Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Lost in the Colorado Rockies poor play is Jim Tracy's horrible moves

The 2012 season for the Colorado Rockies is going even worse than what most expected.

The passionate fans that remain mainly direct their ire at general manager Dan O'Dowd. He is the author of the "piggy-back" pitching situation, which was immediately a joke around the league. He is the founder of the theory that pitching at altitude creates massive injuries that end pitchers careers.

With all of the fire being directed in O'Dowd's direction, and the Rockies a long way from trying to convince anyone that they are in the race, Jim Tracy quietly continues to make terrible moves. If this team was anywhere near contending, some of the moves that Tracy has been pulling the trigger on would be getting far more criticism.

On Tuesday, the trend continued. With the Rockies down 4-2, well within striking distance, in the 7th inning, Tracy decided to bring lefty Rex Brothers to the mound. Jason Kubel led off the inning with a double Paul Goldschmidt hit a fly ball to move him to third base. With Justin Upton coming to the plate, Tracy decided to intentionally walk the slugger in order to set up the double play.

The premise is a good one. Upton is a dangerous hitter and putting him on first base sets up an inning-ending double play.

Fair enough, the move is conventional baseball wisdom. What happened after that made no sense. Brothers, who doesn't hold runners on well, threw a breaking ball to Miguel Montero. Upton took off and stole second base without a throw. So much for the double play. Immediately following the steal, Montero lined a pitch to center field, scoring two runs.

Conventional baseball wisdom would suggest that the move was the right one, and frankly, it was. However, depending on Brothers, who isn't good at holding runners on first base and doesn't possess a slide-step, and sometimes struggles when he gets out of his rhythm, isn't the smartest move in the world. 

Consider the fact that Montero isn't exactly a slouch at the plate, leading all National League catchers in RBIs. Then consider the fact that Brothers had 51 strikeouts in 37-1/3 innings so far in 2012. With Upton at the plate, a guy who strikes out at a fairly decent rate, and things might be different.

Even with the decision, once Upton stole second base, the double play was out of order. The decision should have been made to walk Montero would have been the smart decision, especially when Brothers got down in the count.

Instead, the intentional walk essentially put an extra runner in scoring position for a good hitter who made the Rockies pay.

Admittedly, the move simply didn't work out for Tracy. Sometimes that happens. However, his in-game decisions have continued to be lacking. However, in the midst of a season in which people are counting down the days until the Broncos report to training camp, it is easy to overlook how bad Tracy has been.

As much as O'Dowd deserves blame for the way the 2012 season has gone, the fact is, one of his worst moves was to retain Tracy and put his faith in him. He is a bad manager, someone who won in 2009 simply because he wasn't Clint Hurdle, and has shown that ever since that season ended.

The Rockies look to avoid a sweep in Arizona on Wednesday night. The way this team has been playing, specifically the lackluster offense, it seems like the money should be on the Diamondbacks to walk away with the sweep.

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  1. Send Jim Tracy packing and sign this petition calling for new management.


    1. Let's get enough signatures to fill Coors Field, sign it and pass it along

  2. Dave,
    I think your comments are spot on. It is always easy for anyone to second guess a manager in hindsight on any given night. It is part of being a fan and caring. However as you clearly point out it seems that we as fans are doing this night in and night out with Tracy which translates to losses and bad things happening when your doing that on a nightly basis. Why it's my opinion now that Tracy is not a bad manager it has become clear that he is not a good one either. It is time to hold everyone accountable from the GM to the manager and the players themselves as all have had a hand in this uneventful and painful season that has unfolded in front of us. Sometimes new blood in charge can inspire and motivate just by changing philosophy and routines. I would like to see that be done soon so that the new regime can set expectations and build on something the last part of the season so that come spring every player knows what the expectation and their accountability is for April of next year.

  3. The Rockies are beginning to look like the Chicago Cubs of yore whose record was so bad they should have hired people out of the stands to play with them...the Monfort brothers have the final say with respect to this team and its success or the lack of it - perhaps they should sell the team and go on to other ventures....

  4. Anyone have Terry Francona's number?

    1. Jim Tracy is a class act. I watched a game where the Dodgers were playing the Cardinals or Phillies in a final division series game years ago. The Dodgers lost, and Jim Tracy with the manager. Tracy went out with any other Dodger players and coaches willing to join him, and congratulated the team that had just knocked them out of the playoffs. I like to see stuff like that. What I don't like to see is crazy gambles that rarely pay off. I watched a Rockies game a couple of years ago where Tracy left Ubaldo Jimenez in a game up to close to 140 pitches (no wonder he wound up with that debilitating blister), and was just giving up hit after hit blowing the game wide open for the other team. I know Tracy wanted him to get that coveted 20th win that year. But I think you have to put the team first. I personally like Jim Tracy. I'm a die hard Rockies fan, win or lose. I just don't understand his reasoning a lot of the time. Sadly, I think it's time for a change.

    2. For the most part strong talent at the skill positions...no pitchinag or mis-managed pitching and a GM and Mmgr who at the very best of circumstances are suspect. The ultimate responsibity lies with OWNERSHIP!