Monday, September 3, 2012

Colorado Rockies drop Labor Day matinee in Atlanta

Tyler Chatwood pitched just three innings.
In a season like 2012, there will be games like Monday's.

The Colorado Rockies lost to the Atlanta Braves in an early game, starting at 11 AM Mountain time, which followed a Sunday barn burner at Coors Field that made for a late arrival into Atlanta.

The late arrival probably played into the Rockies flat play on Labor Day. The Rockies logged only five hits on the day, scoring one unearned run.

As flat as the Rockies looked, the fact is, Braves starter Kris Medlen was phenomenal. The Atlanta starter has been phenomenal since being moved from the bullpen into the starters role. He is 7-1 with a 1.56 ERA. On Monday, he continued his dominance, striking out 12 Rockies and walking none.

Of course, those who follow the Rockies are always hesitant to throw compliments in the direction of the other team's pitcher. Even when that starter does a great job, it is hard to give that credit to the other side for one simple reason. Rockies fans are inundated with a manager in Jim Tracy who is all too quick to give praise to the other starting pitcher.

The Rockies could take terrible at-bats. The Rockies could be extremely undisciplined, they could swing at pitches well outside of the zone and not work counts all day. The answer from Tracy to the media usually starts and ends with him giving tons of credit to the other pitcher and pretending as if the Rockies had nothing to do with that pitcher's success.

That fact makes it difficult for Rockies fans to give credit where credit is due.

However, Monday is a day in which the opposing pitcher simply had his good stuff. Medlen simply dominated the Rockies. He has been good all year as a starting pitcher, and when the Rockies rolled into town, they were simply the latest victim.

Heading down the stretch, it might get difficult for this Rockies team to avoid the temptation to see the finish line and start slowing down. The year has been full of disappointments. The natural reaction for the Rockies could easily be to simply play out the stretch and start looking forward to their offseason vacations. There certainly has been stress throughout the season, and the idea of being done with it has to sound like a nice proposition to some of these Rockies.

The fact is, there might be several more of these types of games as September gets later. They are going to run in to teams who are in the playoff hunt. There will be teams along the way that have something to play for and something to look forward to. The simple difference between the two teams situations will usually give the edge to the team who has a chance. The Rockies will be focusing on the future and their opposition will be focused on winning that day. That combination will often result in a lackluster, boring to watch game that is similar to what was seen on Monday.

The Rockies have 55 wins heading in to Tuesday. They need eight more wins to avoid losing 100 for the season. In order to avoid losing the most games in their history, which was 95 set in their expansion season of 1993, they must win 13 more games. Both of those numbers are attainable, if they continue to play with heart and with purpose.

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