Sunday, July 10, 2011

Colorado Rockies finish first half with a loss

The All-Star break is three days long, apparently one day too short for the Colorado Rockies offense.

With their ace on the mound, and a chance to go into the All-Star break with a sweep that would erase the bad taste of getting broomed in Atlanta, the Rockies failed to show up offensively. Apparently, Jhoulys Chacin didn't get that message. He pitched seven strong innings, giving up just one run on four hits. He walked only one National batter, and struck out four.

The performance by the club was a micro chasm of the first half of the season. The team had several chances to tie the game, or take the lead, but found themselves fishing for pitches well outside of the strike zone. For every good at-bat that Ty Wigginton has taken, it seems like he has taken two bad ones in the last three weeks.

The reality is that the biggest issue for the Rockies hasn't been their pitching, although that has been an issue lately. The biggest issue for the Rockies in the first half was their lack of hitting. A lineup that was easily the best in the division on paper has failed to show up.

Take one minute and consider where the Rockies would be had Todd Helton not completely exceeded anyone's expectations. Ask even his greatest fans and they would most likely tell you that they expected a rebound, but not to the level that he has performed.

Beyond Helton and the emergence of Seth Smith, the Rockies offense has been the biggest disappointment in the history of the franchise.

The Rockies go into the All-Star break 8-1/2 games out of first place in the National League West. Of course, considering the history of the Rockies, no one is going to write them off yet. However, making up that many games in two-and-a-half months, it is going to take an about-face from this team. They are suddenly not only going to have to figure out how to hit, but they are going to have to learn to take good at-bats, bunt, move runners over, and hit sacrifice flies instead of ground balls to the shortstop.

Is it possible? Sure. There is enough time for the Rockies to surprise the baseball world again. However, the reality is, they haven't even shown flashes of the team that they were supposed to be. That doesn't bode well for them to make a run. At this point, it makes more sense for the team to never reach their potential, and continue down the path of mediocrity.

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