LL Cool JJ.
When Colorado weather heats up, the Rockies cool down.
The annual June-July pre-All-Star break swoon continues this season.
The Curse of LL Cool JJ has become a tradition.
Seven years of bad luck, and bad baseball.
Consider these numbers:
6-12, 9-22, 9-19, 12-28, 11-19, 8-14 and 3-12.
Those are Rox records from 2011-2017 prior to the All-Star games. Those seasons are used in the comparison because 2010 was the last year the Rockies had a winning record, and 2017 will be the first winning record since then.
But the Rockies are struggling in the months June and July (JJ) again with so many more L’s than W’s.
The overall record in these games before intermission is 58-174, meaning that the Rockies are winning about one-third of the time.
And just one-quarter of the time in the last 15 before the final series of the "first half" with the White Sox.
Sure, the Rockies are still up in the chase for a postseason slot. But not comfortably any longer.
They no longer are anything close to being a favorite to finishing first in the National League West. Make that 25 seasons in a row since the Rockies’ inception and the involvement in ownership and leadership of one or both of the Bros. Monfort.
And Dick Monfort is making no effort to bolster the Rockies with a trade or two for veteran pitchers.
On June 20, the Rockies were on pace to win more than 100 games for the only season ever. They owned an incredible 47-26 record, 19 games over .500 and a winning percentage of .643. After a 2-2 split at home against the woeful Reds, the Rockies are 50-38 with a winning percentage of .568.
They are on pace, for the entire season, to win 92 games.
But not at the recent rate.
If they play .500 ball the rest of 2017, the Rockies would win 87 games. But, can they win half their games?
The Rox likely will end up with the second wild-card spot and a playoff game against the Diamondbacks in Arizona, with Zack Greinke on the mound for the Snakes. He is 10-4. The Rockies probably would counter with Jon Gray (1-0).
The Dodgers are going to walk away with the division title. They have the best team in the National League and pulled a half-game behind the Astros for the best record in the majors.
The Rockies have fallen to 8½ behind the streaking Dodgers and three back of the steady Diamondbacks. The Double D’s have the edge while the RoxSlide persists, and the hometown guys could fall double-digit games behind with another bad series before the ASG.
The Rockies always seem to play well in April and May. Then they hit the wall in June and July.
In six of seven seasons they haven’t won more than a dozen games in the latter part of June and the early stages of July.
Is it the heat (temperatures above 90 during this home stand) or the humility? Do the Rockies wilt in the sun? Is it problem young pitchers being figured out, and faulty hitting this year? Is it that the humidor isn’t as successful in warmer weather? The Rockies looked like road warriors this year, but they been transformed into travel wimps lately.
There was an all-out attempt locally to get first baseman Mark Reynolds the last position spot on the NL All-Star team, but it didn’t work. Reynolds’ recent batting slump didn’t help.
Raimel Tapia has raised his batting average to .315, and Gerardo Parra is off the disabled list with his .318 average. But Tapia needs a GPS to find a ball to left field or right field when he’s in one of those positions, and who knows how long Parra will take to get back up to speed?
Meanwhile, Carlos Gonzalez is lost at the plate. I wrote that he was the worst hitter statistically in the National League, considering all the new and expanded offensive measurements and analytics. And CarGo said after he went 0-for-4 Thursday night that he was the worst.
Trevor Story needs a refresher course in the minor leagues for a month, or more.
More than anything, the Rockies need the All-Star game interlude and need to get to mid-July – although the schedule doesn’t become friendlier.
But the heat is on, and it’s been brutal for Colorado, the state, and the Rockies, the team.