Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Colorado Rockies lose again, slide continues

Nothing new to say. The Colorado Rockies wrote the same story with their bats that they have written all month long.

On Tuesday, the Rockies scored two runs, and once again, got obliterated by the hapless Dodgers, who are now one game away from sweeping the Rockies and leapfrogging them in the standings all at once.

What is the issue? At this point, pull a reason out of a hat and it will be just as good as any reason that anyone following the club has had to this point. It doesn't make sense. The talent level on this Rockies club is very good. It is good enough to be in the playoff race. It might be good enough to do damage in the playoffs. On paper, this Colorado Rockies team should be their best ever.

However, paper doesn't win baseball games, and talent only gets a team so far. Mentally, this team is a mess.

Obviously it is hard to predict what is going on inside the heads of 25 different guys, plus a whole coaching staff, but the reality is, the body language of this team speaks 1000 words. This team is mentally defeated before they step on the field.

In April, the Rockies couldn't seem to play excellent baseball, yet continued to find ways to win. They battled from behind. They scratched and clawed their way back into games. When an opponent scored, there was a feeling that the Rockies would counter-punch.

The feeling on May 31st couldn't be more polar opposite. When the opponent scores, the Rockies curl up into a ball and hope for the best. In April, Jim Tracy looked confident that his team would fight back and win. Now, the look on his face is eerily similar to that of former Broncos and Cowboys head coach Wade Phillips, who owned the same confused look before getting shown the door.

Tracy isn't going anywhere. The Rockies front office believes in him. However, continuing to run out ridiculous lineups isn't winning him any fans. On Tuesday it was Ty Wigginton in right field. The bulky right hander is a questionable defender in left field, and really should only be used their in case of emergency. So trotting him out to right field is absolutely unacceptable. If nothing else, put Wigginton in left field and shift Carlos Gonzalez to right field.
Tracy has to do something, but tinkering with the lineup is going to do nothing but keep everyone from getting locked in. He needs to decide on one, and leave it. Let the bench players figure out how to be bench players.

If things didn't seem bad now, don't look. Ubaldo Jimenez is scheduled for the Rockies in the finale on Wednesday night. One year ago, that would have provided the club with it's greatest hope for avoiding a sweep. Right now, it seems to ensure it. Jimenez is still lost. At this point, an injury may be a relief. At least it would explain the lack of velocity and command that the former ace has dealt with so far. If Jimenez fails to notch a win, or at least keep the Rockies in the game long enough for them to pick up a win, it may be a new low for the Rockies franchise, and it may be a low that is extremely difficult to recover from.

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