Sunday, August 7, 2011

Sunday losing streak continues for Colorado Rockies

The Colorado Rockies lost on Sunday to extend their losing streak on the Sabbath to 16 straight.

At this point, the reason for the continued lack of effort on Sunday's is anyone's guess. The fact is, the club continues to fall on the first day of the week. It would be one thing if the team faltered in a different manner every week. If the team lost 10-9 one week, then 2-1 the next, it could be simply called luck.

However, this Rockies team loses in the exact same manner every single Sunday. They show up physically, yet mentally they seem to be somewhere else. There seems to be little enthusiasm coming from the Rockies dugout, whether at home or on the road.

One explanation might be that every Sunday game is a day game. Do the Rockies have a tough time waking up early to get to the park and play well? Baseball players are creatures of habit. Does this team get out of whack because they are used to playing at night?

The other theory is one that is probably more likely. The Rockies generally have their junior varsity lineup out on the field for their Sunday contests.

Many managers have a "Sunday lineup." It is a good chance to get a few regulars a day off after a night game, generally before boarding a plane and heading out of town. However, Jim Tracy takes that to the next level.

Any momentum the Rockies gain over the course of the week is killed when the team hits Sunday.

On Baseball Tonight on Sunday afternoon, Tim Kurkjian mentioned that he had talked to a general manager about the Rockies. The GM told Kurkjian that the Rockies had no chance of making their typical late season runs this year because they have only two true regulars in their lineup. Beyond Troy Tulowitzki and Carlos Gonzalez, the Rockies have a bunch of utility players.

Is that true? Well, take a look at the lineup and decide.

Seth Smith only plays against rightys, and of late, doesn't start at all because Gonzalez is in right field and Eric Young is in left. That's right, Smith is on the bench because Young is now the starter.

Second base is a revolving door. Even with the acquisition of Mark Ellis, he is not the everyday guy at second. It seems that Tracy goes back and forth between Ellis, Chris Nelson, and the occasional start by Jonathan Herrera.

Third base was once Ty Wigginton's spot. With Ian Stewart returning, however, it isn't Wigginton's or Stewart's. They both play a day or two at a time.

Catcher is primarily Chris Iannetta's job, with a revolving door at backup catcher.

Todd Helton is the normal first baseman, but at this point in his career coupled with his back issues, No. 17 needs a day off a week.

So the reality is, the Rockies are a revolving door at most positions beyond Tulo and Cargo. Is that because they aren't good enough to have a true starter in any of those spots? No, the reason is because Jim Tracy tinkers with the lineup too much. Instead of having eight starters, he feels like he has 12 starters that he needs to keep sharp.

At some point, players like Ryan Spilborghs have to accept the fact that they are role players who aren't going to start everyday...ever. Jason Giambi needs to be a guy who will be strictly a late-inning pinch hitter. If both of those guys are told that their role is to help the team late in the game, instead of getting four at-bats a game, they could prepare for that spot. Instead, Tracy gives them the twice a week start, which throws off their routine and preparedness.

Then there are situations that Seth Smith is dealing with. What could possibly be the logic in starting EY Jr. in left field every day over Smith? Why on earth would Smith take a seat with Gonzalez coming back off of the disabled list instead of Young? That move makes absolutely no sense.

There is no real explanation for the Sunday losing streak for the Rockies. However, part of the issue might be that the team has no routine. They have no consistent lineup and therefore they have no way to be consistent, especially on Sundays, when there are built-in distractions like leaving on a road trip.

2 comments:

  1. I think you nailed this one; the shuffling has been an issue all season. No player depends on the hitter after them in the order because that order has changed too often. That shuffling has taught each on to stand on his own rather than as a team. The team never turned into a unit this year.

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