Saturday, August 21, 2010

Ubaldo Jimenez once again victim of Colorado Rockies offense

It almost sounds like a joke.

This is the offense that all of the pundits said would win the Colorado Rockies their first ever National League West crown.

This is the offense that needed to help this Colorado Rockies team win five-out-of-six on this road trip and after five games has scored a grand total of seven runs. It doesn't take an expert to figure out that averaging 1.2 runs per game is not going to do the job.

While the playoffs are a pipe dream for a club that looks like the offseason can't get here quick enough, the least they could do is show up to play when their ace, Ubaldo Jimenez is on the mound. On Saturday, Jimenez looked like he had no-hit stuff again. In the 4th inning he gave up a double to Justin Upton to break up the no-hit bid. Two batters later Upton scored on a wild pitch to end the shutout threat. Two innings later Upton smacked a two-run homer to left field on a hanging breaking ball to make the start look far less dominant than it actually was.

How dare Jimenez ask this Rockies offense to pick him up after a bad pitch? Didn't Jimenez know that the offensive gas tank was running on empty after putting up a whopping three runs on Friday night? To ask this offense to score three runs two nights in a row is like asking Sarah Palin to give Barack Obama a big bear hug. It just isn't going to happen.

Sorry folks, this team is done.

The only people that still care about how the Rockies perform are not the ones putting on a uniform everyday. Even Jim Tracy, Mr. Optimist, had a dead-pan look on his face when the Diamondbacks put up their third run.

The question remaining is not whether the Rockies will make the playoffs-- they won't. It is not whether Ubaldo Jimenez will win the Cy Young--he won't. The only question remaining is when, and if, the Rockies will show Don Baylor the door.

Someone has to take the blame when a team with as much talent as the Rockies possess falls flat on their faces. If one or two guys found themselves in season-long slumps it wouldn't be Baylor's fault. When more than half of the club's regular players are having the worst season on their careers, it is time to make a change.

Make no mistake, the problem is not that the Rockies are not hitting. The problem is that the approach they take at the plate is non-existent.

Watch closely. When Ian Stewart, Chris Iannetta and Clint Barmes come to the plate is it just coincidence, or are they constantly stuck in 0-2 and 1-2 counts?

There is a reason for that. In Stewart and Iannetta's case, they are not aggressive enough. Pitchers know that they will not fire on the first pitch, so they groove it across the plate. For Barmes, it is quite the opposite problem. He comes out swinging. Pitchers know that, so they throw a slider outside and in the dirt. More often than not, Barmes waves at it and either misses or hits a weak popup to the second baseman.

Those are just three examples. The team as a whole is far too homer happy. With runners on base, a single usually does the trick. A home run is nice, but when a guy like Barmes, who has eight home runs on the season is swinging for the big fly it just doesn't make sense.

If the approach at the plate is off, blame shifts from the players to the coaches. In this case, Don Baylor.

For more on the Rockies visit RockiesReview.com

This article is also featured on INDenverTimes.com

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