Thursday, May 6, 2010

Ian Stewart Lifts Rockies Over Padres in Extra Innings

With the clock just passed midnight in Denver, the Rockies recorded the final out of a 6-5 12 inning victory in San Diego.

After recording just one hit after the sixth inning, Ian Stewart led off the 12th inning with a home run to left field off Tim Stauffer, who was sitting on a 12-1/3 inning scoreless streak. The home run was a classic example of Stewart's strength. In perhaps the toughest park to hit home runs in, especially as the ocean air roles in as the night goes on, Stewart hit the opposite field home run five rows deep.

The home run was Stewart's fifth of the season, all of which have come on the road. In fact, Stewart has recorded all of his extra base hits on the road so far in 2010.

The fact is, when the Rockies wake up in the morning, the box score will show them winning, which is all that matters. However, it was as ugly of a win as they come.

Once again, Aaron Cook struggled on the mound. In all of the six games that he has pitched in, he has been given a lead to work with. In five out of those six games, he has found a way to give the lead away.

On Wednesday night, the right hander was staked to a 3-1 lead, thanks to a Clint Barmes two run single in the 3rd inning. Cook lost his focus and after getting two outs in the 4th inning, gave up a two run double to Padres pitcher, Clayton Richard. In all, Cook went five innings, giving up five earned runs on six hits. He gave up two walks and struck out two.

The most telling statistic for Cook is the 18 percent breaking balls that he threw. Cook has made a great living with one pitch. A sinker. Instead of sticking with the sinker, Cook is still trying to prove that he can trick hitters and throw curveballs. The problem is, he leaves that pitch up and pays the price for it.

Cook wasn't the only Rockie who struggled. the defense recorded three more errors, essentially mocking the experts who said that they had the best defense in baseball. Eric Young Jr. misplayed a ball in left field, Melvin Mora fumbled a ball at third base and Miguel Olivo threw wildly to first base on a drop third strike that acted as a double for the Padres in the 8th inning.

While the offense put the bats on the rack for five innings, Cook tried to be someone who he isn't, and the defense left their gloves at the hotel, the biggest mistakes were not made by a player.

Jim Tracy continues to do everything that he possibly can to ensure that he will not be a back-to-back National League Manager of the Year.

Tracy is putting together a book of managing mistakes so big that Webster would be jealous. After the Rockies had crawled their way out of Aaron Cook's hole, they had the Padres on the ropes. Matt Daley, by far the most effective member of the Rockies bullpen, had a clean 9th inning, then got David Eckstein out to start the 10th inning.

As most Rockies fans feared, Tracy emerged from the dugout and raised his left hand, summonsing Franklin Morales to face the power hitting lefty Adrian Gonzalez. In typical Morales fashion he proceeded to walk Gonzalez and walk Chase Headley, putting the game winning run on second base with one out.

With the game a base hit from being over, Tracy went to Manny Corpas, who got out of the jam.

The other mistake that Tracy continues to make is putting Eric Young Jr. in the outfield. While Young is fast enough to play, he is far too inexperienced to go out there. When Clayton Richard knocked in two runs, Young took a terrible route to the ball, he came in and then found himself chasing the ball over his head. Later, he committed the error as he was thinking about a throw to the plate before he fielded the ball.

It is easy for fans to point their anger towards players like Morales and Young for their failures. However, a managers job is to set his players up for success. What Tracy has done is put both of those players in a position where they are most likely going to fail. Morales has no control over his fastball. He has walked four out of the last nine batters he has faced. He has no business pitching in the 9th inning. Everyone knows that. Everyone, except for Tracy.

Young is a second baseman. He is also in the unenviable position of trying to prove that he belongs in the big leagues. With the idea that he is most likely already pressing, Tracy should know better than to put him in a position that he is not comfortable in. If Young plays, he should play second base, nowhere else.

Despite their struggles, the Rockies sit at 14-14, just three games out of first place in the National League West. However, if the Rockies do not start playing the way that they are capable of, they may not pick up wins like Wednesday nights.

For more on the Rockies visit RockiesReview.com

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2 comments:

  1. Good article. Three errors is terrible, but you said it yourself: EY in left which is a silly move for a club with so much depth in the OF, Mora the backup 3B-man, and Olivo on a hurried throw after a wild pitch. The "experts" were probably referring to the Rockies on a day when Tracy is not tinkering with the lineup.

    Morales was terrible. He could not locate his fastball so he resorted to breaking balls and offspeed stuff to try and fool batters. What a waste to have a power pitcher who has to resort to those tactics. They are lucky it was just 2 walks.

    On the positive side, Barmes stuffed a sock in the mouth of all his detractors. HE is the guy who should be at 2B every day, not EY or Mora. Betancourt had a dominant 4-out inning. And Corpas was totally outstanding. Give Tracy credit for leaving him in the game to pitch the 12th. That was a good managing move.

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  2. Mike,
    Thanks for the comment. I agree with you on Barmes...he should be out there everyday. When he needs a day off, put EY in there, but Mora is horrible at 2nd base. I think the Morales closer experiment is over...at least I hope.

    The moves that Tracy has been making are completely baffling to me. I get the whole righty-righty, lefty-lefty thing, but you take out Daley, who was lights out, to have a guy who can't throw strikes face Adrian Gonzalez, which moves Chase Headley back to the right side of the plate. Why not just have Daley pitch around Gonzalez? At least you know what you have on the mound.

    I am firmly in the "Daley for closer" camp.

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