Friday, May 20, 2011

Colorado Rockies rally twice, but lose late

The Colorado Rockies lost a wacky game in Milwaukee on Friday night 7-6 in 14 innings.

The game featured a home run from Jason Hammel, Troy Tulowitzki's first career ejection, two extra inning leads for the Rockies,a pinch hitting appearance by Jhoulys Chacin and three blown saves.

Colorado rallied twice in extra innings, giving themselves the lead, but both leads were blown, the first time by Huston Street, and the second by Felipe Paulino.

In all, the Rockies blew three saves in the game, with the struggling Rafael Betancourt giving up a home run to Casey McGahee to knot up the game at four in the eighth inning.

Once again, Hammel was on the victim of blown saves. He pitched 6-2/3 strong innings, giving up three runs, only two earned, on eight hits. He walked two while only striking out one Milwaukee batter.

The loss is tough to swallow, not only because of the blown leads, but also because the Rockies had gotten to former Cy Young winner Zack Greinke. The ace pitched well, but was victimized by the resurgent Jason Giambi, who homered for the fourth time in two nights, blasting a solo shot to left field.

Much of the anger from the Rockies fan base is going to be directed towards Felipe Paulino. The embattled righty once again was the loser, giving up a two-run, walk-off home run to Prince Fielder. However, Paulino isn't the one who is at fault. The fact is, Paulino's numbers from both 2010 and so far in 2011 prove that he is not a talented enough pitcher to be in the big leagues.

Paulino is equipped with an upper-90's fastball. An arm like that is very intriguing. However, he consistently misses location, walks batters, and then serves up fastballs that are hit extremely hard, often landing in the seats.

The reality is that Paulino is simply not a good enough pitcher to be in that type of role. He is a converted starter, so there is some wiggle room for an adjustment. However, a quarter of the way through the 2011 campaign may be enough to see that he isn't cutting it.

Going into his appearance on Friday, Paulino's batting average against was .379. That doesn't bode well for the Rockies in any situation that doesn't include a large lead. It certainly doesn't bode well for the Rockies in a pressure situation.

The problem for Paulino is that he is out of options, meaning the Rockies cannot send him to Triple-A without exposing him to other teams. At this point though, he is hurting the team by taking up a roster spot that could be used by a reliever that is effective and gives Jim Tracy a viable option out of the bullpen.

It isn't Paulino's fault. He is simply pitching with the talent that he has. At this point, it is time for Dan O'Dowd to pull the trigger on a bad move and cut his losses before it continues to take it's toll on the team.

On the encouraging side for the Rockies, the offense continues to show fight. They didn't quit, even when facing a former Cy Young winner. On top of that, they also continued to fight after their pitchers had blown leads twice. The attitude is clearly a winning one, which may not have resulted in a win on Friday night, but will help the team win more games on the road over the course of the season.

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