DENVER - After a 5-1 win over the San Francisco Giants in which the Colorado Rockies collected just one extra-base hit, superstar third baseman Nolan Arenado stood at his locker, having committed his first error of the season (first in 72 games played) but had his focus on his first-place club ... and what they may still have yet to offer.
"We know we have to prove it to ourselves and once you start to do it the confidence builds," he says. "Our confidence is through the roof. We believe we can do this. The key to our team is, you know a lot of guys are playing well but arguably our best player hasn't gotten going yet. He's gonna transform our team, that's CarGo. If we get CarGo going the way we know CarGo can get going, we have a chance to be the most dangerous team in the major leagues."
Carlos Gonzalez, for all the concern over his lack of production so far this season, could be the "key" to this team legitimately frightening the Los Angeles Dodgers or Washington Nationals. At least, according to Arenado.
But even if CarGo doesn't turn it around, this team can compete and Arenado recognizes that the work being done on the mound by a group of rookie pitchers has gotten them here, and if it holds up, could carry them a long way.
"It's all pitching man," he continued. "The pitching has been setting us up and the offense is getting the job done when we need to."
Either way, the days of the Colorado Rockies comparing themselves to the "bullies" or "big dogs" of MLB is over. They are the bullies. They are the big dogs.
"I dunno, man, I think we're pretty good," Arenado continued. "I think the only thing ... we have young pitchers and I'm not concerned [about age] because they are hungry and they compete, but I just don't want them to get tired. But I know they'll continue to work hard. I think we're for real. At the end of the day, we're a good team. There's no more tests we have to pass. It's all just about going out there and winning ballgames. If we don't [finish strong] it would be really disappointing, it would be really heartbreaking."
The Rockies may already be, as Arenado put it, "the most dangerous team in the major leagues" sitting just one win behind the Houston Astros for the most wins in MLB. And to the point the best third baseman in the game was making, they still aren't at full strength. Whether it be reintegrating the recently-healthy Tom Murphy, getting Jon Gray and Tyler Anderson back in a little over a week and Chad Bettis maybe after the break -- or just getting Cargo back to being CarGo -- we still have not seen the best version of the 2017 Colorado Rockies.