Monday, July 25, 2011

Tulowitzki continues to fail in pressure situations

Troy Tulowitzki came to the plate in the ninth inning with the bases loaded and the Rockies down by three runs.

There is no doubt that special players do special things at special times, and there is no doubt that Tulowitzki is a super-hero. However, Tulo's ninth inning at-bat was annoyingly predictable. As he has done far too often in his Major League career, Tulowitzki swung at the first pitch, which was at his eyes, and popped out to second base.

Tulowitzki is a great player--one of the best in the game--yet, he still lacks maturity. All he had to do was pay attention to the game while he was on deck. All he had to do was watch one of the game's best hitter's when it comes to working counts. The hitter in front of him, Todd Helton, had just worked a 0-2 count into a full count, fouled off two pitches, and then took a walk on an 11-pitch at-bat, driving in a run in the process.

Instead of following Helton's lead, Tulowitzki continued to over-try in pressure situations. Instead of being the hero for the Rockies, he became the key to the Dodgers victory.

The reality is, Tulowitzki's desire to be the hero might be one of the biggest reasons why the Rockies have failed in 2011.

There is no doubt that Tulo is a phenomenal talent. He plays the game well. However, he still doesn't do the little things very well. He is a terrible base runner and he is nearly the last batter Rockies fans want to see up in a pressure situation. Both of those issues come from trying to do too much. Instead of simply playing the game, his gritty-ness gets in the way.

Tulowitzki's eagerness to be the hero is to the detriment of the team. He is the leader, both in the clubhouse and on the field. When he consistently thinks that he has to be the hero, it sends a message to the other members of the club. It says that he doesn't trust the other players to get the job done, and frankly, it sends the message that he is an attention-hog.

Tulowitzki might not be trying to send that message, but it would be easy to interpret it like that. At some point in his career, the two-time All-Star shortstop is going to have to learn how to do the little things correctly if he wants to be the leader of the club. He must be a leader in every aspect of the game. He must learn to take a good at-bat both in the beginning of the game, and the end of the game.

The shortstop isn't young anymore. He doesn't get the free pass that he used to. At some point, he must find a way to play the game well in every aspect, or he will never be the player that he is capable of being.

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