The Rockies played some of their best baseball offensively of the season yesterday sweeping a Memorial Day doubleheader against the Astros. I mean it’s only the Astros, but coming into this series they have a better record (3 games below .500) than the Rockies(12 games below .500). But as with any other sport, good teams beat the teams they’re supposed to beat. Fowler of course had a monstrous day going 7 for 9 in both games with 3 RBIs and the game winning hit in the second game. Pacheco, Tulowitzki, Gonzalez, Fowler and Rosario carried the team in the first game going 12 for 23 with 7 RBIs.
If the Rockies have any hope of making any type of run this season it’s obvious that the offense will have to carry load for this team like they did in the first game yesterday. It can’t just be one or two players to do it night in and night out. Starting pitching is and will continue to be suspect this season and for seasons to come until Alex White, Christian Friedrich and others mature and make progress.
Currently 13 games out in the NL West the Rockies should concentrate on what they are most able to control and that’s playing good baseball as they’ve shown over the last 5 games and keep pace with the D’backs who are only 2.5 games ahead of the Rockies in 3rd then worry about catching the second place Giants.
The Rockies have a well deserved day off today and will continue their series with the Astros on Wednesday with Christian Friedrich(2-1, 5.09) taking the mound against Lucas Harrell(4-3, 3.72) for the Astros.
Despite the Rockies 7-0 shutout loss today in their home opener to Barry Zito and the Giants, their fans got a big win today thanks to Governor Hickenlooper. Hickenlooper this morning signed the bill making the Rockies vanity plates a reality, according to the Huffington Post. The plates wont come cheap at first. A $50 one time fee, plus a $52.80 donation annually. Plates wont be available until January 1st 2013. Complete story from the Huffington Post here.
In a season where Lodo Magic has been in short supply, Dexter Fowler, Carlos Gonzalez and Jason Giambi each gave the team a boost of it Monday night at Coors Field. Just when you figured the Rockies were abiding by the usual endlessly season script of “coming close but not close enough to win” or the other script of “not taking care of business at home”, the Rockies found away to finally come out on top in the end, for what has only been it seems a handful of times this season.
There was an emotional lift from this team that we usually dont see from the Rockies throughout a season. Honestly something I would like to see more of. EY Jr’s emotions after being called out on a close play at first base late in the game for example. I think if the fans saw more emotion like that from this team then they could more easily get behind them and not feel like the players are just up there going through the motions.
It was an exciting finish to a ballgame that got no love on Sports Center last night. Which all belonged to Jim Thome reaching career homerun #600. Congrats to Thome for reaching that milestone.
Now if only the Rockies can build off last night’s win and have a winning homestand, things possibly could begin to look more interesting in the NL West. The Giants as of late are struggling winning 4 of their last 10, while the D’backs have won 7 of their last 10, including 6 in a row. I’m not saying we can catch the D’backs, but a really good record at Coors Field over these next 8 games, can become a start. And with the Marlins, Dodgers and Astros in town this week, the underachieving Rockies can do it if they want to.
For the Miami Herald’s take on the Marlins loss last night from Herald writer Clark Spencer. Click here.
This isn’t just to reference the monsoon of rain (3 inches) we received here in the Denver metro area Thursday during the evening rush hour commute, but to also reference the current state of the Rockies in 2011. First it was the sprinkling of injuries within the last week. Carlos Gonzalez injures his wrist, then Troy Tulowitzki with the quad, neither of who has played in the series against the Braves. Then yesterday recent call-up and quick fan favorite outfielder Charlie Blackmon goes down with a broken left foot. Did I mention the injured pride of Aaron Cook, who can’t seem to find the strike zone or a win with a Garmin GPS device.
Then there is the downpour of recent losses, currently sitting at 5 straight losses and 7 of their last 9 games. Dont be surprised if the Nationals dont sweep the Rockies as well. The Rockies are currently 8.5 games behind the NL West division leading Giants and 6.5 back of the 2nd place D’backs.
Let’s face it, though I hate to say it, the Rockies are done. Now that is the realist in me of course, but there is the hopelessly optimistic side of me, that thinks, believes and at times just knows in my gut that the Rockies can turn this thing around. But I am sick and tired of this team always wanting to be the miracle comeback team, like they were in 2007. You can’t always win games playing from behind, let alone win a divsion and that’s what I feel this team likes to maybe perceive itself as, the “eternal underdog”. “There’s no need to fear, Underdog is here!” Last I checked Underdog was a fictional cartoon but the Rockies are certainly playing that way as of late. As if because nobody in baseball is focusing on them in the media, that they can suddenly spring a surprise on teams and suddenly have teams take notice. Wanna make teams take notice, then start winning ballgames, start playing smart baseball, start with a “take no prisoners” attitude and beat the teams, you’re supposed to beat and better yet kick the ass of teams who are perceived to be the bigger badder teams of major league baseball. It begins with believing that you are and can be the team that you want to be and playing hard each and every game of a 162 game season. No more feeling sorry, or feeling like the underdogs. If you want to win the division, then dammit Rockies you have to go out and take it! No one is going to just give you the division, certainly not the Giants! Stop believing that the getting the NL Wildcard is “good enough”, because as a fan and someone who believes in the talent on this team, it’s not good enough. I’m stepping down off my pedestal now.
It’s all yours Rockies Nation, what’s your take?
Remember back to last season when fans and the media alike thought the Rockies couldnt hit and many were calling for then hitting coach Don Baylor to be fired? Well I have to say that I am not hearing or reading the same sentiment this season towards Carney Lansford as the Rockies seem to be worse off so far this season offensively.
Todd Helton (.306)has been the only Rockie all season to remain consistent at the plate and one of two Rockies batting over .300. The other being Seth Smith is currently batting .312. The next player closest to .300 is Jonathan Herrera with a .279 average and only 2 more players with a .250 average or better in Amezaga (.250) and Gonzalez (.251).
Since the two game sweep of the Giants (May 16-17), the Rockies have lost 6 of their last 8 games, and 4 of those 6 losses were 1 run games. The Rockies are ranked 23rd out of 30 teams in batting average with a team average of .242. The Dodgers(17th), D’backs(20th), and Giants(21st) each rank higher. Putting that in greater perspective with the Rockies who are also ranked 9th in runs scored while the Dodgers(26th), Padres(28th), and Giants(29th) are each ranked in the bottom 5 of the same category.
The Rockies need to right the ship offensively, no doubt. We all know that. The players, coaching staff, fans, media, etc. We all know that. But here is the good thing. It’s still only May. Sure the Rockies are in third place today, but we are talking about only by a half a game and 3 games behind the Giants who are in first. So what I am saying is….There is no need to hit the panic button! Yes we’re frustrated at how the team has played this month, but every team each season goes through a slump of some kind. Ours just happens to be alot longer than it should be.
The Rockies get back at it tonight with Clayton Mortensen(1-1, 2.17) against Micah Owings(0-0, 5.06).
For the second game in a row, Carlos Gonzalez has come up huge against the defending champion San Francisco Giants. Cargo’s only hit of the game drove in a pair of runs to give the Rockies the lead and ultimately the win. This on the back of last night’s 3 run homer late in the game to boost the Rockies to victory. Ubaldo Jimenez still winless on the season, looked solid with a 7 strikeout, 1 walk performance through 7 innings on 116 pitches. So there is reason for greater optimism for his next start. Matt Belisle got his 4th win of the season at 4-2 and Huston Street got his 14th save on another superb outing to back up Monday night’s save opportunity.
Today’s win also give the Rockies back their hold on first place in the NL West and their first series win since April 25th and 26th against the Cubs at Wrigley and their first series sweep since April 11th-14th against the Mets at Citi Field. This gives the Rockies some momentum as they head out on the road for a 2 game series against the Phillies, then a 3 game series against the Brewers.
The Rockies have the day off today coming after yesterday’s postponement due to inclement weather against the D’backs. I’ve never really agreed with the idea of starting the season, playing a 3 game series then the team having a day off. Coming out of spring training teams should play at least a week before having a day off. Unfortunately for the Rockies the extra day off before the Dodgers series means the Rockies cant get into any sort of groove going into the series. While the Dodgers have 4 games under their belt already after a 7-5 victory over the Giants on Sunday night.
HOT and NOT’S – A brief look at who’s hot and who’s not coming into this series.
HOT LIST – DODGERS
Matt Kemp – 5 for 12 against the Giants, a .533 on base percentage, .417 batting average, 4 runs scored, and 3 RBIs.
Clayton Kershaw – 1-0, 0.00 ERA through 7 innings.
Jonathan Broxton – 3 saves in as many appearances.
NOT LIST – DODGERS
James Loney – 2 for 15 against the Giants with a .133 batting average
HOT LIST – ROCKIES
Chris Iannetta – 3 for 6 against the D’backs, 3 runs scored, .625 on base percentage, .833 slugging percentage
Carlos Gonzalez – 4 for 9 against D’backs, 5 total bases, .556 slugging percentage.
NOT LIST – ROCKIES
Troy Tulowitzki – 0 for 8 through first two games.
Jhoulys Chacin (0-0) will go up against Clayton Kershaw (1-0) Tuesday evening at Coors Field, game time 6:10pm
EXTRA BASES – The Denver Post this morning reports that a Major League Baseball “Authenticator” will be on hand at each Rockies home game to monitor baseballs from the humidor to the game. Story here. I guess the crying sessions the Giants put up last season got them the result they somewhat desired.
Also Troy Renck of the Denver Post writes about catcher Chris Iannetta taking ownership of the catcher’s position. Honestly Iannetta had no other choice. Time will tell as the season moves along. Iannetta who batted .197 last season is currently batting .500, going 3 for 6 in the teams first two games of 2011. Last season after the first two games of the season Iannetta went 0 for 6.
Maybe it’s time to give credit to the Rox new hitting coach Carney Lansford or maybe, just maybe Iannetta is channeling Yankees catcher Thurman Munson with his new mustache and hair growth. Tell me I’m not the only person who thought upon seeing Iannetta’s new look this season that he didnt remind you right away of Thurman Munson. If channeling Munson improves Iannetta’s batting average this season, I’m all for it! Munson who also played catcher was a lifetime .292 hitter over 11 seasons with the Yankees before a tragic plane accident took his life in 1979.