Three days later the Rockies were back to their usual sloppy play, losing 10-3 to the Angels in Anaheim.
Once again, the victim was rookie pitcher Jhoulys Chacin. Chacin built on his dominating performance against Boston and struck out a career high 12 Angel batters. He went five innings and gave up just two earned runs. Unfortunately, his defense failed him again.
With two outs in the fourth inning, Juan Rivera hit a ground ball to Ian Stewart, who promptly booted the ball, allowing Rivera to take first base. Mike Napoli, the next hitter for the Angels, launched a three-run home run to left field, giving the Angels a 4-2 lead.
In the eighth inning, Jim Tracy decided to send Franklin Morales, who had just completed a 1-2-3 inning in the seventh for the first time since the American Revolution, back to the mound. Morales did what he does best and gave up a walk and a base hit. That forced Tracy to go to Manny Corpas, who is vying with teammate Matt Belisle for whose arm will fall off first. After getting a strikeout, Corpas gave up a grand slam to struggling third baseman Brandon Wood.
While the defense and the bullpen were less than stellar, the offense has no room for pride. They finish the three game series in Anaheim tallying a total of nine runs. Averaging three runs per game is not the formula for success at the big league level.
To put it nicely, Sunday looked like the Rockies were feeling the effects of a tough series with the Red Sox. They were lifeless on the both sides of the ball. They were missing the spring in their step.
Seth Smith may have been the most clear example. He struck out three times on Sunday and looked horrible in every single at bat. The lefty had a matchup in Ervin Santana that looked like it would be in his favor. The right handed Santana is basically a two-pitch pitcher. He throws a hard fastball and a slider. Smith received a steady dose of sliders, and when he got a fastball to hit he swung threw it.
The epitome of the Rockies game came in the bottom of the sixth inning when a weak popup was hit in foul territory between third base and home plate. Ian Stewart and Chris Iannetta both hustled after the ball, and while it appeared in replays that Stewart called Iannetta off, the two ended up running into each other and dropping the ball. Stewart left the game an inning later, whether it was due to injury or not was unclear.
For the Rockies, the time to quit playing poor, unfocused baseball has come and gone. They sit six games out of the National League West race and the Padres show no signs of slowing down. If they are serious about contending, which at this point is more of a joke than a serious proposition, the club absolutely cannot afford another clunker of a series in San Diego. They must find a way to make up ground or they may as well start planning their offseason.
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