"It's a very important 13 games between now and the [All-Star] break," said manager Jim Tracy. "When you look at what we've been up to from the standpoint of having to use youth -- where you have young guys at second base, you have a young kid in left field, you have two young left-handed arms in your bullpen, you have a young right-handed arm as your long man -- to be able to be sitting where we're at, very near the .500 mark, these 13 games become significant from the standpoint of, 'Are you able in the next two weeks to continue to at least maintain yourself?'
"Now if you go beyond that, that's terrific. But that's the goal moving forward."
The Rockies are three games behind the pace they set in 2010, when they were 41-37 after 78 games, and with a six-game Interleague homestand followed by a week in Atlanta and Washington before the break, Tracy is ready to see his club show itself as a contender.
The contingent of young Rockies face a sharp learning curve, but Tracy sees steady growth and is encouraged by the club's ability to remain within a win streak of first place as they approach the season's midpoint.
"You want it to be perfect every single day, but unfortunately with the youth that we have on this club, it's not going to be that way," Tracy said. "Would we like to be in a better place? Yeah, we certainly would like to be. But youth grows. Each and every day you come out here, youth gets better, and youth gets very, very familiar with its surroundings.
"It gets to the point where they realize the fact that, 'Hey, I belong here.' That's why you come out here every day and play."