|The Rockies need a leader to step up and turn things around.|
After a decent start, finishing April close to .500, the Colorado Rockies suddenly forgot how to play baseball.
This team was never expected to be phenomenal. No one was predicting them to walk away with the National League West. No one was expecting them to come out and win 100 games. However, with a lineup that is arguably one of the most powerful in the National League, the Rockies were thought of as a team that might just be able to compete.
The club came out pretty well. They weren't great, but they weren't bad in April. Despite a poor starting rotation, the club was showing fight and coming from behind to win baseball games. It was easy to be optimistic.
That optimism is long gone. As the Rockies hit the airport to head to their third and final destination in a disastrous road trip, most fans had jumped off the bandwagon. The way the club was playing, it seems like many of the players have jumped off the bandwagon as well.
On Sunday it looked as if the Rockies might not roll over for the Dodgers. Facing Ted Lilly, a pitcher who consistently dominates them, they quickly scored three runs in the first inning. The club came out being aggressively patient. The first four batters knocked singles against Lilly.
The good feelings for the Rockies ended with a thud. In the 5th inning, the Dodgers loaded the bases on Alex White. With Bobby Abreu at the plate, replacing Matt Kemp, who left with a hamstring injury, lined a 2-0 fastball into the left-center gap, scoring three runs.
With the lead coughed up, the Rockies made it far worse. Before it was all said and done, the Rockies had given up six runs in the inning, and any hope of the club avoiding the sweep was long gone.
It was one of those days for the Rockies. Face it, the Dodgers are tough to beat at home. It's not a Rockies thing, it's an every team thing. With the win, Los Angeles improves to 15-3 at home, the best record in baseball. Couple the fact that the Dodgers win at home with the fact that the Rockies struggle on the road and it is a recipe for disaster for any fans who wear purple.
The problem for the Rockies is that the fight seems to be gone. Early in the year when things went wrong there was a strong feeling that they would fight their way back into the game. Lately, however, the feeling has been quite the opposite. In fact, the feeling has a very similar feeling to the 2011 season in which the team rarely fought back.
In 2011, word came out after the season that there was a finger pointing going on in the clubhouse. The feeling was that players were playing for themselves and not interested in helping the team win. When they lost, it wasn't a big deal to several players who were accused of not having the passion required to be a successful Major Leaguer.
Well, those guys were shipped out. Those guys were supposed to be long gone. So what is the issue? If the guys who played for themselves were sent packing, how could a whole new group of players suddenly find a way to continue a clubhouse mindset that sabotaged the team a season before?
The answer might not be an easy one. The answer might be that the team is starting to point fingers again. It wouldn't be too hard to imagine that a team that had starter pitchers struggling for a month and an offense that was hitting like crazy to collapse on itself.
It's would be hard to blame the Rockies offense if they were frustrated with the pitchers. It would be easy for the pitchers to get frustrated with the batters for not producing on the road and falling flat when they do have a good outing.
When fingers start to point, attitudes start to form. Players start to not root for each other and they start to play for themselves. Instead of looking for how they can help the team, they start to look at how they can help their own numbers. When players start to play for their own numbers, a losing streak turns into a losing mentality.
The Rockies season isn't over. It is still May. However, the mindset needs to change soon. They simplay cannot afford to continue to play poor baseball if they want to stay in the race. They have to pitch better, they have to hit better, and they have to manage better. Every aspect of the game needs to improve if they want to have any chance at having a good season.
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