Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Jhoulys Chacin still looking to take the next step for Colorado Rockies

Chacin has one more hurdle to jump.
The Colorado Rockies played two games on Wednesday. In all, they scored three runs on eight hits. Usually, numbers like that would result in two losses. However, the Rockies found a way to win game one, thanks in large part to the legs of Eric Young, Jr.

In game two, the Rockies once again got to see the potential of their prized talent, Jhoulys Chacin. He pitched well into the fifth inning, but then hit the same snag that has been what seems like the final hurdle the Chacin needs to jump in order to be a true top-of-the-order starter.

In the fifth inning, with one out, Carlos Gonzalez, known for his outfield prowess, dropped two fly balls in a row, resulting in the first two runs for the Pirates. Both balls Gonzalez lost in the afternoon sun. With the game starting immediately after game one, the shadows may have been different than usual, but both balls are typically caught by CarGo.

After the dropped fly balls, Chacin gave up back-to-back home runs to Garrett Jones and Pedro Alvarez. The Venezuelan righty should have been on the bench, but ended up having to get two extra outs because of Gonzalez's issues.

So it seems like it is all on Gonzalez. He is to blame for the inning spiraling out of control. That is true, but the reality is, this is where Chacin still has to mature.

Elite pitchers find ways to pick up their defenders. Obviously that can't always be expected, but the goal is to minimize the damage. All too often, Chacin hasn't figured out a way to minimize the damage, he has added to it.

The ball that Jones launched over the right field wall was a change up that registered 84 MPH on the radar gun, roughly four miles per hour faster than his typical change up. Catcher Ramon Hernandez was also set up way outside, and the pitch tailed back across the middle of the plate. It was still down in the zone, but a lefty with power loves to see a pitch that is over the plate and still high enough to be called a strike.

Alvarez's home run came on a 3-2 pitch that was also low, but again, over the middle of the plate. Leaving a ball in that location, even being low, is not going to serve a Major League pitcher well.

The two bombs gave the Pirates a 5-0 lead that was more than enough to secure the victory.

Most will remember the two fairly routine fly balls the Gonzalez dropped in left field, and that was the big reason why the Rockies weren't in the dugout. However, Chacin showed how vulnerable he still is.

It is easy to forget that Chacin is still just 24-years old. He still has maturing to do. That game is certainly not on his shoulders, but the reality is, sometimes guys in the field aren't going to make plays. A pitchers job is to minimize that damage.

On Wednesday afternoon, it seemed like Chacin was unnerved by the mistakes and tried to over pitch.

Chacin has the chance to become one of the better pitchers in the league when he doesn't get flustered by defensive mistakes, but instead bears down and makes pitches to get outs.

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  1. Not only should the Rockies have taken this series, they should have swept the Pirates. For whatever reason, I don't think that the answer is Jim Tracy. It seems like he is an enabler and the Rockies dismal defensive performances bear that out. Errors/misplays by Cargo and Tulo? Every day it seems like something that was supposed to be a strength for the Rox loses them a game. Three runs in two games against Pittsburgh?? A well rested Brothers gets lit up every time he enters a game. Scutaro looks like a Little Leaguer whenever the bases are loaded! As Vice would say: "What the hell's going on out there?

    1. I'm not sure what is going on with Cargo, with the exception of the Tim Lincecum game and the two homer game the other night, he has been basically non-existent. Maybe just a slow start again, but what worries me is that it seems to be more mental. He dropped a fly ball in the home opener, then yesterday, and the ball that he let up on in Milwaukee.