Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Time for next step in Colorado Rockies improvement

The Rockies need a better plate approach from Rosario and others.
The Colorado Rockies went 4-2 on their six-game homestand. They had a chance to sweep both series. For this club, that is a huge success.

The problem is, the Rockies still gave away two games.

What if the Rockies went into their six-game road trip after going 5-1 on the homestand, or even 6-0? A team that perennially struggles on the road absolutely has to dominate at home. For most teams, 4-2 is good enough. For a team that is terrible on the road, they can't afford to give away games at home.

The Rockies won four games and played their way out of two wins on the homestand. On Sunday, the Rockies blew three separate leads. Base running errors and sloppy play cost them several runs. They were up 5-1 on Wednesday, blew that lead, then they were up 6-5 and blew that lead as well.

It might be hard to complain about an offense that put up 10 runs, but the reality is, the Rockies missed several opportunities. Poor fundamentals at the plate cost the Rockies again on Wednesday. With the bases loaded in the bottom of the 7th inning and one out, Wilin Rosario came to the plate and promptly struck out on three pitches. He swung at two pitches out of the zone and fouled off a questionable pitch. Instead of finding a way to get the ball in play, Rosario took the pressure off of the pitcher entirely.

In the bottom of the 9th inning, with one out and Justin Morneau on first base, Rosario came back to the plate and failed once again. He didn't simply fail to get the job done, he failed to take a solid approach at the plate. With a 3-0 count, Rosario was on the verge of walking, forcing the game-winning run to second base with one out. Instead, the Rockies catcher swung at the 3-0 pitch, popping out to shortstop and putting the Rockies in a very difficult predicament.

The Rockies are the proud owners of two of the National League Players of the Week. They boast the reigning National League batting champion and have a healthy Troy Tulowitzki and Carlos Gonzalez. However, they sit just one game above .500. The reason is simple.

If the Rockies want to turn the corner and become a good team, they can't simply rely on talent. In the big leagues, talent isn't enough to win games. That talent has to decide to play the game the right way. Guys like Rosario have to take good at-bats. Instead of free swinging, thinking that they can change the game with one swing of the bat, they must realize that the guy behind them is capable of coming up with a big hit, and his odds are that much better with a runner on base.

The difference between a good team and a great team is how they play the game. The great teams play with strong fundamentals. They run the bases well, they play solid defense, and most importantly, they know how to work counts. The Rockies are far too often free swinging.

In April, a team like the Rockies can stay afloat. The only issue is that scouts watch teams. They see their strengths and their weaknesses. Eventually, the word will spread that batters like Rosario will try to do too much with runners on base and he won't see anything in the strike zone. With his lack of patience, he will likely continue to wave at bad pitches and allow the opposition to get off the hook.

This is a team that has the talent to compete. They may not be a team that can compete for a pennant, but they are talented enough to make a run and keep things interesting. However, if they don't start playing the game the right way, it won't matter. Even with everyone clicking, they will only be hovering around .500.

The odds of Justin Morneau and Charlie Blackmon to continue playing at the level that they have been at would be next to impossible. To assume that Troy Tulowitzki and Carlos Gonzalez will stay healthy is unrealistic. With those factors in mind, if this club is only around .500 with all of those guys playing, and playing at a high level, the reality is that the Rockies will plummet in the standings when even one of those scenarios takes place.

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  1. IMPROVE the front office. CLEAN IT OUT!!!

  2. I put 100% blame on Weiss for a lot of sloppy play and poor approach. Rosario swinging at 3-0 pitch in the 9th inning is a prime example. All Weiss has to do is put the take sign on.