|Jarrod Parker didn't listen when he was told how tough Coors Field is.|
The Colorado Rockies finished their six game homestand winless, going 0-6 against a formidable Angels team and then a terrible Oakland A's team. It might go down as the worst homestand in franchise history.
On Thursday the Rockies were done in by bad defense, and something that the Rockies insist can't happen at Coors Field, good pitching.
Jarrod Parker, a rookie who was acquired from Arizona in the offseason, blew the Rockies front office theory that pitching at Coors Field is impossible right out of the water.
The reality is, as bad as the Rockies have been over the past six weeks, the offense has been very good. The results have been an afterthought because eight runs a game just isn't enough when talking about these Rockies pitchers.
Parker was able to shut down the Rockies, mixing speeds effectively and keeping batters off balance all night long. The rookie went seven shutout innings, giving up just three hits. He struck out six Rockies and walked only one.
Amazingly, much of the success came due to pounding the strike zone. Out of 89 pitches, 60 were for strikes.
Imagine if the Rockies quit making excuses for their pitchers about how hard it is to pitch at Coors Field. Imagine if they started telling their pitchers that pounding the strike zone and mixing speeds might be an effective way of pitching in a place where curveballs break less and the ball travels further.
The sad reality is that the Rockies spirit is broken. No one would have been too upset if this team finished the year 81-81. Fans in Colorado don't expect championships every year, they expect competitive play. However, in this pathetic season, the Rockies are lost. If Jeremy Guthrie's postgame interview didn't clearly show how far mentally off this team is, nothing will. He has no clue how to pitch at Coors Field and believes that it is impossible to overcome. Those are the words of someone who is defeated.
When players are defeated, it suggests that their leaders aren't inspiring and encouraging them anymore. Of course, these are multi-millionaires, but they still need leaders. They still need a common goal and they still need someone who is inspiring the entire team. When things go wrong, players on teams need the goals reinforced. They need to be motivated, whether through a harsh conversation, or simple encouragement. That message isn't getting across to these Rockies.
This team is bad, make no mistake, but this is not a team that should be on pace to lose 99 games. This team has far more talent than that. This is a team that should be somewhere around .500 or slightly below. There is a big difference between a .500 team and a team that has the chance to lose 100 games.
As bad as things are for the Rockies, there is a good chance it is about to get much worse. They head off on a nine game road trip through Detroit, Philadelphia and Texas. Of course, Detroit and Philadelphia have played well below expectations, however, the talent is still there on those teams, and with the way the Rockies starters have performed, winning even one of those series would be a huge accomplishment. In fact, if the team comes back to Coors Field going 3-6 on the trip, it would probably be celebrated.
It is going to be a long year for the Rockies. It seems that no change is on the horizon. The season was a giveaway year before it ever started, so no matter what the outcome, the front office was determined to see the season through with the coaching staff that they have.
It is going to be tough to watch.
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