Thursday, June 30, 2011

Colorado Rockies show how far away from being good they actually are

Bless Todd Helton.

On the day that he played his 2,000 career game, all in a Colorado Rockies uniform, his team did what they do best. They lost in agonizing fashion.

In all 2,000 games in which Helton has played in, how many times has his team gone down in a heartbreaking fashion. The grizzly veteran has to be getting used to it. He has to quit feeling the agony. However, based on the way he is begging this team, and this ownership group to go out and get another starter, it seems like the losses are starting to hurt even more.

Last week on Jim Rome's nationally syndicated radio show, Helton candidly told Rome that he believes that the Rockies need to get another starting pitcher if they want to have a shot at winning the World Series. He didn't mind offending teammates. He was being honest. He wants to win a World Series and he feels it is going to take another solid arm in the rotation.

The only problem with his statement? It goes far too short of what the Rockies actually need if they even want to dream of another shot at the World Series.

If the Colorado Rockies were simply a starting pitcher away from contention, they would already be winning games. They would be losing every fourth or fifth day by the score of 8-7 and 10-9. Instead, they are losing games in which they are scoring four runs or less. They are consistently losing games that they have no business losing.

Thursday's matinee was the latest example. Twice the Rockies had the bases loaded and less than two outs. Twice they failed to score even a single run. Twice Ty Wigginton failed to advance runners when it was his time to shine. Instead, he went a resounding 0-for-5, leaving a whopping seven men on base.

Wigginton's home run stretch may have been the worst thing for the Rockies. He is clearly over-swinging. He looks like he is trying to hit every pitch 500 feet. However, picking on just the third baseman isn't fair.

In the 10th inning, with the Rockies down by two runs, Seth Smith led off the inning against White Sox pitcher Jesse Crain. After working the count to 3-0, Smith proceeded to swing at ball four twice. He didn't swing at pitches that were close to the zone, he swung at pitches that weren't within a foot of the zone.

Ryan Spilborghs pinch hit for Aaron Cook in the sixth inning and struck out on three pitches, waving at a horrible inside slider for the third strike.

Eric Young, Jr. pinch hit for Matt Lindstrom in the eighth inning, looking to get something started. He swung at the first pitch and grounded out harmlessly to shortstop.

The point is, these Colorado Rockies simply cannot execute. They swing at terrible pitches. They allow pitchers to get back into counts. They simply do not play like a good team plays.

The word that the Rockies offense seems to have no clue about it's meaning is: Execution.

Instead of letting pitchers get themselves into jams, or letting the opposition feel the pressure when the bases are loaded, the Rockies feel the pressure themselves. They swing at pitches out of the zone, they seem nervous and wishing that it was anyone besides them at the plate.

For proof, look no further than the club's performance with runners in scoring position. 2-for-10, now look at the number of men that were left on, nine. Baseball team's don't win too many games when they hit .200 with runners in scoring position. Good teams find ways to punch balls into holes, send balls flying into the outfield, ground out to the right side, or slap a ball back up the middle. The Rockies seem to find ways to strike out, pop out to the infield, or hit a weak grounder back to the pitcher.

Helton may think that this club needs another starter to contend, however, their issues go far beyond a starting pitcher. Their issues are deeply rooted in how they go about their business and how they approach the game.

1 comment:

  1. It's a reflection on the manager if you ask me.