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How the 2009 Rockies Improved 18 Games from the Previous Season

Back in 2007, the Colorado Rockies made their first franchise appearance in the World Series. Unfortunately, they were swept by the Boston Red Sox. The following year, the team failed to make the postseason. They finished with a 74-88 record and placed third in the National League West division. However, the 2009 Rockies proved all the doubters wrong. They won 18 more games than the year before, finishing second in the NL West with a 92-70 record. This 92-win season is the most wins in a single season by a Rockies team. Although Colorado was eliminated by the Philadelphia Phillies in the NLDS, this ’09 squad is certainly one of the best all-around teams in Rockies history. From the team firing a manager to trading away some of their old cornerstone pieces, this Colorado team went out and showed how special they could have been.

How the 2009 Rockies Improved 18 Games from the 2008 Season

Offseason Trades

A few weeks after the 2008 season ended, the Rockies traded Matt Holliday to the Oakland Athletics for Carlos González, Huston Street, and Greg Smith. Holliday was a huge piece for the franchise at one point. The Rockies and the seven-time All-Star could not agree on a contract extension. After a few months in the trade market, Holliday would get sent to the A’s and spend time with the team’s personal hitting coach and former first baseman Mark McGwire. A few months later, Colorado traded Luis Vizcaíno to the Chicago Cubs for Jason Marquis. The final trade was the Rockies sending Aneury Rodríguez to the Tampa Bay Rays for Jason Hammel. The team also signed Matt Belisle in free agency.

The Hiring of Interim Manager Jim Tracy

Colorado started the season off losing 28 of their first 46 games. That’s a lousy 18-28 record. From that point, the Rockies decided to fire manager Clint Hurdle and hired interim manager Jim Tracy. Jim played for the Chicago Cubs from 1980-1981. He then served as the manager of the Los Angeles Dodgers, Pittsburgh Pirates, and the Rockies. Although he coached for two previous teams, Tracy won his first and only Manager of the Year Award with the Rockies during that spectacular 2009 season. Once he was hired, he led the Rockies to a 74-42 record. The team would clinch the NL Wild Card, beating out their division rivals, the San Francisco Giants by four games.

Great Play Against Bad Teams

The Rockies were undefeated against a few teams during the ’09 season. They went 7-0 against the 78-84 Cincinnati Reds. Then, they went 6-0 against the worst team in MLB during the 2009 season, the Washington Nationals. Finally, Colorado went 6-0 against the 80-82 Milwaukee Brewers. The Rockies had their best record against teams from the NL Central. Colorado went 29-6 against the five teams in that division. Even with the team reaching the postseason, during the regular season, the Rockies had their toughest time against the Los Angeles Dodgers, against whom they went 4-14.

The Play of Three All-Stars

Five-time All-Star Troy Tulowitzki led the Rockies with 32 home runs and 92 runs batted in. Hall of Fame first baseman Todd Helton led the team with 177 hits and an awesome .325 batting average. Ubaldo Jimenez and Jason Marquis each had 15 wins in 33 appearances on the mound. However, Jimenez in 218 innings pitched led all starters with a 3.47 ERA and 198 strikeouts. Jorge De La Rosa led the team with 16 wins, although he did not make the All-Star team.

2009 Rockies Team Stats

During the month of June, the team went on an 11-game win streak, tying a franchise record. This ’09 Rockies team was the only team in franchise history to have all five starters win at least 10 games. They had their first walk-off grand slam that season by Ryan Spilborghs during a 6-4 victory over the Giants. This team is in contention for one of the best teams in Rockies history. They deserve more credibility and respect for pushing through after starting the season so poorly.


Photo Credit: © Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports


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