Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Same Old Story For Rockies

This is beyond ridiculous.

The Rockies dropped another one run game, 2-1 getting dominated by yet another above-average-but-not-an-all-star pitcher. This time it was it was Twins pitcher Scott Baker who baffled them. Before Baker had pitched the minimum five innings required to pick up the win he had already tied his career high for strikeouts with 10.

When it is May and a team has failed to get things going offensively, it can be blamed on a slow start. When the beginning of June turns to the middle of June and the offense has peaked it's head out on only a few occasions it is worrisome.

Frankly, the play of the Rockies so far in 2010 has been nothing short of sickening. If the Rockies want to depend on Ubaldo Jimenez to stop a losing streak every time he takes the mound then they will never hit their stride. It is as simple as that.

To say that the Rockies offense has underperformed is now not only the biggest understatement of the season, it is also the most overused phrase used to describe the Rox in 2010.

Instead of excuses, which is something that Jim Tracy is very good at, the Rockies need answers. After Wednesday night's game Tracy looked as baffled by the lack of offense as President Obama looks trying to figure out the BP oil spill.

If Tracy wants to look for a reason why the Rockies continue to lose he needs to look in the mirror. For the third straight Jhoulys Chacin outing, Tracy filled out a lineup card that left much to be desired. Chris Iannetta and his .185 batting average with a less than .300 on base percentage was behind the plate. Melvin Mora replaced Ian Stewart at third base and Jason Giambi was penciled in as the designated hitter.

There are obvious reasons for each move. Tracy likes what he is getting from Miguel Olivo catching Ubaldo Jimenez, so with a day game on Thursday it isn't a bad idea to give Olivo a break the night before. Giambi is a classic designated hitter and Melvin Mora has been swinging a hot bat in his recent appearances.

However, Tracy seemed to abandon everything that usually drives him. He is a numbers guy through and through, yet he failed to take a look at what both Mora and Giambi have done against Scott Baker in their careers. The two hitters combined for one hit in 18 career at bats.

So the question must be asked, why does Giambi automatically get slotted in the designated hitter spot? Why not play the guy who made road kill out of the Blue Jays over the weekend, Ryan Spilborghs? Sure, Giambi is a lefty and Baker is a righty, but at some point, Tracy has to play the hot hand. If Tracy wanted to give Mora a chance, why not let him play on Thursday when the club faces a lefty in Francisco Liriano?

When the offense is already taking a step back with Iannetta behind the plate, why should Tracy simply sacrifice two more spots? It simply does not make sense. Those three hitters combined to go 0-for-9 with five strikeouts. The only positive offensive output that came from those three Rockies was when Iannetta took a fastball off the shoulder in the eighth inning.

While playing those three does not give the Rockies a good shot at winning a game it is understandable that at some point it has to happen. Miguel Olivo cannot catch every single game, Giambi was signed to give the team pop off the bench at the end of games and be their designated hitter in American League parks and Melvin Mora is a sufficient bat to give Ian Stewart a day off.

The problem is not that the three were in the lineup on the same day. The problem is that it seems to be that a young kid in Chacin is not getting any help from his manager while he tries to find his way in the big leagues. Chacin, by all accounts, has the stuff to be a very good Major League pitcher. However, at 22-years old, he needs to gain confidence and know that he can pitch at this level. He needs to win games and he needs an offense that can pick him up when he has one bad inning like he did on Wednesday. When Chacin has an inning in which he gives up two runs and is flawless the rest of the night, he needs an offense on the field that can pick him up a win.

Frankly, Jim Tracy's job is to set his team up for success every day. That means he must set up individual players for success. Consistently giving a young pitcher who is trying to find his path in the big leagues a "B" lineup is not setting him up for success, it is a confidence killer and it is hurting the Rockies.

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  1. Why are the Rockies so anxious to give their players a rest so often? Is Mauer taking a day off while we are in town? No. Do Ramirez, Kemp, or Loney, or Sandoval, or Adrian Gonzalez get days off when we play them? No. So why does Jim Tracy seem to sacrifice half his lineup at least once through every rotation?

    Giambi is our DH, like it or not. That's why he is on the team, other than to rest Todd, which I just addressed. So the match-ups don't matter. He is our DH so he plays.

  2. Miketober-
    I agree seems pretty silly to me to rest everyone so that they "are not sawdust come October." The problem with that is that by the time October rolls around, the Rockies may be very fresh for all their offseason fishing plans. You've got to get to October to be fresh for it.

    As far as Giambi goes. Maybe you are right. He was absolutely signed to be the DH. I just don't see why the Rockies have to be married to that idea when he has struggled in his career against Scott Baker. In my opinion, when you are five games out of first place, you've got to put the team on the field that is going to win you that game that night.

    Thanks for the comment.