Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Colorado Rockies continue the theme of 2013 in second loss of 2014 campaign

It's only the second game of the season.

It is really easy to draw swift conclusions from the first two games of the 2014 season for the Colorado Rockies. April is the time of year when baseball fans tend to hand out MVP's, Cy Young's and Rookie of the Year trophies to guys who may spend more time in the minor leagues than the big leagues. That's the nature of baseball.

On Tuesday, however, the Rockies offense continued a trend that was commonplace in 2013. Their offense is as potent as it gets. On paper, the Rockies offense looks to be one of the best in all of baseball.

However, talent requires the right timing. In the 8th inning, with the Rockies down two runs, Michael Cuddyer and Carlos Gonzalez started the inning with back-to-back doubles. With one run in, the tying run at second base, no one out and Troy Tulowitzki and Justin Morneau coming to the plate, the Rockies were in business.

Unfortunately, history started to repeat itself. Much like 2013, the Rockies couldn't get the tying run to the plate. Tulowitzki hit a weak fly ball to center field, Morneau hit a slow ground ball that stayed in the infield, and after a Wilin Rosario walk, Nolan Arenado struck out looking.

One incident is nothing to be alarmed about. April is the time for overreactions and jumping to conclusions. With that in mind, if the 2014 Rockies want to make things special, if they want to make this season better than 2013, they have to make sure moments like that do not become a trend.

Specifically, Tulowitzki, Morneau and Arenado must get the job done both in the field and at the plate in key situations. The Rockies will simply not succeed if they don't find ways to play fundamental baseball when they have opportunities to get the tying run across the plate late in baseball games.

Despite the loss, the Rockies played much better on day two than they did on day one. There is something that is very clear early on, Tulowitzki looks like he is finally healthy again. His defensive range is already a marked difference from a year ago. He is ranging to both his right and his left and looking like the fielder that he was in previous seasons. The reality is, Tulo may not have been healthy at all in 2013.

In his Rockies debut, Brett Anderson didn't do much to impress those looking for ace-type stuff. He was good, but nothing spectacular. He gave up three earned runs over six innings. He only gave up five hits and was the victim of a DJ LeMahieu error that allowed the go-ahead run to get in scoring position.

Overall, not a great day for Anderson, but he kept his offense in the game, and that is the job of a starting pitcher.

The bullpen, however, looked very good. Adam Ottavino and Rex Brothers made quick work of the Marlins in the 7th and 8th innings. Those two members of the bullpen look like they will have big roles for the Rockies and they both have shown no signs that they aren't fit for the position. The Rockies will be in good hands in 2014 with Ottavino and Brothers.

Despite a better showing, the Rockies still move to 0-2. The pressure begins for them to pick up a win. They don't want to come back to Coors Field at 1-3 or 0-4. They need to help build some excitement in a very skeptical fan base. That mission can start on Wednesday.

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1 comment:

  1. Craig S. Chisesi from Rifle, Co.April 2, 2014 at 3:14 PM

    Welcome to 2014. As I pointed out in a comment last year, the Rockies suffer from Charlie Brown Syndrome: Great potential is a heavy burden. So what did the Rockies do over the winter? They brought up a new batting coach, Blake Doyle. A Denver Post article addressed Doyle's new mentality for hitters. Basic baseball of advancing the runners and really trying to bring in the tying run. Unfortunately, it appears that old habits die hard. Who knew making solid contact when the game is on the line is so hard.
    On another note, Justin Morneau looks like a good replacement for Todd Helton. Take his trying to stretch a single into a double in the second last night. While I loved Helton, he was one of the slowest and worst baserunners I can remember. You cannot count on two hands and feet how many times Helton was thrown out trying to score or take the extra base. Morneau already has one, and it only took five at bats. I'm sure it's only a coincidence. He is off to a faster start than Helton, with 4 hits. So perhaps he can keep the bat hot, but remember that getting thrown out stretching a hit is still an out, especially when the play is right in front of you.
    But it is only day 3, so hope springs eternal. This coming from a guy who grow up with the Cubs.