Saturday, July 24, 2010

Rock Solid Recrap: The Large Pink Elephant

Can we finally acknowledge him?

Can we finally say Ubaldo Jimenez has lost his luster, or at least admit he's been regressing with each start for about six weeks? That his mechanics are getting more and more out of whack. That his confidence is seemingly sinking with each ball put in play.

Wouldn't it be silly and irresponsible to not acknowledge all that?

Ubaldo was historically untouchable for the first 2 1/2 months of this season. Maybe too untouchable. Maybe he was so good short-tern, that'll be bad for him long-term. Because it seems like once a couple teams touched him up for a few runs, he regressed back to the old maddening Ubaldo.

You remember him, don't you? The Ubaldo that doesn't work out of jams. The Ubaldo that compounds jams with furious panic and fear of contact. The Ubaldo that tries to strike every batter out on strike one. The Ubaldo with painfully little composure.

We never wanted to see that Ubaldo again.

A large part of my excitement over his early season dominance was that it appeared he turned the corner in his development. It seemed like we were finally seeing an Ubaldo that was confident enough in himself and his ability that any mark against him wouldn't send him into a downward spiral. That he had gained the mental toughness to fight through a jam to make that one quality pitch needed.

That is all seemingly undone now. In the words of radio man Jack Corrigan... you can kiss it good-bye.

Now you have to wonder if you're back to square one with him mentally. You know physically his stuff is off the charts crazy good, but how far gone is he mentally? And how do you reel him back in?

By the way, I know Troy Renck likes to argue this is mostly a physical issue. I don't think so. To me it's a clear mental issue, leading to poor mechanics, which is a physical issue, which leads to less confidence, which is another mental issue, and it just keeps compounding itself and getting uglier.

Ultimately it's a mental issue. Anything physical is born directly out of that fact.

This is truly a messy situation for the Rockies. This is their ace and their guy they rely on (too much) to carry the load and keep them afloat. He seriously did it all by himself for 10 weeks. Now that he can't do it anymore, what becomes of this team?

I don't think we're going to like the answer to that question.

I don't want to hear about heat and humidity either. If the Rockies can't play through that, then what the hell are we doing considering them contenders? Man up.

If these guys can't play without their leaders (Tulo & Helton) in the dugout, then what the hell are we doing considering them contenders?

If the Jim Tracy, Don Baylor and Bob Apodaca can't start finding solutions to problems that have been apparent all season, what the hell are we doing considering them contenders?


Jeff Francis vs JA Happ

Hey Jeff. Guess what? Pressure's all on you again.  Lots of luck.

Lineup Card: Rockies @ Phillies

Rockies Lineup (51-45)

  • RF  Spilborghs
  • 2B  Herrera
  • CF  Gonzalez
  • LF  Smith
  • 3B  Stewart
  • C    Iannetta
  • 1B  Hawpe
  • SS  Barmes
  • P    Jimenez
Day 2 of the Brad Hawpe at 1B experiment comes exactly a week later.  Probably not enough time gone by for him to forget anything important.  

Phillies Lineup (50-46)
  • SS  Rollins
  • 2B  Polanco
  • LF  Ibanez
  • 1B  Howard
  • RF  Werth
  • CF  Victorino
  • 3B   Dobbs
  • C    Schneider
  • P     Kendrick