Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Mediocre performance puts Colorado Rockies playoff hopes on ice

Maybe Barack Obama should focus on shutting down Chase Field instead of Guantanamo Bay.

There are terrorists at the prison camp that have sustained less torture than Rockies fans have watching their team play in Arizona since 2008. The culmination of the torture came on Wednesday night as the Rockies suffered a devastating 8-4 loss.

Watching Ubaldo Jimenez labor through four innings was far worse than water boarding. His fastball was there--he hit 100 MPH several times--but his location looked like he was taking pitching lessons from Franklin Morales. The Diamondbacks routinely were standing at the plate with 2-0 counts.

Early on it looked like the Rockies offense decided to show up as they scored four runs before Jimenez took the hill. Melvin Mora drilled a slider over the fence to give the Rockies a 3-0 lead. Immediately following Mora's bomb, Todd Helton hit a fastball into the pool area behind the right-center fence.

Clearly, the Rockies learned nothing from their disastrous loss on Sunday at Dodger Stadium. Once again, the Rockies hitters may as well have not brought a bat with them to the batter's box. After the 1st inning, the Rockies struck out looking seven times. Seven at-bats going down without even a swing. That is frankly, awful.

The same old problem that caused the Rockies to stumble out of the gate and drop in the standings after the All-Star break came back to bite them. With the team down by just one run in the 7th inning, the camera's panned to the Rockies dugout. Looks of bewilderment were running a muck. The body language of the club looked like the team was down by 10 runs instead of one. They were mentally defeated.

The truth is, the Rockies are out of gas. Ubaldo Jimenez is feeling the affects of too many 120+ pitch counts. Matt Belisle is nearing the 100 inning pitched mark, Joe Beimel is the shell of the lefty specialist that he was at the beginning of the season.

With the Giants and Braves losing, the Rockies certainly have not been eliminated, nor close to it. However, the fact of the matter is, when a team is trailing by even a few games with the season about to end, that team cannot afford to drop winnable games.

The Rockies sit three games out of both the wild card race and the NL West race. With 11 games to go, they are most likely going to need to win no less than eight games, and even that might not be enough. To win 8-out of-11, the Rockies are going to need to win on Thursday, then sweep the Giants and win a home series against the Dodgers, then find a way to split the four game set in St. Louis.

All of that is possible with the exception of sweeping the Giants. They are facing three guys who could easily be called aces. The worst of the three is Barry Zito, and he absolutely owns the Rockies.

Maybe the Rockies are not out of the race, but they sure looked like a team that will not be playing in October.

The fact is, the Rockies are one bad loss away from looking forward to 2011 instead of October.

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1 comment:

  1. Just talkin' to my dad, an ex-pro pitcher and had the EXACT conversation---the bullpen is burned out. So sad to see; swepted by the D-backs (even with a Cargo grand slam!) All we can do now is talk about next year (and hope Chacin and Reynolds can add something special; Francis and De La Rosa just don't have "IT")