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If the Rockies want to contend in September – like they say their goal is – then they will have to contend in April, May, June, July and August too.

Colorado has a formidable lineup based around the health of shortstop Troy Tulowitzki and outfielder Carlos Gonzalez and one of the deepest rotations for the organization on memory. But while the greatest secret inside Coors Field may no longer be the humidor, their muted expectations are founded in confidence. They can vie for a pennant if they make the internal steps that are necessary.

"We're going to have to go out and prove that [we can compete] over the course of six months," reigning National League batting champion Michael Cuddyer said.

Manager Walt Weiss is entering his second season and this time he's not just holding on like a wide-eyed cowboy. He understands his club and what the players at his disposal are capable of.

"I think I have a good handle on who we are and what we need to do. Last year, I didn't know any of that stuff," Weiss said. Colorado plummeted to the all-too familiar cellar of the NL West after injuries piled up. Though there may have been little the manager could have done, Weiss is certainly more comfortable this year.

"I had to learn who we were, but that's already in place and it makes it a whole lot easier for me," he continued.

They say life begins anew on opening day and optimism is the drink of choice. The Rockies are no different as they ready themselves for their first game against the Miami Marlins on Monday.

"I think every team this time of year is excited about their season; have a lot of hope and expectations," said Cuddyer. "A championship team has to sustain that over six months, that's going to be our goal this year."

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