Those hopes can to a crashing halt on Monday for the Colorado Rockies as they fell flat on their faces. Nine innings later, Barry Zito still stood atop the mound at 20th and Blake, and the Rockies had finished with as many runs as they had when the gates open.
|Chacin pitched a miserable four innings.|
Name the aspect of the game, and there is an example of bad baseball. The pitching was pathetic, Jhoulys Chacin pitched four brutal innings, giving up five runs. The defense was ugly, Carlos Gonzalez dropped a wind-blown fly ball that fell out of his glove. The offense made Barry Zito, a shell of the pitcher who won the American League Cy Young in 2002, look like a future hall-of-famer.
What was the cause? Maybe the Rockies were playing tight. Maybe they were trying to hard to prove their doubters wrong and show that they could be good in front of a full house that was looking for any reason to not believe in them.
Is it time to panic? The short answer is no.
However, if the Rockies want to even sniff the playoffs, if they want to be anywhere near .500, they are absolutely dependent on Chacin to turn the corner and become a better than average pitcher.
The development will start when Chacin learns that throwing strikes is the most important aspect of pitching. It will start when he realizes that a ground ball out counts the same as a strikeout. All too often it seems that Chacin tries far too hard to strike out every batter that strides to the plate.
Throw out the runs, throw out the hits, throw out the errors. The most important aspect of Chacin's game was the five walks he issued. To be dominant, he has to be in the strike zone. He has to live down in the zone and find a way to get ground balls, not strikeouts.
As bad as Chacin looked on Monday, the fact remains, no pitcher in the history of the baseball has won a game when his team didn't score a run. The offense has to hit. The offseason was heralded as one that would change the approach at the plate. The Rockies supposedly brought guys in who would work counts and find ways to get on base. Monday looked the same as 2011, a bunch of guys swinging desperately at whatever Zito threw their way.
Again, it is way too early to panic. There is no reason to believe that this team isn't good, or that they will lose 100 games like many are suggesting. However, playing bad baseball is never good. It's not good in April, it's not good in July, and it's not good in September.
The Rockies need to find a way to play better baseball and put some games in the "W" column, instead of the "L" column.
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