Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Extra innings torture for fans of the Colorado Rockies who want something to cheer for

If the Rockies were in the race, it would have been fun.
The Colorado Rockies had a game on Tuesday night.

Fans who were staring at the standings every night after the game back in April and May have forgotten that the baseball season is still going on. As far as they are concerned, some misguided emails from a pompous owner were sent out a couple of days after another disappointing season came to a conclusion.

Those who realized that the Rockies are indeed forced to play out the remainder of their schedule, were treated to an extra innings affair in which the club made several huge mistakes. None of those mistakes were bigger than in the top of the 10th inning, with runners on second and third base with one out and DJ LeMahieu at the plate with the game tied at three.

With Justin Morneau on third and one of the Rockies best contact hitters at the plate in LeMahieu, Walt Weiss called a rare suicide squeeze. With Morneau on his way from third, LeMahieu did everything that he could to get the bunt down, yet failed, resulting in Morneau being put-out and the Rockies needing a base hit to take the lead.

The Rockies blew a good, not great start from Jorge De La Rosa. Their ace gave them six strong innings, giving up only three runs. He made only one true mistake, a pitch left over the plate that Emilio Bonifacio drilled into the left field bleachers for a two-run, game tying home run.

The problem for the Rockies is that the only time it feels that they have a legitimate chance to win is the day in which De La Rosa takes the mound. If the offense can't score more than three runs in those starts, they aren't giving their ace much rope to work with. The reality is, even when he doesn't have his best stuff, De La Rosa gives the Rockies a chance to win every single time he takes the ball.

As the clock ticked towards 11 pm in the Mountain Time Zone, fans were forced to see if Rex Brothers could complete two consecutive scoreless innings. Already in shock after Brothers shut down the Cubs in the bottom of the 11th, following finishing the 10th after a clean 2/3 inning from Matt Belisle, for a brief moment, it seemed that anything might be possible.

Some games that head to extra innings require eyes to be glued to the TV. Strategy is taken to a new level. Managers are forced to make moves that are risky, but could have a big impact in the game. How that manager played his cards earlier in the game goes a long way for the team's chances in the late innings. However, Tuesday night was anything but that.

As the game headed to the 13th inning, it was abundantly clear that Tuesday's debacle was not the traditional good baseball game with two heavyweights trading blows and battling to the bitter end. Instead, Tuesday's affair was an exercise in futility between two really bad teams. The only team in Major League Baseball that makes the Rockies bullpen look like they were built for success is the Chicago Cubs.

With Dick Monfort in attendance, thoughts about what a great job the bullpen did on one idle night in Chicago almost certainly made the Rockies owner feel like Dan O'Dowd was once again correct. He had indeed built a great bullpen, it simply was taking until the end of July for the Rockies to get everything to come together. Unfortunately for the Rockies, it is too little too late...however, O'Dowd will almost certainly be on the phone with Monfort letting him know that a bullpen performance like Tuesday night's game is something that, with the deep talent coming through the system, will be a regular occurrence in the next few years for the Rockies.

That statement, of course, is dripping with sarcasm. However, with the cynicism that the Rockies organization has built up in the past three seasons, there is no reason to think that things are going to change any time soon.

The sad reality is that Rockies fans long for a chance to have even a late July extra inning game be something that they sit on the edge of their seat for. They long to be hoping for each pitch to go their way, for each call from the umpire makes to be in their team's favor. Instead, Rockies fans watch their Twitter timelines fill up with Broncos training camp information and get other things done around the house while Root Sports or KOA is on in the background.

The Rockies have nothing to play for, so when they play past midnight it instead just feels cruel that the die-hard fans, who are committed to seeing whether their team won before they call it a night and go to bed are only rewarded with the need for an extra cup of coffee the next morning at work instead of the excitement that their team is grinding out games in their attempt to make a run at the playoffs.

It could be so much fun for Rockies fans. It could be something that is worth staying awake for. Instead, it is simply torture. It is a reminder that sitting around watching and hoping that the Rockies win is simply an exercise in futility that will only change the number in the standings at the end of a season in which the Rockies will almost certainly find themselves in their familiar home in the National League West standings, the basement.

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  1. One thing I did notice is the lack of fundamentals that exists with the Rockies' lineup as a whole.

    There was another situation last night that was an obvious bunt situation. Man on first, no out, Rosario at the plate. I think it was the top of the 9th. Rosario doesn't even square around to bunt. I realize he is an RBI guy that should be hitting doubles to score runs and I realize that he has never sacrifice bunted in his major league career. If this were a team committed to winning that wouldn't matter. Rosario should have been up there to bunt.

    In the bottom of the 9th the Cubs faced a similar situation and their guy did get the bunt down successfully moved the runner to second. This was just before Blackmon's diving catch in center field.

    Now, neither situation resulted in a run but I noted the 9th inning as significant in that both teams are dogs**t terrible. One team executes fundamental baseball and one team doesn't....because their guy can't do it. I would like to see the Rockies as a whole organization have 1 through 9 in the lineup able and willing to drop a bunt down whenever the situation calls for it. This alone is a glaring example of the poor job the front office does of drafting and developing players and is a glaring example of the poor job the game day staff does of preparing the major league players to play.

    1. 1 through 9? So you are saying Tulowitzki should be bunting with a runner on in the 9th inning?

  2. I am saying he should be capable of bunting if it is needed. Although we all know Tulo rarely comes through with men on late in a game when the Rockies have the tying or go ahead runs on base. Tulo will pop up or roll over (ground to the shortstop) more often than not.

    My point is, the whole lineup should have bunting as a tool at their disposal should the situation require it. Ideally Tulo would earn his money and drive the ball in the the right center field gap.

  3. You are being to kind to suggest that Belisle had a 'clean inning'. He recorded two outs: One was a sacrifice bunt; the second out was made by Blackmon in center field on a brillant diving play, which prevented the winning run from scoring.

    About Rosario, he should be bunting on that at-bat in the 9th. It seems they pitch around Morneau or whoever is in front of Rosario when a clutch hit is needed. True to form, Rosario hit into a DP ending the scoring chance.

  4. ... and Tyler "the Pumpkin" Matzek.

    Everyone should have know about this, and it happened for those still watching the game. Tyler Matzek is a pitching bust who was on his last gasp with the organization this Spring. Somehow he managed to put together a mediocre AAA showing, then was called up due to extreme emergency including lack of better options.

    At the MLB level he's shown he's a bubble 5th starter. That's his ceiling and a fleeting one until he turns back into a pumpkin. Last night he walked to the mound, dropped his britches and laid a mighty deuce. There was no hiding, no question, no turnaround, no club propaganda anymore. He was revealed stark naked so everyone could see what kind of pitcher he is and what we can expect from him once the sprayed on, new-pitcher smell wears off. He's poo and those who aren't distracted by the temporary never forgot his smell of the last several years.

  5. The whole Colorado Rockies organization from Owner, to General Manager, to Geivett, to Scouts, to Manager, to Coaches, are a disgrace to baseball. Don't blame the players, most of them belong in Class A ball. TOTALLY DISGUSTING. WORST RECORD IN BASEBALL. I ANOTHER FINISH IN LAST PLACE. STOP GOING TO GAMES, BOYCOTT. Even the TV announcers are terrible. All they talk about is their playing days. WHO CARES. I watch on computer and listen to the other teams commentators, because they have more to say about Rockies players than ROOT sports guys we have do. They are a joke. This organization has become as popular as the US Congress 12% approval rating. I was a relief pitcher in pro baseball once, and the quality of pitching the Rockies have shown, would have been released, not even acceptable for Class A ball, and people pay major league prices for their tickets. Go watch any minor league game, it's more fun and everything is fairly priced.