Thursday, August 19, 2010

The beat goes on for the Colorado Rockies

What's new? Nothing with the Rockies.

On Thursday night in Los Angeles, a place the Rockies go to lose, dropped the final game of the three game series. They were shutout once again, 2-0.

In 28 innings in the three game series, the Rockies scored a total of three runs. One of those was a gift, in the 10th inning of the Rockies win on Wednesday. Octavio Dotel had three wild pitches in one inning that allowed the Rockies to score the winning run.

Ted Lilly was the recipient of the Rockies latest gift. The newly-acquired lefty threw his first complete game shutout since 2004 when he was a member of the Toronto Blue Jays.

Credit should not be taken away from Lilly, but the fact is, Lilly is not the first pitcher to have a career night against the Rockies in the last few weeks. Add Lilly's name to the list of Ross Ohlendorf, James McDonald, Mike Pelfrey, Zach Duke.

It is no coincidence that a guy who hasn't pitched a complete game shutout in six years goes out and does it against a Rockies team that is supposedly still in the playoff hunt.

A perfect example of where the Rockies continue to fail was in the 9th inning. With Lilly reaching the 100 pitch mark and the top of the order seeing him for the fourth time through, Eric Young Jr. worked a five pitch walk. Even the one pitch that was called a strike was not thrown where Lilly wanted it. Dexter Fowler stepped to the plate, representing the tying run. Instead of forcing Lilly to throw a strike and get himself in trouble, just as he had done with Young, Fowler swung at the first pitch, grounding into a double play to end any threat the Rockies had.

A day after the release of the once-productive Brad Hawpe, the critics are still silent about the true problem with the Rockies bats. Frustration mounts with struggling hitters like Miguel Olivo, Chris Iannetta, Todd Helton, Seth Smith, Ian Stewart and Clint Barmes. The hitters continue to struggle, toiling away.

The problem however, is not that all of the Rockies are falling into long slumps at the same time. The problem is that their approach never changes. Every hitter is swinging for the fences. Top to bottom of the order the Rockies hitters are not being patient at the plate. They are not taking smart at bats. They quickly get behind in the count and are hitting the pitchers pitch instead of their pitch.

If a hitter is ahead in the count, the pitcher has to throw a pitch over the plate, allowing the hitter to have a better chance at getting the barrel on the ball. When a pitcher gets ahead in the count, he can throw pitches off of the plate, knowing that a hitter does not have the luxury of taking a pitch near the zone. The snow ball effect continues to affect the Rockies.

When one hitter is not making adjustments it can be blamed on the hitter slumping or not listening. When one-third of club is not just in a slump, but mired in a month long or more drought, the finger has to be pointed in a different direction. In this case, that direction is the hitting coach, Don Baylor.

The only time Baylor seems to come out of hibernation is when a manager around the big leagues gets fired. On three different occasions Baylor has made it very clear that he would like to take that ousted manager's spot. He was even quoted earlier in the season as saying that he is basically bored not being the guy who is calling the shots. The facts make it clear, Baylor is burned out with his job and is simply going through the motions. That attitude is penetrating to the players and shows up in the game. It is time for Baylor to find his way to the door.

For more on the Rockies visit RockiesReview.com

This article is also featured on INDenverTimes.com

The shutout marks the fourth time in the last six road games in which the Rockies have been shutout.

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