Saturday, April 9, 2011

Rock Solid Recrap: Rockies go cold in frigid Pittsburgh

Pirates 4, Rockies 3 (14) (boxscore)

Where do we begin tonight?

-- Well, how about with the lack of a clutch hit or timely contact. After Jason Giambi crushed a three-run first inning homer, the offense couldn't muster one single run. They had several chances, but when they needed to move a guy 90 feet, they couldn't get a baseball in play. When they needed a hit, it always found a Pittsburgh glove.

-- Carlos Gonzalez finished the night 0-for-7. That will never happen again in his career. Troy Tulowitzki finished 0-for-4 (three walks), but didn't see a lot to hit after Jason Giambi the game early for a pinch-runner.

-- Jorge De La Rosa was cruising right along for three innings until, once again, a blister problem popped up, altering his command and ending his night early. One has to assume he'll be pushed back a couple days this time as he deals with the reoccurring issues.

-- Dexter Fowler was caught wandering off first base after delivering a one out basehit in 11th. What should have been 1st and 3rd with one out quickly and senselessly became runner on 3rd with two outs.

-- Franklin Morales suffered another meltdown at a bad time for the Rockies. After retiring Jason Jaramillo, Morales forced Ronny Cedeno to pop up on the infield. Morales called for the ball, which no pitcher should ever do, and collided with Ty Wigginton. Morales caught the ball on the rebound, but was clearly rattled, walking Josh Rodriguez on four pitches.

After going 3-1 on Jose Tabata, Morales laid a fastball on a tee that Tabata bounced off the right field wall for the walk-off win.

-- It was also a bad night for manager Jim Tracy. Tracy removed Jason Giambi, who filled in last minute for the injured Todd Helton, for pinch-runner Ian Stewart in 6th. Stewart entered the game with the flu, and unfortunately only lasted three innings. It was clear Tracy wanted to improve the team's defense protecting a one run lead, which is smart, but with the circumstances surrounding Stewart's health, he left himself with no flexibility later in the game.

He probably should have gone to Lopez there and kept Ian for a pinch-hit attempt later on.

I also wasn't a fan of using Huston Street three innings. Low pitch count aside, it's April, and it's your closer that's spent time each of the last two seasons on the DL. Makes me nervous.

And finally, there are some in Pittsburgh who believe Clint Hurdle duped Tracy into pitching to Jose Tabata in the 14th by having Andrew McCutchen stand in the on deck circle one batter before his turn. The next due batter was actually the pitcher's spot currently occupied by Garrett Olson.

To me this sounds like a group of writers out to make Jim Tracy look stupid after his failed run in Pittsburgh. That said, there's little doubt who the better manager was on Friday night. It was the guy we used to have, not the guy we have now.