Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Rockies Struggle Against Brewers


Don't panic yet.

For every person in the baseball world saying that the Colorado Rockies are going to be a great team there are two people reminding them that this team is terrible in April.

On Tuesday night in Milwaukee the Rockies were beat 7-5 by the Brewers, very much because they failed to minimize damage.

Greg Smith, making his Rockies debut after being the forgotten third man in the Matt Holliday trade back in September of 2008, pitched nervously the entire night. All the talk about Jeff Francis finally pitching again after missing all of the 2009 season was forgotten that Smith, Francis' replacement, also has not pitched since September of '08. Forgive him if he was nervous.

The nerves were apparent in the bottom of the first inning, when he gave up a walk to leadoff batter Ricky Weeks after being up 0-2. After nearly getting out of the jam, Smith served up a three-run bomb to Casey McGehee. Smith's final line for the night was five innings pitched, five runs on four hits and two walks, with five strikeouts. All in all, not a terrible night for a pitcher who hasn't been on a big league mound in 18 months.

The Rockies were in the game the whole night, fighting their way back to one run down on three occasions.

Todd Helton continues to look like a 28 year old, instead of a 38 year old, going 3-for-4.

Matt Belisle, who gave up no runs throughout all of Spring Training, gave up two runs on Tuesday night, a day after giving up a home run on a two out, two strike pitch.

The 2010 Rockies team is full of talent. No one is denying that. However, a game where the new starter gives up five runs, and a bullpen missing Huston Street gives up two runs will inevitably bring out the naysayers. That is understandable. Frankly, the Rockies have earned that right.

However, it is not panic time just yet. There are still 160 more games to be played. The Rockies are 1-1, they are not 12-22. Smith struggled, but he should not be forced to walk the plank after one bad outing. He was good enough to inspire confidence in himself, which should be good enough to help him improve his next time out.

The bullpen, even without Street, will find its comfort zone. At some point in the season there will be mixing and matching that will put some people in different roles, but the fact is, guys will settle in and get more comfortable.

Even with a bullpen that is somewhat fluid in Street's absence, this team will not have to rely on the relievers as much as they have in the past two days. Despite scoring five runs in each of the first two games, the offense has yet to show it's firepower. On several occasions this Rockies lineup will severely damage a pitcher's ERA and provide enough runs that the bullpen is not sweating bullets to keep it close.

This 2010 Rockies team is a good one. It is not time to panic.

For more on the Rockies visit RockiesReview.com

This article is also featured on InDenverTimes.com

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