The Rockies' giddy early-season ride ended Sunday with a 5-4 loss to the Arizona Diamondbacks. Now comes the big early-season test. How the Rockies respond could tell us a lot about them.
The slugging Atlanta Braves, tied with the Rockies for the best record in the National League at 13-5, arrive at Coors Field on Monday to start a three-game series. The Braves already have 29 home runs, the most in baseball, and have the ability to smash a pitching staff to pieces.
That's what happened last May when Atlanta swept three games in LoDo, sending the Rockies on a slide that saw them lose 15-of-18 games.
But the 2013 Rockies are different, shortstop Troy Tulowitzki says, and not just because they ran off eight consecutive wins at home to open the season.
"The thing I like is that even though we lost today, I feel like this team expects to win now," Tulo said. "You come in this clubhouse today after we lost and the feeling is, '(Darn), we let one get away.' That's a good sign."
Colorado's streak ended when Arizona scratched out two runs in the ninth
off reliever Wilton Lopez. Still, the Rockies sprinted out of the gate surprisingly fast, especially considering that most baseball experts designated them to the NL West basement before the season began.
All-star left fielder Carlos Gonzalez bristles when he hears that. And he doesn't see the Rockies' success in April as a mirage.
"What I like about this team is simple," said CarGo, who's hitting .364 with 12 RBIs in the early going. "We all play hard and we all play smart. Everybody is doing the little things right. When you play smart, that's how you win games and how you win championships. That's what we are doing. We are taking every opportunity in front of us."