On a cloudy, rainy, ugly day in Denver, the weather did it's best to tell the story for the Rockies on Monday.
After a 35 minute rain delay, the Colorado Rockies honored Todd Helton for his 2000th hit in a Major League uniform. The crowd gave a warm applause, but clearly did not understand the significance of the event.
When the Rockies took the field, they clearly did not understand the significance of the game against the National League West leading Dodgers. Going into Monday's game, the Rockies stood 11 games back of the Manny Ramirez-less Dodgers. A three game series gave the squad an opportunity to make a stand that they are not buried in the division. Instead of taking a forward step on Monday, the Rockies took one backwards, dropping an embarrassing game 16-6.
The pitching fell short of expectations. Once again, Jorge De La Rosa fell victim to the big inning. He sailed through the first three innings, striking out six Dodgers in the first three frames.
Then the wheels came off.
De La Rosa has the stuff to be a good pitcher in this league, the only thing that separates him from where his is now, which is average at best, and being good is between his ears. When he gets into trouble he loses control. His weight starts moving forward before his arm, causing the ball to sit high in the zone. The opposition feasts on these these pitches.
As far as lefties go, not many have the ability to hit the mid-90's with their fastball. De La Rosa does this with regularity, and also throws a good slider and change up. When he is on, he is effective. When he gets runners on base he seems to lose focus.
The fourth inning of Monday's game was a classic example of losing focus. De La Rosa gave up seven runs, all earned, while getting only one out in the inning.
Once again showing that they are not giving up, the Rockies offense came fighting back, getting within one run thanks in large part to Brad Hawpe's two doubles and two RBI.
However, the bullpen could not keep Colorado within striking distance, as Jason Grilli and Alan Embree combined to give up eight more runs in the seventh inning. It was the fourth time in the last 10 days that the Rockies have given up seven or more runs in a single inning.
The Rockies however, did make a move that may excite many fans. Before the game embattled reliever Matt Belisle was designated for assignment in order to make room for Josh Fogg.
Fogg was a hero on the 2007 team, he played a large roll in winning the National League championship and earning the nickname "Dragon Slayer" for his knack for defeating big name pitchers throughout the season. He was a fan favorite as well as a vocal leader in the clubhouse.
The move may have been made more for his clubhouse presence than anything. He has the ability to get guys to laugh and have a good time, with a self depreciating sense of humor that lightens the mood. It may seem like a last ditch effort for the Rockies, but at this point there is nothing that is off limits to turn the team around.