Saturday, July 6, 2013

The downward spiral continues for Colorado Rockies in Arizona

Drew Pomeranz was terrible for the Rockies on Saturday.
Want to know what happened in the Colorado Rockies game in Arizona on Saturday night? Dig into the memory bank, back into a dark time. Look somewhere in the August to September range of 2012. Replay that game and that basically sums up the Rockies performance.

The hitting was a lackluster as Friday night, but it didn't really matter because they never had a chance. Drew Pomeranz, the Rockies prized possession after the Ubaldo Jimenez trade, bombed again on Saturday night. The talented lefty looked timid, dancing around the strike zone, and avoiding giving up the big hit at all costs.

Pomeranz worked just four innings, giving up five runs. He was seemingly behind in every count and made the same mistakes that he has been making since he debuted at the end of the 2011 season. Instead of pounding the inner half of the strike zone, the lefty continued to stay on the outer-half, and generally off the plate.

It was essentially time to pack it in for the Rockies in the 2nd inning. Pomeranz had two outs with a runner at third base. One out and he was out of the jam. Instead, the prospect walked Gerardo Parra, then walked Didi Gregorius. Suddenly the bases were loaded, but there was no reason to panic because Wade Miley, the Diamondbacks pitcher, was coming to the plate.

All Miley did was smash a 92 MPH fastball for a bases clearing double. The Rockies went from nearly being in the dugout with the game still tied at zero, to the opposing pitcher driving in three runs and putting the Rockies in a hole that they wouldn't be able to crawl out of.

Watching Pomeranz pitch is similar to watching a movie in which the lead character just can't do or say the right thing. It is almost stressful. Two words continue to come to mind as he is on the mound--"throw strikes!!"

The former first round pick finds himself in a similar situation to Juan Nicasio. The pitch count gets to the 100 mark very quickly because batters foul pitches off all night. The reason for that is because both pitchers either don't have the out pitch, as is the case with Nicasio, or don't have the confidence to throw the pitch that will get the batter out, as is the case with Pomeranz.

While the Rockies wanted Pomeranz to grow up in Triple-A, they may have accidentally created bad habits. Those batters are far more likely to swing and miss at pitches out of the strike zone. They are in Triple-A, and not the big leagues, because they haven't refined their skills at the plate enough to lay off of a good breaking pitch out of the zone. Pomeranz easily could have gotten used to batters swinging at those pitches. Now, at the big league level, they simply are passing on that pitch and allowing the umpire to call it a ball.

As bad as Pomeranz was on Saturday, the Rockies offense, with the exception of Carlos Gonzalez, didn't do anything to help the situation. They scored just one run, a CarGo solo home run, and basically looked clueless at the plate throughout the rest of the game. Gonzalez went 4-for-4, scalding the baseball on each occasion. Nolan Arenado hit the ball hard as well, but ended the night 0-for-4 as each ball landed in the glove of a fielder.

The reality is, the Rockies have done everything in their power to bury themselves over the past three weeks.  They simply haven't had the cooperation of the rest of the division to successfully finish that job. Now playing against the division, they are finishing the job that they started.

The Rockies hopes are leaning on a 35-year-old who was out of the league throughout spring training and a former first round pick who looks like he has no business on a big league mound. They don't have enough depth to rely on anyone else, and they don't have enough time to develop someone else.

An argument could be made that the time is now for the Rockies to make a big trade, to sell off a key prospect in the effort to win now. The only issue with that is that there are so few pitchers available in the trade market that the names that have been thrown out wouldn't be an answer that would be better than what the Rockies are currently running out.

The Rockies, now 4-1/2 games out of first place, have a pivotal game on Sunday. If they get swept by the Diamondbacks, they are 5-1/2 out of first with seven more road games before the All-Star Break. If they win, they climb back to a respectable deficit and build some momentum for their next stop in San Diego against a Padres team that would struggle against a high school team right now.

For the Rockies, the reality is that their surprise season hangs in the balance. They must decide to play with life soon or they will be playing out the string after the All-Star Break is over.

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1 comment:

  1. The way the offense is playing, it wouldn't matter who is out there playing unless you are a Kershaw or a Matt Harvey who don't let up any runs.
    To me, this offense looks way worse than last years version..especially the young players like Rutledge, Rosario, Pacheco and makes me wonder if Dante is just not a teacher...some are and some are not...with so many kids on the roster they probably need a teaching type of coach which he is clearly not.