Sunday, September 19, 2010

Colorado Rockies miss a chance

There is quite a bit to be negative about after Sunday's heartbreaking 7-6 11 inning loss to the Dodgers.

The Colorado Rockies had a chance to move within half of a game of the lead in the National League West.

In the 4th inning, the Rockies were staked to a 6-1 lead. They had finally found a way to get to Clayton Kershaw. Scoring two runs against the ace of the Dodgers would have been quite the feat, scoring six in four innings off of him constituted a minor miracle.

The game just had that feel to it.

After the Rockies scored six runs, it was like the offense packed it in. The sense of urgency that the team has been playing with for two weeks was suddenly gone. When suddenly-struggling starting pitcher Jason Hammel started to falter, the Rockies were already in cruise mode.

It would be easy to lay blame on many people in this game. Jim Tracy, who failed to have Eric Young Jr. bunt when Ryan Spilborghs led off the 11th inning with a walk. Hammel could be blamed for failing to put his foot down when the game was his to lose. Even Paul Phillips could be blamed. His failure to find a Jay Gibbons strikeout in the dirt allowed him to go to first. The Dodgers scored three runs in the same inning, all with two outs.

Regardless of whose fault it is, the fact is, the Rockies needed this game.

Heading into Los Angeles, the idea was to win two out of three. In fact, most would have thought that it would be incredible for the Rockies to be able to get two of the games at a stadium where they have looked like the Dodgers little brothers for the better part of the past four years.

The problem is, the Rockies had the Dodgers on the brink of a sweep. They were winning 6-1. They had beaten Kershaw and they were cruising. Allowing the Dodgers to crawl back into the game was devastating.

Had the Rockies completed the sweep, they could have gone into Arizona knowing that even if they faltered and only won one game, they still would have had a successful roadtrip. Now, however, the Rockies are forced to go into another venue in which they have struggled and find a way to pick up a series win.

The loss may come back to haunt the Rockies. Regardless of who or where the Rockies are playing, they are in a race against time. They need to win as many games as possible before October 3rd. Having wins snatched out of their grasp like Sunday's are devastating.

By no means are the Rockies done. They still sit just 1.5 games out of the National League West race. They are more than capable of outplaying the Padres and the Giants the rest of the way home, but it would have been quite a bit better to be ahead of the Padres and barely behind the Giants.

What the season may end up coming down to is the three game series against the Giants at Coors Field next weekend. Regardless of what the Rockies do against the Diamondbacks, they are going to have to find a way to win two of the three games.

Looking ahead at the schedule fate would have it that the Rockies are scheduled to face Tim Lincecum, Barry Zito and Matt Cain during those three games. With Jeff Francis forced to take the hill for the Rockies on Sunday, going out and winning on Friday and Saturday will go a long way for the Rockies postseason chances.

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  1. Lincecum, Zito and Cain...a feeling of doom is settling in...esp. if the Rocs fail to dominate the D-backs. Not even home field advantage will matter with a season winding down to a must win every game. The only team whose season can be spoiled by the D-backs or Cards is the Rockies; all the reasons the Padres were NOT picked to make the post-season are making an appearance now and the Braves have the Bobby Cox factor. So, the fate of the post-season is in the Rockies hands (Reds, Phillies look solid, the Rocs...?)

  2. It will not be easy for the Rockies to get in, even with juts a 1-1/2 game deficit to make up. This weekend they absolutely must find a way to take two of three or they will be needing two teams to implode for them to get in.

    Thanks for the comment.

  3. WTF was Paul Phillips playing for most of the game behind the plate. He has no offense and was brutal on defense!

    Matt Belisle and Huston Street somehow still have Jim Tracy's trust despite the multiple kicks to the balls.

    Bottom line, Jim Tracy is a mental midget.

  4. I think I have figured out Jim Tracy's issue. He is so loyal to veterans and team leaders that he costs the team games.

    Paul Phillips is in the game because Chris Iannetta wasn't available with his calf strain. I don't necessarily agree with it, but Olivo can't catch everyday if you want him to be good. His defense has also been suspect the past three weeks or so.

    As far as Matt Belisle. He has been phenomenal for the Rockies this season. Has he blown it a few times? Sure, but he is on pace for 100 innings a reliever! That is a ridiculous amount of innings. The Rockies have to expect the tires to go bald on him soon.

    Street is another example of Tracy being too loyal. He simply hasn't been the Huston Street of 2009, and he may never be again.

    Where Jim Tracy is a mental midget is not bunting the go-ahead runner to 2nd base when you have no outs and a guy who isn't going to hit it out of the yard at the plate. Dumb baseball right there. Dumb.

    Thanks for the comment.

  5. Don't let Bailor off the hook for that decision; he's not a fan of the short ball strategy and that has plagued the Rockies all season.