Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Rockies Drop Another Game In New York, Look Flat

If Major League Baseball decided not to schedule the Rockies in New York again, there would be no complaints from Colorado.

After Tuesday night's 4-0 lackluster loss, the Rockies have now lost 20 of their previous 22 games in New York against the Mets.

On Tuesday it looked as if the Rockies from April and May had teleported themselves to Citi Field. When they struggled early in the season, the look on the faces of the players in the dugout was one of going through the motions, looking forward to the next night. That was exactly the way the Rockies played on Tuesday.

While starting pitcher Jason Marquis was not on top of his game, he pitched well enough to give the Rockies a chance to win. He went six innings giving up three runs, only two of which were earned, on seven hits. He struck out three and walked one.

Whether Marquis performed or not was irrelevant as the Rockies offense was silent all night. Manager Jim Tracy made a decision to move struggling Clint Barmes to the eight hole in the lineup. It was a move meant to take some of the pressure off of the second baseman by providing at bats in lower intensity situations.

The move backfired for Tracy in the worst way. Twice Barmes came up with the bases loaded and two outs. Both times a hit would have sparked the Rockies, giving them at least two runs and giving the team a feel of being in the game. Barmes, however, continued his struggles, hitting harmless infield pop ups to end the threat.

Barmes did not only have a bad night at the plate, he also had an error on a potential double play ball, allowing a run to score, giving the Mets a 3-0 lead.

While Barmes struggled again at the plate, he was not the only Rockie to let the team down in the shutout. All-Star Brad Hawpe went 0-for-4 with a strikeout. He left four men on base over the course of the night.

While the Rockies offense struggled all night long, they had company.

It is rare that an umpire makes a difference in who wins a game, and Tuesday was no exception. However, home plate umpire Larry Vanover did not have his best game making calls. The strike zone was inconsistant all night long. Ryan Spilborghs was rung up on a 3-2 pitch that was nowhere close to the zone. Missing low and away, Spilborghs threw his bat towards the dugout and started walking towards first. Vanover then raised his arm and declared Spilborghs out.

The worst call of the night came in the bottom of the eighth inning. With two runners on base, Josh Fogg gave up a base hit to first baseman Daniel Murphy. Dexter Fowler played the one-hopper perfectly, then made a perfect throw to the plate to nail Luis Castillo. Chris Iannetta planted the tag on Castillo a foot and a half before the plate. The only problem, Vanover called Castillo safe. That was enough for Jim Tracy to come out of the dugout and earn his first ejection as manager of the Rockies.

While Vanover was bad, he was not the reason that the heartless Rockies lost the game. The Rockies now face the tough task of having to win the next two games to earn a split of the series against the Mets. That may not sound all that difficult except for the fact that the Mets have Johan Santana on the mound Wednesday night.

Many Rockies fans complain about the Rockies lack of national attention. The fact is, the team will never be respected until it starts performing in places like New York and Los Angeles. That does not mean that they have to win every game, but rather that they need to at least play like they have the slightest bit of talent.

Both Monday and Tuesday night the team looked so pathetic that it looked as if the team had no business in the wild card race.

While the Rockies may not like playing in the Big Apple, they must do so over the next two days. If they are serious about contending for the Wild Card, they must play with the life that has put them in that position.

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