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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