Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Canadian blues continue for Colorado Rockies as Blue Jays complete sweep

Roy Oswalt could provide the boost the Rockies need.
The last time the Colorado Rockies won a game in Canada, it was against the Montreal Expos.

The Toronto Blue Jays completed a three-game sweep of the Rockies on Wednesday, winning 5-2. The series that starts the longest road trip of the season for the Rockies might be a bad sign for this club moving forward.

No one would dare say that the Rockies haven't exceeded expectations in 2013. The fact that they sit just 2-1/2 games out of first place in the National League West is far  better than anyone ever could have thought at this point in the season.

However, despite the strong start, most Rockies followers have been wondering when the other shoe is going to drop. It is easy to wonder. This is a team that lost 98 games a year ago and did little to improve their starting pitching rotation. The lineup was going to be good, but the starting rotation was supposed to be brutal.

The biggest shock has been how well the rotation has been in the early going. Surprise years by Jorge De La Rosa, good starts from Jhoulys Chacin and Tyler Chatwood making a statement that he belongs in the big leagues has been the biggest surprise.

However, despite the solid pitching, there have been times when it has faltered. On the other side of the coin, the offense has had it's fair share of struggles as well. Luckily for the Rockies, they haven't lost momentum because when the pitchers struggled, the batters bailed them out. When the lineup struggled, the pitching staff was able to bail them out.

The big concern for the past two games is that the momentum came to a screeching halt. While Jeff Francis sealed his fate on Tuesday night, it wasn't like the offense did much to help him out. On Wednesday, the Rockies again struggled at the plate. Juan Nicasio wasn't great, but it didn't help that a 1st inning error by Nolan Arenado cost him extra pitches, and most importantly, put him in a three-run hole.

On Monday, De La Rosa gave the Rockies one of their best pitching performances in years, yet the offense couldn't muster anything, getting shutout in a loss.

The signature for the Rockies in 2013 has been the fact that they have been able to bounce back from rough losses and put them out of their minds, instead of allowing a losing streak to arise from a bad game or a heartbreaking loss.

Although it isn't to the point of panic, there should be some concern over the Rockies lackluster play in Toronto. On Wednesday in particular, the Rockies played like the lackluster team that took the field far too many times in 2012.

With that in mind, the Rockies might be getting the boost that they need at exactly the right time. Roy Oswalt will make his Rockies debut on Thursday against the Nationals. Oswalt may not be the same pitcher that he once was, but he certainly knows how to pitch, and after getting railed in the media for his poor performance in Texas in 2012, he has something to prove.

The Rockies cannot afford a terrible road trip. They don't need to make a run, or gain ground in the race while they are away from Coors Field, but with nine games against three very good teams, the Rockies need to keep the road trip from becoming an absolute disaster.

At this point, just to return home with a decent trip, the Rockies must win four of the next six games against the Nationals and Red Sox. The reality at this point is that if the team goes 3-3 over the remaining six games it will be a success. However, if the Rockies return to Denver with two wins, or even just one, they may have put themselves in a position that their pitching staff is not capable of digging them out of.

The Rockies don't need to make a run right now, but they cannot afford to lose too much ground in this race.  If they get too far behind, they may not have the firepower to get back into the race. That means winning now is crucial.

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1 comment:

  1. I wonder if the Rox weren't affected by that "astroturf infield" where all they have at the bases are "cutout" sliding pits. The ball gets there so much faster than it does on a dirt infield. It has to really bother a pitcher when he gives up runs when he should be out of the inning. I thought that it was a factor for both Arenado and LeMieheu last night. If the Rox are ever going to be really good, the HAVE to play great defense. I know, cutout infields used to be much more common than they are now, but I think that Toronto is the only MLB ballpark that still has that. I realize that "it's the same for both teams" but Toronto plays 81 games a year there and the Rockies play there three times every three years. Honestly, I think that it's enough of a factor that MLB ought to mandate the full dirt infield.