Saturday, June 11, 2011

Colorado Rockies overcome sloppy play, still lose to Dodgers

The fight is back in the Colorado Rockies. Unfortunately, the fundamentals are nowhere to be found.

On Saturday in front of a crowd with a renewed sense of enthusiasm, the Rockies played themselves out of the game, before playing themselves back into it, before finally playing themselves out of it again.

The early going was ugly. Misplayed balls, bad throws, no one covering first base, the story goes on and on. Yet, the Rockies were somehow still in the game. That was until Jason Hammel came out of the game with lower back stiffness, and suddenly struggling Matt Reynolds opened the flood gates.

The Rockies offense stormed back once again, coming within one run, but it would not be enough as the bullpen allowed four more Dodger runs, sealing the victory.

As bad as the Rockies have been at the plate this season, their fundamentals have been even worse. With a chance to turn two in the fifth inning, Jason Giambi made a horrible throw to second base, bouncing the ball to Troy Tulowitzki. Tulowitzki made sure to get the out at second, then returned the ball to first, where no one was covering.

The error went to Tulowitzki, and the throw was wild, but there was no one covering first base. When a quarterback throws an interception on a five yard slant pass in which his receiver ran a post, the quarterback still gets charged with the interception, even though the receiver never gave him a chance. That would accurately describe Tulo's error.

In the ninth inning, with runners at first and third and no one out for the Dodgers, Dee Gordon hit a rocket to drawn in Jonathan Herrera. Herrera looked Rod Barajas back to third base, then attempted to tag the runner from first base. He missed the tag, then threw to the plate trying to get Barajas, who had made his break. The throw was late, however, and the Dodgers scored a run without an out being recorded.

Mistakes like that happen, but they happen all too often to the Rockies. They look lost in the field. This is a team that has the talent to be one of the best defensive teams in baseball, yet they continue to make poor mistakes.

While Todd Helton definitely needs to be used with caution, one has to wonder if giving Giambi starts at first base is more detrimental to the team than it is worth. Giambi is probably better suited as strictly a late-inning pinch hitter. He needs to learn how to hit when he only sees a pitch every fifth day or so. If Ty Wigginton can play first base, let him do that when Helton gets a day off, and put Herrera at second and Chris Nelson at third.

The positive for the Rockies is that once again, they fought back. They didn't hang their heads when they got down, even by six runs, and continued to work away at the Dodger lead. If this team can play like that for the long haul, they will win more often than not, and will have a good chance at getting themselves back in the playoff hunt.

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