Saturday, September 25, 2010

Colorado Rockies playoff hopes all but over

Let's face it. They did this to themselves.

With one swing of the bat from Pat Burrell essentially ensured that the Rockies will finish no better than 3rd place in the National League West. His blast to left field gave the Giants a 2-1 lead in the 7th inning that would hold up as Tim Lincecum dominated the Rockies.

Jhoulys Chacin was phenomenal. He didn't give up a hit until the 5th inning. The 22-year old looked better than any Rockies starter in the last week and showed how far he has come in just over a year of Major League experience. With the exception of the Burrell home run, Chacin essentially went pitch-for-pitch with a guy who has two Cy Young awards on his mantle at home.

The home run came in the 7th inning when Chacin was already well over 100 pitches. Much like Jim Tracy likes to do, he allowed Chacin to hit in the bottom of the 6th, with Seth Smith on second base representing the go-ahead run for the Rockies. Was it a bad move by Tracy, probably. With the pitch count being near 100, it may have been a good time to take a shot at having a big inning. If the pitch count is lower, there is no real problem with letting the righty continue on.

Did that lose the game for the Rockies? In hindsight, maybe. However, the move probably wasn't the worst one that Tracy has made. The run did end up scoring, so essentially all that was lost was an out in the 6th inning. However, if Tracy would have gone to someone else there, the inning could have consisted of scoring more than one run.

That is an easy move to scrutinize after the fact. However, letting a kid who is throwing the game of his life continue on did not seem like such a horrible decision at the time.

Many people will point to the Arizona series as the point where the Rockies season was lost. Many will point to them scoring one run at home against the Giants on Friday. Both of those theories are wrong. Most teams lose when Lincecum is on the hill against them. Most teams are swept at some point by an inferior team.

The difference between the Rockies, and most teams, however, is that the Rockies got themselves in a position where they couldn't afford to be swept by an inferior team, or dominated by one of the best pitchers in the game.

If the Rockies don't come out of the gate and falter, if they don't let pitchers like James McDonald and Vincente Padilla have their way with them early in the season, the situation is much different. If the Rockies take care of business early on, the can afford to lose games against the Lincecum's of the world. However, the Rockies are now in a position where they can't afford to lose to anyone, they spent those losses on pitchers they should have crushed.

That is where the problem lies with these Rockies. It's not a problem of losing five in a row down the stretch, its a problem of not winning more than four in a row for the first four months of the season. It is pretty tough to pack a full season of winning into a month and a half, and the Rockies are coming to that harsh reality right now.

For more on the Rockies visit RockiesReview.com

This article is also featured on INDenverTimes.com

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