Saturday, August 31, 2013

Greg Reynolds shuts down Colorado Rockies as Todd Helton comes up short in bid for 2,500 hits

Todd Helton waits another day for hit no. 2,500
The statement can finally be put to rest. When Greg Reynolds was struggling for the Colorado Rockies, fans would constantly hark back to the failed 2006 draft in which the Rockies selected Reynolds second overall.

Reynolds become a Rockie, then Evan Longoria went to Tampa Bay, Clayton Kershaw went to the Dodgers, Tim Lincecum went to the Giants, and Max Scherzer.

Well, on Saturday night at Coors Field, Reynolds proved that he is a better player than all of those guys. Just kidding. The Rockies, however, made him look just as dominant as those guys. He returned to Coors Field and pitched like he had never pitched before. At least when he was wearing purple pinstripes.

Reynolds went eight innings. He gave up three runs, two of which came in the 8th with the game well in hand. He gave up seven hits, walked none and struck out five. The brilliance was something that Rockies fans never had a chance to see. Unfortunately for those fans, the first time they got to see it came against the Rockies.

The worst thing that probably happened to Reynolds was the success of the guys who were selected behind him. The mental side of playing baseball is so difficult anyway that when the guys who were picked behind him are winning Cy Young awards, and homering their team into the playoffs, it makes the day-to-day struggles of trying to make it in the big leagues that much more difficult. A change of scenery could easily have been enough to remove the burden from Reynolds shoulders and given him a chance to move on from being the guy who was picked ahead of a bunch of superstars.

The reality is, however, that the Rockies should never have allowed their former teammate to dominate them the way that he did. They know better than anyone what his repertoire is and how to get hits off of him. He certainly has improved since leaving, but to only scrape seven hits off of the righty is simply unacceptable for a team that was built to hit.

After the game, as has become a tradition in the Rockies clubhouse after losses in which the offense doesn't show up, there was glowing praise for Reynolds. The talk was all about how good his stuff was and how well he did. Hat-tipping was in rare form on Saturday night. The way the Rockies talked about Reynolds, you would think that he was the guy who had won all the Cy Young awards from his draft class.

It certainly didn't help the Rockies that birthday boy Juan Nicasio didn't have the stuff that he has shown over his past few starts. Nicasio didn't get out of the 5th inning. After Wilton Lopez came in allowed the bases that Nicasio left loaded to score, Nicasio's final line was ugly--six earned runs in 4-1/3 innings.

The reality is, with the season entering it's final month, the majority of baseball fans at Coors Field were eager to see one thing. Fans wanted to cheer for Todd Helton when he notched his 2,500th hit. Those fans went home disappointed. Not only did the Rockies lose, but Helton failed to pick up a hit.

Helton went 0-for-4. He struck out three times on the night, including in the 9th inning with fans hanging around, despite the blowout, to see if he could do it. It was clear that Helton was over swinging. It looked like the best player in Rockies history was either trying to make hit number 2,500 a dramatic home run, or if he wanted so desperately to get the fanfare over with that he had lost his approach.

Fans headed out to Coors Field on Sunday may not get to see the feat accomplished then, either. Helton normally sits out a day game after a night game. After his three strikeout performance, manager Walt Weiss may decide that a day off would allow Helton to reset his approach at the plate and be ready to go again on Monday.

The final month of the season has arrived, and it might be a good time to recognize that the Rockies already have achieved the same number of wins as they had in all of 2012. As bad as things got for the Rockies in late June and early July, the reality is that they have been better. It isn't good enough to justify that things are working well, but the Rockies have a chance to be 12-15 games better than the prior year. While it couldn't move much in the other direction, progress is always a good thing.

There is still plenty of room for improvement, the first thing being the attitude after a loss to a bad pitcher, but progress has been made none-the-less.

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  1. David, I went to the game last night to try and see the greatest Roxs player of all time and quite frankly the greatest athlete and greatest player in all of Colorado sports try to accomplish a huge feat in Colorado sports history. What I took from the game was a magnificent pitcher primed for greatness and the willingness of the fans to call out our great front office and force their hand in getting rid of a magnificent pitcher one who will easily win one if not several Cy Young awards in the future. Only time will tell just how many it,s not a matter of when it,s how many. I wish people would let the front office do their job and stay out of their business and let the brilliance of management and front office do their thing. Great baseball minds as they are even can make mistakes. As the season winds down and we gear up for a fantastic finish and a playoff appearance for our Rockies Last nights game was one that you just put behind you and win the rest of them my biggest concern right now is getting the right guys like Helton enough rest and winning out to get in could mean we are 1 game and done in the wildcard format. I hope that is not the case go Rockies.