Monday, April 1, 2013

Colorado Rockies begin 2013 with heartbreaking loss

Despite a no-decision, Jhoulys Chacin was good on Monday.
As many positives as the Colorado Rockies had on Opening Day, the result was the same that the team saw 98 times in 2012.

Jonathan Lucroy sent the festive crowd home happy, sending an Adam Ottavino pitch deep enough to center field to score Rickie Weeks from third base, giving the Brewers their first win of the season in exciting fashion.

The result was a loss, something this franchise has become so accustomed to. There were plenty of mistakes to go around, starting with Chris Nelson not picking up his third base coach as he ran through a stop sign and got caught between second and third base when Wilin Rosario was held at third base on Dexter Fowler's 4th inning single.

Walt Weiss made his first questionable decision, removing Matt Belisle after he threw one pitch to get out of the 7th inning and going to Wilton Lopez, who gave up a game-tying double to Aramis Ramirez, in the 8th inning.

Despite the bad, there were positives in the game that should be encouraging for Rockies fans.

Jhoulys Chacin, who caused questions about his trajectory when he turned in a below-average spring, was the same pitcher who was nearly an All-Star in 2011. He went 6-2/3 innings, giving up one run on three hits. He struck out six and walked three. After walking Norichika Aoki to start the game, Chacin settled in and threw strikes. The only smudge on Chacin came in the 3rd inning, when he gave up a home run to Aoki on a pitch low in the zone that was golfed out to right field.

On Monday the bullpen blew the game, but the biggest question mark on this team is the starting rotation. Chacin needs to be a guy who the team can depend on every fifth day. If he can stay healthy and prove that 2012 was an aberration, he could be a breath of fresh air for the Rockies. Getting just one of the five starters to turn the corner and be better than they were a year ago, the Rockies will be a much better team. Chacin gave that thought some hope on Monday.

The other positive sign for the Rockies was what they missed from May 30th on in 2012. Troy Tulowitzki didn't waste any time showing fans what they were missing. He singled in the 1st inning with Dexter Fowler on base, then hit a two-run opposite field home run in the 3rd inning to plate the first two runs of the season for the Rockies.

In the 5th inning, Carlos Gonzalez hit a bullet to right field off of Brewers starter Yovani Gallardo. Gonzalez is a very good player, no one would deny that, but with the presence of Tulowitzki in the lineup, the Rockies lineup becomes that much better. Instead of having to rely on Gonzalez alone, the Rockies find themselves in a much better spot. Gonzalez will see better pitches because of Tulo and Tulo will see better pitches because of CarGo.

The game ended in a loss. The Rockies are 0-1. The bullpen blew their first opportunity of the season. However, there were positives. Maybe this is the season where Rockies fans look for anything positive, but the fact is, this team has more potential than most analysts are giving them credit for. They might not be a contender, but this is a crucial year for some of their younger players to get better and take the next step so that they can be ready to make a run in 2014.

The Rockies get another glimpse into what the 2013 season might look like when Jorge De La Rosa takes the mound. If the Rockies want to surprise teams in 2013, De La Rosa needs to be dependable.

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  2. i watched the game. what was WW thinking when he pulled belisle? was he doing that to show people that he can beause he's the manager. anyway like the person who commented before me it is and will be the pitching, no matter whether it's the bullpen or starters. they lost it in the bottom of the 8th, rockies fans prepare yourselves that is going to happen many, many times.LOL.

  3. Like it or not, the modern philosophy of using relievers is "inning oriented." Modern managers hate for their setup guys (different from long/middle relievers) sitting in the dugout cooling off for a half inning and then going back our for another inning (that's the mentality of the setup guys themselves as well.) Anybody happen to remember Tony LaRussa or Bobby Cox (a couple of managers who won a game or two in the Bigs)? BOTH of these guys ran their bullpens the SAME way! In fact, LaRussa and Dave Duncan virtually invented this method!! (You know that Walt has been talking with his former managers Tony and Bobby quite a bit.) I think that to question that decision by WW isn't fair criticism. If you do question it, I think you've got to give him credit for the decisive (and successful) manner in which he took Chacin out. I thought that was a great move because Chacin really had a good outing and it could have been spoiled with just one lousy pitch in the sixth. This was a tough game to lose, but there were a LOT of bright spots. I liked the defense, particularly Cargo and Cuddyer in the outfield.
    Here are a couple of my concerns: 1) I'm wondering if Tulo is completely back from his injury as it affects his defense. His inability to throw out Braun on the grounder in the hole shows me that he doesn't yet have the confidence to make that play. I know, we got spoiled, but he used to make that great play routinely. 2) We've been hearing about the "bulletproof" strategy with two strikes from both Walt and Dante. Eight out of the last nine batters k'd to finish yesterday's game, and the offense virtually shut down after the sixth inning. NOT what I was hoping for. My instinct tells me that the Rox reverted to their old mindset as the game got tight. It takes time for a manager to do change that. I think that it will come around.
    Last, I wish that the Rox had utilized their offense more effectively early in the game. The baserunning error in the fourth (I think that was the inning) was really deflating. They should have been up 6-1 by the time the eighth inning rolled around.
    It's one game in a very long season and if you're already to "slit your wrists" let me ask you this: Do you remember the start the Nuggets got this season? Hey, they got off to a really rocky (npi) start and how do you like how they are playing now? Yesterday's loss means very, very little.