Saturday, July 7, 2012

Colorado Rockies victims of their own sloppy baseball

Jeff Francis was the lone bright spot.
Don't let the score fool you. The Colorado Rockies lost 4-1 in Washington on Saturday afternoon, but the visiting club was never in the game.

Lost in the poor starting pitching that has dominated the headlines for the Rockies has been their poor defense. Poor is just one of several words that can be used to describe the dysfunction that is the defensive approach for the Rockies.

On Saturday, the club committed four errors. The errors weren't questionable either, they were all ugly, sloppy errors that have no place on a big league field.

The 6th inning is when the circus music was playing at its loudest. After a wild pitch by Josh Roenicke, catcher Wilin Rosario made an ill-advised throw to second base in an attempt to throw out Ryan Zimmerman. The throw was wild, glancing off of Jonathan Herrera's glove and trickling to the side, allowing Bryce Harper to score easily from third base.

Later in the inning, Roenicke tried to pick off Ian Desmond at first base and threw wildly, allowing Zimmerman to trot home from third base.

Following those errors, Chris Nelson tried to glove a slow roller from Mike Morse but couldn't field it properly. With Morse running, Nelson had plenty of time to make the play, but rushed himself and didn't get the job done.

It is tough to play defense when the pitchers are terrible. It is hard stay mentally in the game when pitchers are walking guys left and right. However, Saturday was no excuse for the Rockies defenders. It was simply sloppy baseball, the same baseball the Rockies have been playing all season long.

Sloppy, undisciplined baseball is usually a result of poor managing and coaching. Of course, Jim Tracy isn't the guy on the field throwing the ball around, but he is the guy who is in the captain's seat in the ship. He insists on making excuses at the end of every poor performance instead of allowing himself and his team to take the responsibility for the poor performance. If there isn't any accountability from the front office, eventually that attitude is going to seep into every aspect of a franchise. It becomes evident in the defense with errors, especially mental errors like the Rockies are all too often guilty of committing.

Jeff Francis was the lone positive for the Rockies. He continues to revive his career. Back in a Colorado uniform. He will never be the pitcher who won 17 games in 2007, but he is about as close as anyone could ask. His fastball velocity is up around 89 MPH again.

He ended up giving up three earned runs in five innings, but two of the runs came in the 6th inning after he had departed. It should not be used as an excuse, but the argument could be made that Francis started to falter when he reached the 70 pitch mark. The Rockies have conditioned their starting pitchers to only throw 75 pitches, which would result in them tiring out earlier and being more susceptible to damage at that point instead of being able to pitch with strength beyond the 100 pitch mark.

The Rockies attempt to win a series on Sunday before heading into the All-Star break. The break will be a good chance for those who pay attention to the Rockies to take a much needed break and gear up for a second half in which the Rockies might secure 100 losses for the first time in franchise history.

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