Sunday, July 3, 2011

Colorado Rockies lose game, chance for sweep, and Carlos Gonzalez

Of all the ugly May games the Colorado Rockies played. Of all the lackluster performances the Rockies had in giving away first place throughout the first half of the season, Sunday's loss has to stick out as the ugliest game of the season.

After Jason Hammel, who simply doesn't seem right, couldn't get out of the fourth inning before surrendering six runs to the Royals, the Rockies attempted to climb back into the game.

Enter Matt Belisle, the Rockies most steady bullpen pitcher in the three seasons that he has been a part of the club. Suddenly the Texas native forgot that he wasn't supposed to serve up batting practice. After the Rockies stormed back from a 6-0 deficit in the bottom of the fifth to make the game 6-5, Belisle proceeded to give up six runs while only recording two outs.

With the Royals staked to a 12-5 lead, the Rockies hopes for a sweep went away.

The real question is, what were you expecting? The Rockies haven't won a Sunday game since they defeated the Cubs on April 17th. Seriously. They are 2-11 in Sunday contests so far in 2011, and frankly, have played some of their worst baseball during that stretch.

What does that say about the Rockies? It says that they aren't prepared to play baseball on Sundays. It says that they don't have the focus that they should on what is generally a get away day. Are they thinking about the next city that they are about to visit? Are they still thinking about the game that they played the previous night? Is it too hard to wake up and get to the park to prepare for a day game after a night game?

The real answer to that may never be known. However, the results are as clear as the Colorado sky on Sunday. The Rockies simply aren't prepared to play on Sunday's, They mentally check out.

In fact, that is probably the real issue with these Colorado Rockies. It has nothing to do with a lack of talent in the clubhouse, but rather a lack of focus. They can play well for stretches, but then they forget how they were so good. They cannot maintain the same level of energy and enthusiasm that it took to muster up those wins.

Calling a professional athlete soft might be the biggest incorrect assumption that a person can make. However, the results are there to see. The Rockies are mentally soft. They don't play well when they need to, and they have days where they simply don't show up ready to win. That is a team that isn't mentally tough enough to win consistently.

Is that Jim Tracy's fault? Is that Todd Helton's fault? Is it Troy Tulowitzki's fault? Who knows? The reality is, it probably can't be blamed on one person in particular, but there is obviously issues within the makeup of this team. They are coming nowhere close to what they were expected to be on paper, and that is a reflection of character more than anything.

Obviously there are guys on the club who play to win every minute of every game. For examples of that, look no further than Carlos Gonzalez trying to run into the fountains to catch balls in center field. Look at Troy Tulowitzki throwing guys out from five feet into the outfield grass. Look at Todd Helton scoop every ball that comes anywhere close to first base. This team wants to win, there is no doubt about it. The reason why they can't focus long enough to consistently win is the biggest question mark floating around. It is a question that may never have an answer to it.


  1. You know, sometimes all you can do is just hang on. Then when the wind changes, you need to be prepared to come back as strong as you can.
    With humans being human, I prefer them to be human. I like when the Rockies win, but not at just any cost. I have respect for the players and the staff. I am pleased with the changes and the attempts to make a better team. Until you try and fail, you cannot learn how to succeed. I resent people jumping all over the team and the managers when things just don't jell. That kind of criticism usually comes from people who are loud and annoying rather than thoughtful and skilled. Sorry, but after the last few years, Carlo's injury, Tullow, etc. we have Big-E, Big-W, a couple of new show-me pitchers, and Todd Helton just never stops. Gees, wait a minute, take a breath and quit with the "fault" stuff.

  2. "Anonymous"-
    I agree with you to a certain degree. You have to just hold on and hope that the team will figure it out. However, being a fan isn't just letting the season play itself out. Being a fan is being passionate about every day and every game. It is short for fanatic for a reason. Do fans jump to conclusions? Absolutely. Do fans have any clue what is really going on in the clubhouse? Probably not. However, fans invest tons of hard earned money and time into a team, and I believe they have the right to be disappointed with the way that team is playing.

    Thanks for the comment.