The Colorado Rockies seven-game winning streak came to an end at Coors Field on Saturday night. The Cubs drubbed the Rockies to the tune of 8-3.
During the winning streak, the Rockies were relying on their offense to get the job done. On Saturday, the offense couldn't carry the load. The bats combined to go 0-for-12 with runners in scoring position.
As good as the winning streak was for the Rockies, the reality is, the club had yet to hit on all cylinders. In his first three starts of the season, Jason Hammel has struggled on the mound. Despite only giving up three runs in six innings of work, Hammel didn't have his best stuff. He was laboring throughout, spinning off of the mound and struggling to find the strike zone. However, Hammel was good enough to keep the Rockies in the game, but the offense couldn't put it together when they had opportunities.
Games like Saturday's are exactly why the Rockies hot start was so important. Games where the bats just don't come to life happen. They usually happen far more often than the Rockies have been experiencing so far in 2011. It is just another reason why starting the season on such a high note was so important.
When the Rockies are nine games over .500 in the middle of April, it makes it easier to handle a game when the bats don't come through or when an opposing pitcher has a dominant outing.
When teams get in trouble, as the Rockies know so well from the past few years, is when they start slowly, then have to crawl back into the standings. In baseball, when the best overall team doesn't necessarily win every game, there has to be room for error. With the way the Rockies have started, they have given themselves a few opportunities to get dominated by a good pitcher, or just see their bats go cold.
The key for the Rockies is to get right back to it. Instead of trying to win every game, they need to continue focusing on winning series'. If they are able to take two-out of-three in each series, they will stay on top of the division all season long.
Troy Tulowitzki missed his 100th career home run by three feet, settling for a triple. He later added a single to finish 2-for-4. Lately, when the shortstop doesn't hit a home run, it almost seems like there must be something wrong. When he gets hits in half of his at-bats and it feels like he had a bad night, it speaks volumes of what he has been doing at the plate over the last 10 days.
The Rockies look win the three-game series against the Cubs on Sunday. If the Rockies want to come away with the victory, they almost certainly will need their bats to be better than they were on Saturday. Alan Johnson, a six-year minor leaguer, makes his Major League debut on the mound for the club. He has won 10 games at the Triple-A level each of the past two seasons, but pitching at the big league level is a whole new ballgame. If the offense can give him some early support, he may be able to grind through five or six innings and keep the club in the ballgame.
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