Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Colorado Rockies can't sweep Dodgers in LA

No sweep for the Rockies in L.A.
The Colorado Rockies had a chance to sweep the Dodgers on Wednesday night in Los Angeles. That didn't happen as the Rockies blew an early 2-0 lead and eventually fell 6-4.

A sweep, however, was unnecessary for this team in this series. Given where this team is at, given the fact that they just finished a nine game homestand 1-8, winning just one game in the series would have been seen as a positive.

The Rockies are traditionally terrible at Dodger Stadium. Regardless of how good the Colorado club happens to be, they never seem to do well in L.A. So a team that has been as bad as this 2012 Rockies team is should be lucky to walk out of a three game series with even a single victory.

Three nights later, the Rockies leave for San Francisco with two wins against the Dodgers, a huge mental victory for a club suddenly full of young players who are trying to make their mark in the big leagues.

The game on Wednesday night was the latest in a long line of examples of how poor the paired pitching system is for the Rockies. It has been very well documented how bad this system is. Everyone can see that it isn't working, but the Rockies continue to go down that road.

On Wednesday Jeff Francis didn't look like he had his good stuff early on. Staked to a 2-0 lead in the first inning, it took only three batters before Francis had given up the lead. A long 3-run home run off the bat of Matt Kemp gave the Dodgers the lead before they had an out in the inning.

However, Francis settled down and got through the first without any additional damage. In fact, he didn't give up a run through the next three innings. After 73 pitches, the lefty had done his job, keeping the Rockies in the game, and was done after just four innings of work.

Enter Carlos Torres. The Rockies reliever who was so good in July, giving up just one run, showed the signs of wear and tear on his overused arm. In his first inning of work he loaded the bases without getting an out. He walked in a run, then was able to wiggle off the hook, getting a pop out and double play to end the threat.

Torres then struggled again in the bottom of the 6th inning. He gave up two more runs in the frame, giving the Dodgers a 6-3 lead.

Francis' line may not look like he was dominating through the first four innings. However, he had settled in and was pitching well. Instead of letting him pitch another inning, the pitch count guidelines got him, ending his night and handing the ball to the bullpen.

Torres clearly didn't have it. It didn't take long for everyone to realize that. However, because of the Rockies theory being set in place, this team was forced to hand the ball to him. Also, because of the theory, Matt Belisle, Adam Ottavino, and Josh Roenicke were all unavailable out of the bullpen. That meant that when Torres began to struggle, Jim Tracy didn't have the luxury of heading out to the mound and getting him, he needed him to get through two innings.

Those two innings ended up costing the Rockies a game in which they could have won. It also cost Francis a potential win if he was able to give the team another inning of good baseball.

Frankly, it gets old seeing the theory fail night-in and night-out. Even when the Rockies pull through and get a win, it isn't because of the system, it is in spite of the system. The Rockies front office has shown how stubborn they are. They have shown that they aren't going to admit fault. So there is no reason to expect them to change their thinking with this team. There is no reason to expect them to admit that the theory isn't working and go back to conventional baseball. That fact makes the rest of the season even more frustrating for fans.

The Rockies get on off-day before starting a three game set in San Francisco. After being swept at Coors Field over the past weekend by the Giants, the Rockies should be looking for better results. Getting those better results will be easier said then done.

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