Thursday, April 12, 2012

Colorado Rockies sloppy defense hurts as comeback bid falls short

Don't blame Jamie Moyer for Thursday's Rockies loss.
One more base hit, or more good swing, and the Colorado Rockies might have been winners on Thursday afternoon.

Despite being no-hit into the 7th inning by Madison Bumgarner, the Rockies were one swing away from tying the game in the bottom of the 9th inning. The Rockies found a way to claw back into a game in which they were dominated in through seven innings.

The fact is, if the defense would have been strong behind Jamie Moyer, the Rockies probably are not talking about being a swing away from tying it, but they are celebrating their first series win of the season.

Those who didn't watch the game will say that the Moyer experiment should come to a close sooner rather than later. They will see that he gave up four runs and didn't make it out of the 6th inning.

However, those who think this game falls on Moyer's 49-year old shoulders are sadly mistaken. The lefty was the victim of two errors that came at critical points for the Rockies. In the 3rd inning with no one out, third baseman Chris Nelson cleanly fielded a ground ball, then threw wildly to first base, allowing the Giants to have a base runner. That runner eventually came around to score, giving the Giants an early lead.

In the 6th inning, with no one out Ryan Theriot hit a fly ball to center field. Dexter Fowler trotted over, put his glove up and promptly dropped the ball, allowing Theriot to reach second base. After Moyer got two outs, Theriot came around to score on Angel Pagan's base hit.

Moyer is a guy who cannot rely on the strikeout. He is a pitcher who pitches to contact. Normally, the Rockies would seem like a perfect team for him to pitch in front of. They field the ball well, they throw the ball well and generally play solid defense for their pitcher.

With a pitcher on the mound for the opposition who is throwing well and making it difficult to score runs, it makes it critically important for the defense to not allow extra outs.

Consider that the Rockies fought back to make it 4-2 and had the bases loaded in the 9th inning. Instead of looking at a two-run deficit in the 9th, the Rockies would be tied up and looking for a win. They also probably would not have been facing Giants closer Brian Wilson, giving them a better chance.

The reality is, this Rockies team, if they want to contend, has to do everything correctly. They have to take advantage of anything that the opposition gives them and they cannot afford to give away outs.

The Rockies sit at 2-4 early in the season. Without critical errors, the Rockies would be looking at potentially being 4-2. Those two games could prove to be extremely important later in the season.

For now, the Rockies look to refine their game and find a way to win a series. They get a chance starting on Friday night when the defending National League Champion Arizona Diamondbacks come to town. A series win could go a long way for a team that is looking to prove that they can contend.

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  1. David,
    I am curious as to how many opposing pitchers are potential CY Young candidates? While it is true that the NL West has a deep pool of good pitchers (excluding,it appears,the Rockies) it seems to me that there are an inordinate amount of games that see the Rockies hitless through 5 or 6 innings. Think about the last couple of years.

    1. Craig-
      I think the Rockies do see quite a few aces. The NL West is deep in pitching. However, the fact that the Rockies struggle to pick up hits against these guys and look completely fooled the first two times through the lineup might point to deeper issues...sure, pitchers are good, but what is the hitters approach at the plate? Some guys try to do too much. I have taken issue with the Rockies overall approach at the plate for years.

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