Friday, May 6, 2011

Lackluster offense once again fails Colorado Rockies

It would be easy to blame the Colorado Rockies second consecutive walk-off loss on the bullpen.

However, once again, the loss falls on the shoulders of the Rockies lackluster offense.

Freddy Sanchez hit a ground ball up the middle off of Rockies reliever Felipe Paulino to score Cody Ross from second base with one out in the bottom of the ninth inning, demoralizing the Rockies and giving the Giants the game.

Things were looking good for the club early. In the second inning, Troy Tulowitzki broke out of his slump with his 100th career home run off of Matt Cain. In the following inning, the Rockies tacked on two more runs and were staring at a 3-0 lead.

At AT&T Park, the Rockies holding a three-run lead seems like a blowout. However, when Colorado had chances to put a few more runs on the board, they failed.

In the eighth inning, with two outs, Todd Helton got things going for the Rockies with his second single of the night. Immediately following, Seth Smith lined a single to center field. With Ian Stewart batting, Giants reliever Jeremy Affeldt threw a wild pitch to the screen, putting both runners in scoring position. Affeldt then walked Stewart, loading the bases for Chris Iannetta.

With Iannetta swinging the bat well, things looked good for the Rockies. However, on the first pitch, he grounded out to third base, ending the threat.

A big hit with two outs is easier said than done. Even if Chris Iannetta squares a ball up, there is a chance that he is going to hit it right at someone. However, the mark of a good team is adding runs on.

This Rockies team has deep-rooted habits of becoming content with a small lead. The early success of the bullpen has spoiled the offense. Instead of continuing to score runs--even one or two--this team allows their opponents to linger and feel like they have a chance. Good teams in the other dugout, teams that win World Series with below average hitters, find ways to take advantage of those situations.

The Rockies spoiled a good outing for Ubaldo Jimenez. While the right handers velocity wasn't where it was in 2010, his breaking pitches were moving all over the place, especially his split-finger. He pitched six innings giving up one run on two hits. He struck out seven, but walked five, elevating his pitch count.

Jimenez's velocity is still a concern. His mechanics are still sloppy. He is not keeping his weight back, and therefore is not getting the leverage that he needs to get the extra few miles per hour on his fastball. However, his results are back, which is the biggest concern.

At some point, the Rockies offense will start to hit consistently, and make life miserable for opponents. However, the club has to hope it is sooner, rather than later.

The Rockies look to bounce back from two consecutive terrible losses in a row. They will send Clayton Mortenson to the mound, replacing an ailing Esmil Rogers. The right-hander will face Giants young lefty Madison Bumgarner.

For more on the Rockies visit RockiesReview.com

This article is also featured on INDenverTimes.com

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