Saturday, May 14, 2011

Colorado Rockies blow six run lead in the rain

Let's start with the good.

It's too hard to analyze all of the bad that happened to the Colorado Rockies as they blew a 7-1 cushion at Coors Field on a frigid, rainy Saturday at Coors Field.

The good:

Todd Helton is proving the critics wrong, continuing to be a force in the Rockies lineup. He hit another home run on Saturday, this time to straight away center field. The ball had the sound off the bat of vintage Helton. Number 17 is clearly healthy. With a .319 batting average, it has to be wondered how far along Helton would be in his Hall of Fame case had he been healthy over the past three seasons.

In addition to Helton's offense, his defense is as good as ever. On a damp day, Helton robbed at least two doubles off of Padres bats. He was diving and flashing leather all day long. Good to see for Rockies fans.

Another good thing is the bats coming back to life. It is no coincidence that as Troy Tulowitzki and Carlos Gonzalez return to form, the offense has started scoring runs. On Saturday, Gonzalez smacked a no-doubt home run into the mezzanine in right field. The bullet came on a slider, a pitch the Venezuelan has been struggling with over the past few weeks.

Both Tulowitzki and Gonzalez went 2-for-5 with two RBIs apiece.

The third piece of good news is the pitching of Matt Lindstrom. The Astros willingness to allow the Rockies to pick him up for next to nothing is baffling. He gave up a two-run homer to Carlos Beltran on Thursday, but who didn't? Beyond that, he has been next to perfect, sporting a 1.59 ERA after his scoreless seventh inning.

As far as good goes, it stops right there.

The bad:

Even before the Rockies gave up a six-run lead, the were making mistakes. A cardinal sin in baseball is to make the first or third out at third base. Troy Tulowitzki, not known for his excellent base running skills, did a great job of driving a ball into the gap to score two runs in the third inning to give the Rockies the lead. However, as the Padres sent the ball back into the infield, Tulo took a look into the outfield and headed for third base. He was thrown out by three steps and headed back to the dugout. Immediately following the putout, Helton hit his home run, which ended up being a solo shot. Doing the little things right is what makes a good team. On Saturday, that run mattered, even with the Rockies getting a big lead.

The weather was also bad. It is not an excuse, but when the Padres scored four runs in the seventh inning, the rain was dumping down and the wind was blowing. The Rockies made two errors on balls that were wet, and footing that was next to impossible. The team has to find ways to win, but the momentum shifted at that point, and it chased Jhoulys Chacin from the game.

In addition to the weather, Huston Street was also bad. It was clear in the ninth inning as Brad Hawpe launched the game-winning home run that he had watched Street pitch for two seasons. Hawpe was sitting on a change-up and he got it. He deposited the 79 MPH pitch into the seats above the Rockies bullpen, something Rockies fans were no strangers to.

Street had whiffed Hawpe on two previous change-ups, and going back to it made sense, but Hawpe was sitting on it, and crushed it.

On a miserable day at Coors Field, the Rockies made it even more miserable, blowing a huge lead, and a chance to go into Sunday with the possibility of a sweep.

Instead, the club faces the chance of losing their sixth consecutive series.

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