The rotation was strong one through five. The lineup could gave opposing pitchers no breaks. The defense was as good as any in the league.
However, with one quarter of the 2010 season complete, there are only two words that can be used to describe the teams success.
While the ace has been phenomenal, his great season was hardly the only success that the Rockies thought that they would have.
On Friday, the Rockies continued their struggles, losing the the Kansas City Royals 9-2. The story has been written time and time again so far in 2010. Those still paying attention to the frustrating team can be described as nothing less than gluttons for punishment.
The offense, full of power from one through eight, has just 38 home runs. Cleanup hitter Troy Tulowitzki has just long balls. Catcher Miguel Olivo leads the team with eight home runs. The team batting average heading into Friday night's debacle was .259, good enough for ninth in the National League. The Rockies rank no better than seventh in any major offensive category in the NL. Mediocre was never a word used to describe the Rockies in spring training.
Colorado has two starters who own batting averages of less than .230 in Dexter Fowler with a .228 average and Clint Barmes, who is sporting a .210 average. Carlos Gonzalez, the team's leadoff hitter, leads the squad with 28 RBI's. Second on the list is a tie between Ian Stewart and Miguel Olivo, who both have 20 runs batted in.
The Rockies offensive struggles go beyond simply a team-wide slump. Colorado has not scored more than six runs since May 8th in Los Angeles when they posted six runs in the first inning on knuckleballer Charlie Haeger.
Even that night the Rockies were nothing close to impressive offensively. Haeger could not find his knuckleball and walked three hitters before allowing a three run triple to Carlos Gonzalez. While patience a the plate is a virtue, the Dodgers essentially gave the game to the Rockies, the offense did not win it.
This team was supposed to strike fear in opposing pitchers. Instead, their is a consistent theme from Jim Tracy's post game press conferences. Much like a broken record, Tracy spouts off the same line day in and day out after his powerful offense once again put up just two runs. His statement? "We ran into good pitching tonight. (Fill in the blank) mixed his pitches well and had our hitters off balance all night."
Frankly, for a guy who says that his team will never make excuses, it sure seems that Tracy has a plethora of them. At some point he needs to take some of the blame. He needs to make it clear that the way his team is performing at the plate is nothing short of pathetic and unacceptable. Instead, he makes excuses for his under performing team and tries to chalk up another loss to great pitching by whoever the below-average pitcher on the hill for the other team was.
Watching this Rockies team is frustrating. Most fans continue to wait for the offensive explosion that seems inevitable. At this point, however, it must be wondered whether or not that explosion is ever going to happen.
When the results have been as bad as they have been, most are left looking for a sign that things are changing. Most look for at least one positive.
The only problem is that the way the Rockies have been playing, it seems like the fans care more than the team does.
Ian Stewart seems more concerned about updating his Twitter account with the latest item on the menu at Morton's rather than improving his swing with the bases loaded and less than two outs. Instead of being upset about his personal struggles as well as the team's inability to win games.
While fans are boiling over with anger, the struggling players have already shaken off the latest loss. While that is something that professional athletes must find the ability to do, it would be nice to see some emotion from this team. It would be nice to see that the Rockies actually care that they are under achieving and on their way to an extremely disappointing season.
Unfortunately, two of the past three seasons have given the Rockies and their fans a false hope that no matter the deficit, the Rockies can overcome it. The only problem with that line of thinking is that both of the latest playoff runs is that both of them were completely unprecedented in their own respects. The idea that the Rockies can recreate a huge turnaround simply is not realistic.
Until the Rockies figure out how to quit making excuses and find ways to win games, the only two positive words that the club will be able to use when describing the season will remain: Ubaldo Jimenez.
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