The Colorado Rockies got horrible news between game one and two. Jorge De La Rosa, who had to be removed from the opening game after just 2-1/3 innings. He went to the hospital for an MRI, where a the tests revealed a torn ulner collateral ligament, the worst case scenario.
De La Rosa will most likely have to undergo Tommy John surgery, missing at least one full year.
The injury seriously jeopardizes the Rockies playoff chances for 2011, and also could have an impact on the teams 2012 chances.
The injury shows why it is never a good time to excuse losses with the excuse of it being too early. Of course, in baseball, with 162 games, panicking early is a bad idea. However, after a start like the Rockies had, they could easily have been leading the National League West by four games at this point. That would not have given them an amazing amount of breathing room, but now they are looking at a three game deficit without arguably their best pitcher so far.
The news from the field on Tuesday was mixed as well. The Rockies came out and looked like they might just be finding themselves in game one. Carlos Gonzalez smacked two home runs, and looked as if he is regaining the form that made him a triple crown threat in 2010. His second home run was hit as hard as a baseball can be hit and landed in the trees beyond the center field fence.
Seth Smith also continued his hot-hitting, knocking a solo home run, and then a run-scoring double to help the Rockies to a blowout win.
Although playing back-to-back games takes its toll, with Jim Tracy at the helm, forget getting a formidable lineup in game two of any doubleheader. Game two featured a starting lineup with Alfredo Amezaga in the leadoff position, the second time that he has started in three games, and new starters at every position except for Gonzalez, Troy Tulowitzki, and Dexter Fowler.
In a doubleheader it makes sense to go with two different catchers. For the Rockies, it also makes sense to give someone else a start at first base in game two so that Todd Helton doesn't get worn down. But with the way Smith is hitting, and the momentum that the original lineup built, it makes no sense to essentially go with a different group of starters.
Even with the Rockies facing a lefty in Joe Saunders in game two, with Smith hitting as well as he has been, there is absolutely no reason why he should be sitting on the bench. Playing two games in one day is difficult, but by no means is it impossible. On top of that, Jason Giambi, who has been hot at the plate, does not need to be getting several starts in a week. He needs to be an effective pinch hitter without making two starts per week.
Giambi's 40-year old body is probably not suited to play the field anymore, as was evidenced by his sixth inning departure with injury.
Jim Tracy does his best to keep everyone fresh, but sometimes it is to the club's demise. With a lead in the race, there may be an excuse to give up a game here or there to keep guys fresh, but not when the offense is struggling, and especially not when the club just scored 12 runs in a game and looked like they were gaining momentum.