The saying goes "you can't win a pennant in April, but you can lose one."
The Rockies are doing their best to make that statement true this April.
Ubaldo Jimenez, fresh off of two erratic starts in which he had very little fastball control, felt good coming into the night. He had said earlier that he had figured out some mechanical flaws and knew what he needed to do to fix the problems.
Apparently more mechanical issues crept in, as Jimenez gave up four runs in the first inning to a very potent Dodger offense. The final score made it seem like it was last night all over again, a 6-5 Dodger triumph.
Jimenez lasted failed to make it into the fifth inning again for the third straight outing, throwing 91 pitches, 51 for strikes. This outing is tough to find a silver lining, which has been the saving grace for the two earlier struggles for Jimenez this season.
This game was as close to a must win game as a team can get in April. The Rockies are fresh off a 2-6 road trip, including a three game sweep in Los Angeles last weekend. The Rockies now sit at 5-12, a dismal early record, seven games behind the Dodgers. In order to salvage even a decent April would require the Rockies to win tomorrow and then sweep the Padres next week.
The offense still has not found its groove either, but it is tough to lay blame on the hitters when they are constantly battling their way out of a hole dug by the starting pitchers.
Coming from behind is a difficult task in baseball because it sets up the plus side of a bullpen. What that means is that the opposition can pitch their best setup men and their closer in the late innings, rather than facing some of the lesser members of a bullpen.
At this point, it may be difficult for Colorado to overcome this deficit, even this early. The Dodgers look strong, their pitching may still be suspect, but with Chad Billingsley and Clayton Kershaw, the front end of the rotation looks strong. Then the bullpen boasts flame thrower Jonathan Broxton to close the game. The lineup features slugger Matt Kemp hitting in the seven hole.
It should be interesting to see what happens with the club in the next few weeks. If the team cannot find a way to turn things around in a hurry, it may be inevitable that manager Clint Hurdle gets shown the door and General Manager Dan O'Dowd may not be that far behind.
A move like that could greatly change the future of the organization and shape decisions for years to come.