Ugly Road Trip for Colorado Leaves Rox Reeling
Well, that was and awful road trip. Two wins and nine losses is not the way to make a playoff run.
Not only did the losses mount on this road trip, but it's the way the losses came that tear the hearts out of Rockies fans. A walk-off homer, a walk-off single, a 3-4 loss on Sunday after being up 3-2, and the game ending with Ian Stewart striking out LOOKING with runners in scoring position, as well as the winning run coming on a wild pitch where Rockies pitcher Rafael Betencourt failed to cover home plate.
It was a sloppy and heartless display of baseball this week by the Rockies. Where does that leave them? Fourth place in the NL West at 8 games behind the Division leading Padres, and fifth place in the NL Wild Card at 5 games behind the division rival San Francisco Giants. The Los Angeles Dodgers are 2 games ahead of the Rockies as well.
So, was that the season? Are the Rockies done?
In a word: NO. There are still 63 games left in the season to play. That’s a full 1/3 of the season. However, being behind so many teams in both the Wild Card and the Division makes the hill pretty steep to climb. Every team ahead becomes a multiplier in how many games a team is REALLY behind.
Teams don’t usually fall out of contention with one bad streak. They usually fall out of contention as the number of games left to make up ground get smaller, and smaller. The smaller the number of games left, the higher the winning percentage has to be to make up ground on teams ahead of them.
The Rox return to Coors Field with a home stand against the Pittsburgh Pirates and Chicago Cubs. The Rockies will get a bounce from being back home. They should get a bounce from playing beatable teams like the Pirates and the Cubs.
However, even dead cats bounce.
This team has yet to show in 2/3 of a season, what it takes to win.
They have yet to play full baseball game with solid starting pitching, solid relief pitching, solid defense, and good timely hitting. This team has done all of that individually in stretches, but not all at once for any length of time. Now Rockies fans will be hoping this team shows some heart, but all those areas together and start winning games.
Bottom line: the only way the Rockies are going to gain ground.win more games than the other guys.
Personally, I think this next week will give Rockies fans false hope, as ultimately this team is NOT talented enough to make the playoffs. That’s right, I finally said it. It’s not as talented as everyone thinks it is. They have no first baseman, no right fielder, and their center fielder and lead-off hitter can’t get on base and is totally lost being a switch hitter. And this is before you get to their third baseman Ian Stewart, who strikes out almost a full third of the time! (K percentage 2010: 28.9) and a Win Probability/Clutch rating of -.90 which is sadly embarrassing.
A stat I find especially telling is the Rockies team batting WAR for the season is only 10.0. Only two teams in the NL are worse: the Pirates and the Astros! That’s not the company the Rockies need to be in. I’m not a big fan of WAR, as I think it’s pretty subjective, but any stat that says your team is in a group that includes the Astros and Pirates is pretty telling.
One of the Rockies biggest problems is not having a steady lineup. This is due to the fact the Rockies have had a string of injuries to their front line players, but also some starters simply haven’t produced. But the real reason the Rockies haven’t had a stable lineup is due to the micro-managing and tinkering of manager Jim Tracy. I don’t even think that at this point he knows who his best players are or who is producing, or who to place in what spot either in the field or in the lineup. It looks to me like Tracy picks names out of a hat.
On the bright side, the Rockies will get Troy Tulowitzki back from the DL on Tuesday. Hopefully Clint Barmes will move to the bench where he belongs, and the Rockies continue to play Jonathan Herrera at second.
Barmes for the record did what is typical of Barmes, went on an amazing hot streak for a few weeks, only to totally lose it and go completely ice cold, looking foolish at the plate. Barmes is now batting just .185 over the last 14 days. His performance now screams backup player. Barmes is decent to even good over short periods of time, but he’s too streaky to be an everyday player. Hopefully the next time he goes crazy hot, I won’t buy into it being something real, like I did earlier when I said Barmes should be starting at third over Stewart.
Getting Tulo back will help. But is it too little, too late for the Rockies?
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