These are not your father's Colorado Rockies. The Rox finished eighth in the NL in home runs this year, but they allowed the fifth-fewest home runs, giving up one less than the Mets, who play in a great pitcher's park. That stinginess with the long ball allowed the Rockies to finish eighth in the NL in ERA, their best showing ever. Some of this can attributed to the humidor, which has transformed Coors Field from an insane hitter's park to a good hitter's park. But some of it's due to the turnover of their pitching staff, which is now filled with modest-stuff guys who keep the ball down and throw strikes. They also feature a pair of exciting power arms who were thrown into the rotation by circumstance.
The Rockies' pitchers owe a debt of gratitude to their tremendous middle-infield defense. Troy Tulowitzki may win the NL Rookie of the Year Award, and his defense (and the defensive troubles of Ryan Braun) is a big reason why. Tulowitzki has outstanding instincts at shortstop, good range in both directions and a 70 arm (on the 20-80 scouting scale). He's also a wizard coming across the bag on the double play. Meanwhile, his keystone partner, Kaz Matsui, a shortstop in Japan, also shows excellent range and sure hands. A lot of balls that would go through other infields up the middle or in either hole are stopped and converted into outs by the Rockies. Behind those two, center fielder Willy Taveras covers a lot of ground in the outfield, although he has a fringy arm and may not make the postseason roster due to injury. Neither of his replacements (Ryan Spilborghs or Cory Sullivan) covers the same amount of territory.