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David Brown

Rockie mountain bye: Colorado playoff hopes vanish into thin air

Big League Stew

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Sorry, no Rocktober this playoff season.

That's what happens when your baseball team experiences Schleptember.

The Colorado Rockies lost for the eighth time in nine games Tuesday night, falling 9-7 to the Los Angeles Dodgers at Coors Field. Colorado's loss, plus victories by Atlanta and San Francisco, eliminates the Rockies from playoff contention.

Less than two weeks ago, Colorado was a game out of first place and looking to sweep the Dodgers in L.A., but they squandered a 6-1 lead, lost in extra innings, and haven't been the same since.

Colorado made the playoffs in 2007 and '09 thanks in big part to strong finishes in September that made for, of course, Rocktober®©TM.

This September, the Rockies' offense has been inconsistent, their starting pitching subpar and their middle relief unreliable. And manager Jim Tracy has made some dang peculiar tactical moves. Other than that, it's been a tight ship.

"We've been losing a lot lately because we haven't played well," outfielder Seth Smith(notes) said. "Great teams who are not playing well find ways to win game."

Well said, Seth.

The Rockies have three great players — Troy Tulowitzki(notes), Carlos Gonzalez(notes) and Ubaldo Jimenez(notes) — but the team as a whole could not find that "great" gear in the sixth month.

The Rockies were always the team that the NL West leaders worried about; whether it was an absurd winning streak, a perceived home-field advantage that included suspicions of humidor chicanery or just worrying about getting CarGo and Tulo out during Ruthian hot streaks, the Rockies were the division's bogeymen.

If they were ever hiding under the bed, waiting to pounce, the bogeymen waited too long.

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