.

  1. Michael Cuddyer will surely get plenty of starts at first base, the position he will play next year. Can Corey Dickerson and Charlie Blackmon prove to the front office that a newly acquired outfielder isn’t necessary for 2014?
  2. Tyler Chatwood supplanted himself as a middle-of-the-rotation guy for next season before going down with an injury. Will he return in September, and if so, will he pick up where he left off?
  3. Is there going to be a call-up that makes an impact enough to push for a spot on the Opening Day roster next year (i.e. Eddie Butler)?
  4. Can Juan Nicasio or Chad Bettis string together several quality starts? If not, the front office needs to acquire at least one proven starting pitcher for 2014.
  5. How will Todd Helton do in what is certain to be his final month as a Rockie? The longtime face of the franchise will continue to move up all-time lists for walks, doubles, home runs, hits and runs batted in.