Saturday, June 4, 2011

Colorado Rockies continue to fail in big situations

For three straight days, Ty Wigginton has carried the Colorado Rockies offense. On Friday night, however, he failed when the team needed him.

After three straight days of pounding Dodger pitching, hitting two home runs and a triple in the three-game set, Wigginton couldn't continue the hot-hitting.

With runners on second and third base with no one out in the fourth inning, the Rockies had a chance to do some damage against Matt Cain and the defending World Champions. Todd Helton stepped to the plate and took a great veteran at-bat, rolling a ground ball to second base, scoring a run and moving Troy Tulowitzki from second base to third base with just one out.

At that point, Wigginton stepped to the plate with the exact same job to do, either hit the ball deep enough into the outfield to score a run, or hit a ground ball to the right side like Helton just did to get the run across. Essentially, Wigginton needed to do anything but strikeout. On three straight pitches, he struck out.

The at-bat was the biggest of the game, but the loss by no means falls on Wigginton's shoulders. The team combined to notch five total hits, two of which came off of the bat of Juan Nicasio, the Rockies young pitcher making his second big league start.

Matt Cain was dominant for the Giants, but the reality is, the Rockies need to find ways to get runs across the plate when they are facing guys like Cain. When they get opportunities to score runs, they have to take advantage of it, because they may only get one or two chances. On Friday, similarly to the entire month of May, the Rockies failed to take advantage.

Nicasio was once again impressive. He gave up three runs on nine hits in six innings. He struck out three and walked one. For making his second start ever at the highest level, and never throwing a pitch above Double-A, the outing was great. He did everything that he could do to keep his team in the ballgame. He had one bad inning that doomed him, and in San Francisco, one bad inning is all it takes sometimes.

If the Rockies want to make a run, and it certainly is still early enough in the season for the Rockies to get on a hot streak that puts them back on top, they will need to find a way to do the little things that get runs across the plate. They cannot leave runners at third base with no outs, or one out time after time. The hitters don't need to get base hits in those situations, they simply need to make productive outs. If they can relax at that plate and put the ball in play, good things will happen.

The Rockies take on the Giants once again on Saturday. Game time is 2:05 Mountain time.

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