Saturday, April 21, 2012

Colorado Rockies let a close one get away

Lots of Monday Morning Quarterbacking with Jim Tracy
It's easy to play Monday morning quarterback. It's easy to question every move a manager makes after the fact.

As the saying goes, hindsight is 20/20. The best managers in the world are fans who complain about what the manager did after the move he made failed. It's not an easy job, and in a long season, every manager is sure to make moves that cost his team games.

Saturday night falls into that category for the Colorado Rockies and manager Jim Tracy.

Esmil Rogers relieved Drew Pomeranz in the 6th inning. He immediately gave up a game-tying home run to Ryan Braun. He got through the inning without any further damage. Heading into the 7th inning, the game way tied at three runs a piece. After two quick outs, Rogers spot in the lineup came up. With two outs and no one on base, Tracy decided that he was going to save his bullpen and allow Rogers to hit for himself. The converted shortstop struck out, ending the inning.

The move would have gone over well, except for the fact that Rogers only recorded one out and gave up three additional earned runs to effectively run the Rockies out of the game.

Looking back at the move, Tracy gave up an out at the plate, with the game tied and a chance to get a two-out rally in an effort to save a taxed bullpen an inning. However, Rogers was only able to get one out, and Edgmer Escolona had to come in and try to mop up the mess.

The second-guessing begins at that point. What if Tracy would have pinch hit for Rogers, knowing that he could go to a combination of Matt Reynolds and Matt Belisle to get him through the 7th inning? Would that pinch hitter, perhaps Jason Giambi, been able to hit the ball out of the park and give the Rockies the lead? Those are questions that are hard to answer, and probably not fair to the manager.

However, with enough arms in the bullpen, it seems like trying to extend Rogers, who generally struggles when he pitches multiple innings, was a horrible decision.

The reason the decisions from Tracy become tough to handle is because Rockies fans know what to expect as Sunday comes around. Instead of wrapping up a series win on Saturday, the Rockies are forced to avoid losing a series on the road on Sunday, a day when it is almost certain that four or five starters will find themselves on the bench.

Instead of looking for a sweep, the club is put in a position where they are going to have to play flawlessly in order to salvage the series win.

Ultimately, players have to make plays. If Tracy doesn't have confidence that Rogers can get the job done, then Rogers shouldn't be on the team. Tracy showing confidence in Rogers is a good thing. However, with the opportunity to win a game, the decision to allow Rogers to hit when he had already shown that he didn't have his dominant stuff, was a bad one.

Tracy can minimize the questioning if he decides that he wants to win a series on Sunday and puts a good lineup on the field. That doesn't mean that Todd Helton can't have the day off, but putting half of the starting lineup on the bench is not the way to win a series.

To be a factor in the National League West, the Rockies have to win on the road, and that starts with playing their best players as often as possible.

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