Sunday, April 13, 2014

Colorado Rockies lose series in San Francisco, but show improvement

Tyler Chatwood had impressive moments in his debut.
The beatings will continue until moral improves.

That has been the mantra for the San Francisco Giants delivering blows to the lowly Colorado Rockies when they come to visit AT&T Park in the city by the bay. The Rockies have been awful there over the years. The Giants have taken advantage of what seems to be free wins.

A three game series in San Francisco ended on Sunday. The Rockies lost two of the three, but there was a difference in this series. This Rockies team fought hard. They played well, for the most part, and actually had a chance.

The story is often the same with the Rockies in San Francisco. However, in the games where the Giants jump out to an early lead, the Rockies have usually made a habit of falling flat on their faces. This weekend, however, the Rockies fought hard the whole time. All three games were determined by one run, with the Rockies on the wrong side twice. However, it didn't seem like the Rockies were intimidated by their division foe with two World Series banners in the last four years flying over the stadium.

Jorge De La Rosa took plenty of heat for allowing a grand slam to Madison Bumgarner on Friday night. However, take a look at it from a different perspective. He was doing exactly what is taught in that moment. He had just walked a run in and had two outs with the pitcher coming to the plate. Struggling with control, De La Rosa was not trying to mess around with off-speed pitches, he was trying to put three past Bumgarner and get out of the inning. The Giants starter ran into a 94 MPH fastball and put it into the seats. It wasn't a great pitch, but the odds of him hitting a home run were very low.

Had De La Rosa gotten out of that inning, his outing would have been much different. He had great stuff in the first two innings and was able to get all three of his pitches across for strikes.

The reality is, De La Rosa is on the heels of a 16 win season. He didn't forget how to pitch. He is in a rough stretch that he is good enough to get through. There isn't a lack of velocity, or any other issue that would suggest that something is wrong, he simply had three bad starts.

The good news is, when he returns to form, the Rockies rotation will be as good as advertised.

On Sunday the bad news about Brett Anderson's broken finger came to light. The Rockies biggest offseason acquisition will miss 4-6 weeks. That is a set back for the club that will be nearly impossible to overcome. However, with Tyler Chatwood having a good enough performance on Sunday in his season debut to remind fans of what he can do, the Rockies will be ok.

Jhoulys Chacin will return from the disabled list in May and suddenly the Rockies rotation will be solid enough to not be an excuse for losing games.

Sunday was a devastating loss for the Rockies. Even in April, extra inning games are important. The Rockies lost on a walk-off home run from Brandon Crawford, who has victimized them several times in the past. However, the Rockies shouldn't look at this loss as all negative. They fought back from a 4-1 deficit and rallied to get back in the game. Of course, games like that are difficult to lose, but in recent years, a 4-1 deficit in San Francisco may as well have been a 14-1 deficit.

The Rockies head to San Diego for a four game series starting on Monday night. The reason why San Francisco has been such a thorn to the Rockies is because they can make a decent road trip a very bad road trip.The Rockies need to win two of the four games at Petco Park and find a way to come back home with their heads up high. A 3-4 California road trip isn't great, but it keeps the Rockies heads above water and allows them to be in a position to do damage when they get back to Coors Field on Friday night.

On Monday night, Jordan Lyles takes the mound for the Rockies, facing Eric Stults of the Padres. There is no reason for the Rockies not to jump on Stults and pick up a win. If the Rockies want to make this road trip one that sets the bar for the way they will play away from Coors Field, Monday night's game is the exact kind of game that they have to come out strong in.

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  2. David, I agree with your statement that the Rockies have improved in grit and toughness this year. Last year they would've just folded like a tent in road games in SFO etc. They just might be a 0.500 team this year and that would be a huge improvement over 2012 and 2013.