Sunday, April 15, 2012

Colorado Rockies continue to strive for mediocrity behind Jim Tracy

Jim Tracy continues to manage the Rockies out of wins.e
Jim Tracy has a message for Colorado Rockies fans.

Don't buy a ticket on Sunday's. In fact, don't bother to even watch the game on TV, listen on the radio, or pay attention at all. There is no reason. There is no plan for the team to win the game. It is viewed as an exhibition game, giving non-starters a day to feel like they are getting a chance to play in a big league game.

The latest example came on Sunday. Tracy took the momentum that the team had built up with two very impressive come-from-behind victories, and threw it away, allowing the Diamondbacks to have an easy victory.

Tracy used the pathetic excuse of a team that was tired from a rain-delayed game from the previous night to roll out a lineup that is more fitting for Colorado Springs than any Major League park. Todd Helton, the hero from the previous two nights, was on the bench. Ramon Hernandez, the catcher who had homered in two straight ball games, on the bench. Marco Scutaro, the second baseman who inspired energy from the bench after getting plunked in the 9th inning on Saturday, on the bench. Dexter Fowler, searching for his swing and in need of consistent at-bats. On the bench.

In all, five regular starters were out of the lineup as the Rockies weakly attempted to sweep their division foes.

The most ridiculous part of Tracy's decision is that it always seems to come at the expense of a pitcher who should understandably have an extra amount of nerves.

Last Sunday, the JV lineup came at the expense of Juan Nicasio. The right-handed Domincan was making his first start on the mound since taking an Ian Desmond liner off the head, causing him to fall and break his neck. Instead of honoring the hard work that Nicasio, who should never have been expected to throw another pitch, let alone pitch within a year of the accident, Tracy sent out a lineup that included his five least productive hitters.

When Nicasio had still kept the team in the game, Tracy failed to put defensive replacements into the game to help secure it. The Rockies lost 3-2 on a defensive error by a catcher playing third base and an outfielder playing first base.

In the most recent version, Tracy didn't back up his rookie starter, Drew Pomeranz, who was making his first start for the Rockies all year long. While Pomeranz clearly didn't have his best stuff, speculation could suggest that having the majority of regular starters out of the lineup might have led the rookie to feel that he had very little wiggle room.

After the game, Tracy was asked about fans feeling like they got ripped off by going to a game without many of the stars in the lineup. Tracy seemed very defensive, saying that it this team has guys on it that need rest so that they won't be completely burned out by August and September.

The irony of Tracy's words are that it certainly won't matter how fresh the regulars are in August and September if the team hasn't won enough games by then for it to matter. How many fans will care if Todd Helton is in the lineup on September 15th if the team is 15 games out of the race?

Suggesting that players don't take days off is slightly ridiculous. Of course a player like Helton, who will turn 39 in August, is going to need some days off along the way. However, take a look at his week. He had last Sunday off, played on Monday in the opener, had a scheduled off-day on Tuesday, was in the lineup on Wednesday, was off on Thursday, played Friday and Saturday, then off again on Sunday.

Of course Saturday night was a very late game in the cold weather, so it could make sense for some guys to have Sunday off. The only problem is that this team is not a team that can afford to give any games away. This is a team that is going to have to claw and scratch for every single win. They simply do not have the luxury of giving games away.

The other issue with the Tracy playing the non-regulars on Sunday is that the Diamondbacks had newly-acquired Trevor Cahill on the mound. Coming from the American League, very few Rockies have seen him. Taking Sunday off means that players like Helton, Scutaro, Ramon Hernandez and Dexter Fowler will be starting from scratch the next time the Rockies face him, which will give Cahill a huge advantage the next time around as well.

Tracy's motives might be in the right place. He wants to keep his bench feeling fresh, and have at bats so that when they are called upon, they are ready to go. The problem is that when a manager tries to keep 12 hitters fresh, he usually only accomplishes the opposite, and keeps them all from getting into a rhythm.

If bench players know that they are bench players, and might only come in for a late-night pinch hit and the very occasional start, they can prepare for that. They can get in a mindset that they might only get a few at-bats a week and they have to get in the batting cages more often to keep themselves from getting stale. If they feel that they are going to get two or three starts a week, there routine gets out of whack.

While fans feel frustrated by the continual lineup tinkering, Tracy continues to believe that what he is doing is best for the team.

The only logical conclusion for fans is that they are going to have to live with these decisions, and hope that the talent on the field can win in spite of Tracy, instead of because of him.

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  1. I am especially upset about this for two reasons. #1 - today was Jackie Robinson Day. A man that embodied the true meaning of baseball, he played hard every single game, he did not know the word quit. Lessons could be learned from him still. And #2 - I was there - I sat out in the left field, cold - but there to cheer for my team. I expect to see a professional game played - I did not pay full price to see the B team play. Should Tracey not expect at least the same effort from his players that he gets out of his fans?! - Disgusted in Denver!

  2. Also - when Tracy addressed the question of the fans frustration he said - "Well, the fans are just going to have to understand..." (with attitude) Well, what he is just going to have to understand, is that we pay his salary. If we stop coming to the game, if we stop paying for this crappy product that they put on the field - they will HAVE to change. Take a stand! BOYCOTT!!!

  3. I promised not to go to another Sunday game after last week's JV debacle. I went today despite the weather, and fool me once shame on you, fool me twice shame on me. I can tell you that there is a lot of disgust and disappointment from fans, and rightfully so. We even talked about boycotting Sunday games going forward. I watched the press conference afterward and he just doesn't see that he is doing anything wrong. He talked about late nights and playing in altitude, and a bushel of other excuses. He is going to destroy this very talented team. Even if you toss out the horrific lineup you have two very questionable decisions that cost the team as well. Not pinch hitting Roenicke, and Hernandez with bases loaded. I couldn't believe Helton didn't pinch hit with bases loaded in the eighth. I even sat by a few Dodgers fans who were laughing and saying "Thank God he isn't a Dodger anymore." Hopefully we can say the same soon.

  4. Jim Rally Killer Tracy needs to be fired, 'if' there is someone better to replace him with? Are there any former Rockies that fit this bill, to manage?

    Dante Bichette? Brent Mayne? Larry Walker? I cannot really think of any former Rockies pitchers that would be good managers.

  5. when the rockies finish 10 games back in the west you can look back at the sunday line up cards and wonder why colorado spgs was playing

  6. Have to agree with this commentary... Tracy has no feel for the urgency that the fans feel. We are tired of slow starts and having to come from behind in the standings almost every year. Contract for life? Come on, Dan! Get real...

    Another issue that drives me crazy! Tracy refuses to manufacture runs... when one on and no outs, move the runner over with a bunt. If your players can't bunt, then you can't manage! If you refuse to bunt then you just don't know how to win. Is it to accommodate batting stats? If so, that's a sad state of affairs.

    1. I couldn't agree more. Tracy acts like he is in the American League hoping his batters will drive the man on first all the way around. Guess what, we don't have the lineup and we don't have a DH. Start playing the National League style: steals, bunts, sacrifices, hit-and-runs.

  7. Absolutely correct - and if that is not bad enough:
    I was totally hyped at the bottom of the 8th when the tying run got on in Giambi because Cuddyer was up next and he has been hitting well - only to find that Tracy took him out of the game. Worse, instead of having the hero of the last 2 games(Helton) hit and play first, Tracy puts in somebody else to hit and play first. WTF??!!

  8. Maybe Tracy can take himself out of Sunday lineups, since Todd Helton is not allowed to play on Sunday he can manage, and have Giambi at least play first?

    Unless there were extra innings the night before on Saturday, the only possible player that ought be subbed for is catcher Ramon Hernandez, if he says he needs it.

    Why not wait til interleague play to rest people with the DH, like most teams do?

  9. I understand that guys need rest....but seriously, all at the same time? He did this every Sunday last year and we broke a record for most consecutive losses on a single day of the week, I dont remember how many consecutive Sundays we lost....pitiful

  10. Thanks for all of the comments. I can't say that I disagree with many of them. It is clear that everyone is tired of the JV Sunday's that Jim Tracy is giving the fans.