For as much hope as Monday night’s win against the Giants brought to the Rockies’ playoff chances, Tuesday and Wednesday felt like an anvil to the head.

The Rockies lost 2-1 to the Giants in the finale of the three-game set, dropping the series. The loss came from sloppy play and sloppy at-bats. It was another wasted Ubaldo Jimenez start, which now makes the once-ridiculous question become more real: Will Jimenez win 20 games in 2010?

For the Rockies, the problem is not talent, it’s not heart; the problem is winning on the road. The formula to winning on the road is the same as the formula for winning at home: Score runs.

AT&T Park is well known for being a pitcher’s park. It is a difficult place to hit. That all makes sense. The park, however, is not as extreme as the Rockies offense makes it seem. It doesn’t matter if a team faces the best three pitchers in baseball in three consecutive days. There is no excuse for scoring five runs total. Not in a playoff race, not in April, never.

This Rockies continue to try to make their fan base believe that they are in the playoff hunt. The only problem is that just as they get done convincing the fans to get behind the team again, they go on the road.

Monday’s win was an encouraging start. It seemed like the Rockies finally started having some breaks go their way. The reality, however, is that they scored only two runs in the victory. It may have felt nice to start a very important road trip with a win, but just two runs, both coming in the ninth inning, is not going to be something that a team can show as a breakout game.

The club currently sits 5-1/2 games out of the wild card race in the National League. The only reason that they are not done is because they get a chance to play the wild card leading Phillies head-to-head in a makeup game on Thursday at Coors Field. The saying is thrown around far too often, but if there ever was a game that is a must-win, this one is it.

The difference between being 6-1/2 back in the race and 4-1/2 back is huge. Essentially for the Rockies, it comes down to this: win and stay alive, or lose and pack it in.

The win total that will most likely be enough to capture the wild card is 90. With 30 games to go in the season, the Rockies must go 21-9 to attain that mark. Even then, that might not be enough to get in. However, it should do the trick.

Winning 21 out of 30 seems like a tall order for any team. However, the Rockies are a team that has defied the odds in two of the last three years. There seems to be a higher level of tolerance when it comes to being behind in the race late in the season.

The truth, however, comes down to one thing. It is the most talked about thing since the All-Star break for the Rockies. They must win on the road. The only problem is, they have shown no inclination to turning their road woes behind. If they can’t prove that they can win on the road, then they can’t make the playoffs.

The other factor is the games that they lose. If the Rockies can’t pick up wins with Jimenez on the mound then they have zero chance. The fact that he has gone five outings without a win is beyond ridiculous. He keeps his team in the game every single time he takes the mound. On Wednesday he should have won. He did everything that he could, including getting on base twice, to get the team in a position to win the game.

If the Rockies can’t win with Jimenez on the mound, and they can’t win on the road, they have no business being talked about in the playoff race.


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