DENVER -- Recent history says being six games out in the National League West at this point is no big deal to the Rockies. But manager Jim Tracy called a team meeting Tuesday to remind players that dramatic comebacks come at a price.
The Rockies, who had turned around sluggish seasons to make the playoffs in 2007 and '09, climbed from near-oblivion to contention with a torrid early September, but ran out of gas over the season's final two weeks last year.
Tracy said it's not at the stage where he has to ride his core relievers -- Matt Belisle, Rafael Betancourt and Huston Street. He also does not believe he has to tell Carlos Gonzalez, Troy Tulowitzki and Todd Helton that days off are out of the question. But to avoid having to push his key players and risk them faltering at the end, the team has to start stringing together success.
"What took place in 2007, do you sit and say to yourself, 'We'll be fine; we'll go 22-1?'" Tracy said. That doesn't happen all the time -- rarely, as a matter of fact. Can you be 12 games under .500 like we were a couple years ago on the fourth of June and win 74 out of 116 games? That doesn't happen every year, either.
"Las year is probably the best example. We got in that similar hole that we were in, in 2009. Maybe they hadn't thrown as much dirt in as they had in 2009, but you're in a position where you have to charge. You have to charge during any season, but how hard to you have to charge, what are the ramifications and what toll does it take on your players?"
Tulowitzki, the shortstop and team catalyst, said there comes a time when the very structure of a team is at stake when a team languishes.
"We know it's getting late and we can't dig ourselves a hole," Tulowitzki said. "We've got to start playing together if we want to keep this team together, which we do. If we don't, some guys are going to be sent to different places. They always want to shake it up if we're not winning, and that's a thing we're trying to avoid.
"If you're there with the other teams, you can give the 'CarGos' a day off. You can give guys a breather in the 'pen and you don't have to bring in 'Raffy' and Belisle. But right now we're faced with a little bit of a challenge, and [Tracy] wants to see how we answer."
The Rockies have conducted several meetings this year, both of the players-only variety and the ones Tracy has run. The risk is numerous meetings lose their impact, but Tulowitzki said the Rockies have not reached that point.
"Every meeting has a purpose," Tulowitzki said. "You just hope that's the one that catches everyone's attention and things change from there."