|Nolan Arenado now has the longest hitting streak in Rockies history.|
A 5-0 loss in which the Rockies couldn't get the job done, despite having several opportunities was tough for Rockies fans to watch. However, it was perfectly acceptable as well, considering the runs the club has been putting on the board, and more importantly, the wins they have been piling up.
After dominating the Rangers, a good team in their own right, for three straight days, the Rockies couldn't keep the magic rolling.
The Rockies looked like they were playing baseball under water. Their swings were slow and underneath the ball, their defense was sloppy and the spark that has been apparent through the first five weeks of the season simply wasn't there.
The one piece of good news that came from Thursday night's game was that Nolan Arenado extended his hitting streak to 28 games, a new Rockies record. His emergence has represented a sigh of relief for a club that hasn't developed an everyday Major League player since Dexter Fowler made his debut in 2008. Arenado, who already won a Gold Glove in his rookie season, has exploded onto the scene in 2014. A young player who had major questions about his bat after his rookie year, Arenado suddenly is in the conversation for the best overall third baseman in the National League.
Beyond Arenado, the Rockies never seemed like they had a chance on Thursday. Baseball is a funny game. Sometimes, like Saturday night when the Rockies erased a 6-0 lead, a game seems like it isn't over, despite a large gap in scoring. However, there are times when a 2-0 deficit feels insurmountable. That was the case on Thursday. It just seemed like the Rockies weren't going to be able to get the job done.
Credit Franklin Morales for stepping in and being a serviceable starter for the Rockies in the early going. No one really gave him a solid chance at being a starter. Now, with Brett Anderson and Tyler Chatwood out for two months, and Jhoulys Chacin missing the first month of the season, the ability of Morales to start was a huge benefit for the Rockies. He deserves credit for filling that gap. However, anyone who says that they are comfortable with Morales on the mound is lying. There are times when he looks like he could hit a gnat flying behind home plate, then on the very next pitch he seems like he might throw the ball over the backstop. His style is uncomfortable to say the least.
The Rockies have come out of the gate extremely well. They have surprised everyone and they are even starting to garner national attention. With that in mind, one lethargic game isn't something that should earn the club ridicule or criticism. However, the Rockies must take the next step in proving that they are a good team.
In years past, one bad game would turn into two bad games, which would turn into a bad week and a lost road trip. The Rockies losing on Thursday isn't a big deal, but if they let their lethargy flow into the weekend, the club could suddenly find themselves staring at a 2-5 road trip, which could set the snowball in motion for the lack of confidence in winning on the road.
Despite facing Johnny Cueto on Friday night, the Rockies must get back to their baseball bashing ways. They don't have to hit a bunch of home runs, and they don't have to be perfect on the mound, but they have to find ways to scratch out runs and minimize big innings on the mound.
The Rockies must find a way to not let things get out of hand, despite being tired from the early stretch of games, along with two late night plane flights that follow getaway games at night.
It has been a very exciting early season for the Rockies. This team is proving to be much better than they were a year ago. The idea that they can play good baseball all season long is something that Rockies fans are desperate for after three years of really bad baseball. The talent is there, however, good teams have to have both talent, and the mental fortitude to withstand the marathon that is a baseball season.
The time is now for the Rockies to show that they are mentally tough and that they aren't intimidated when they are on the road. Friday night could be a pivotal game for the 2014 Rockies season. If they come out strong, they could take the next step. If they allow a lethargic, tired game to snowball into several nights in a row, the team could go in a different direction.
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