|Jeff Francis made his return on Saturday.|
The game represented exactly what the Rockies approach going into the season was. Basically what that amounts to is cross your fingers and hope everything goes perfectly.
The hope that Jeff Francis had returned to his former self--or anything coming anywhere close to that--was dashed quickly as the Angels knocked the Canadian around early and often. The final line was ugly as Francis departed in the 4th inning. 3-1/3 innings, eight runs on 10 hits, one walk and one strikeout. That is about the worst homecoming anyone could imagine.
The reports that Francis was throwing in the low-90's proved quickly to be far from the truth. The lefty was heaving his fastball over the plate at a rate of 84 MPH, closer to the speeds Jamie Moyer was throwing than the speeds he was reportedly throwing.
The game was much like the season for the Rockies. In reality, everyone knows what they have with Francis. They have a fringe big leaguer who is desperately trying to make his return to Major League Baseball. His career is on life support and he hasn't been a dominant pitcher since before the injury to his shoulder.
If, for whatever reason, Francis was healthy, there was a small chance that his career could be revived in the place he was drafted, the place where he called home for several years. If everything went exactly right, with no hiccups, no issues, he could be a good pickup for the Rockies.
The move is similar to the 2012 season for these Rockies. When they looked at their talent they knew that what they had was good. They knew that there was some talent that had the potential of doing something. They knew that if everything went exactly perfect, they could make a run.
The problem is, rarely do things work out just perfectly in baseball. Most times unforeseen circumstances arrive, separating the teams that are just crossing their fingers from the teams that are well prepared for their season, stacked with depth that they have been developing, rather than just hoping would be good, for several years.
For the Rockies, it looks bleak. They knew that this was going to be a transition year. They knew that the potential to lose 90 or more games was there. That is the one and only reason Dan O'Dowd came out publicly in support of manager Jim Tracy before the season. If a GM believes that he has a team that he can win with, there is no reason to have that talk with the media. However, when a GM knows that the writing on the wall says that there are holes in the team all over the place and that the farm system has no one on the cusp of being ready, that is when he has to publicly back his manager before the season begins.
On Saturday not everything was bad. The ball was flying out of the park much the way it seems to when the weather gets as warm as it was on Saturday. The Rockies hit five solo home runs, the second time they have done that in 2012 in a losing effort.
Torii Hunter continued his torrid pace at Coors Field. He went 3-for-4. Albert Pujols, the butt of many jokes in May, made the Rockies pitching the punchline. He launched a long opposite field home run off of Guillermo Moscoso in the 5th inning, and added another hit, going 2-for-4 on the day with four runs batted in.
It is a sad time to be a Rockies fan. The organization was clearly caught in a bad spot. They had fallen in love with their talent, believing that the guys they had on the farm would be stars. Instead, those players look average and their are very few serious prospects on the horizon. If everything had gone exactly perfect, this Rockies team could have made some noise. Instead, everything that could go wrong has gone wrong and the Rockies find themselves without a sliver of hope for a playoff run before the middle of June arrives.
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