The frustrations keep building and building for the Rockies. The same formula has come together to beat them three days in a row. Terrific starting pitching. Offense fails to deliver the game-changing hit. Bullpen bends and finally breaks in the 9th inning.
Oh, and Jim Tracy over manages the bullpen, makes strange pinch-hitting decisions, and generally looks confused from the 6th inning on.
Yeah, same formula.
Giants 3, Rockies 2 (boxscore)
But let me get this out of the way first.
Clayton Mortensen: I salute you. You were fantastic. Your stuff was excellent, and you brought a nice calm and focus to the mound that we weren't getting from Esmil Rogers in the 5th spot.
I haven't seen a lot of you throughout your professional career, but you strike me as a guy that doesn't get rattled easily, and stays on the attack even when things go wrong behind you or when you're facing a tough situation.I admire the heck out of that. Hope to see a lot more of you going forward.
Now back to your regularly scheduled recrap.
-- 1-for-9 with RISP. Bleh.
-- Career advice for Ian Stewart: Take a step back away from the plate and swing the bat. You're getting beat by the same pitch over and over and it's ridiculous. Adjust. Try to be better. That's all I'm asking. Try.
-- Chris Iannetta can still be so maddening. Still walks a lot. Walks are good. Still strikes out looking a lot with RISP. That's not good. Be that difference maker! You watch tomorrow, Jose Morales won't be afraid to swing with RISP, and I bet he'll drive in another run.
-- 2-2 game, Matt Belisle starts the 7th inning by retiring Aaron Roward and Freddy Sanchez. On cue, here come Jim Tracy. Why? Because he's afraid Belisle can't retire Mike Fontenot.
Burn Belisle, bright in Matt Reynolds. What happens, Fontenot doubles. That was actually fortunate because it allowed them to walk Buster Posey and Reynolds retired Aubrey Huff, but seriously, why can't Belisle finish that inning?
Now you're down two pitchers. It's over managing. You're managing yourself into a position where guess what, the game is on the line and you're using Felipe Paulino again. If's awful.
And then Jim Tracy says this afterwards (via @Troy Renck).
I asked Tracy about the status of Paulino and Morales. He said that they have to pitch in those situations, that's their role.
Yeah, because Tracy manages himself into a corner. He could have at least Reynolds available to him tonight if he simply let Belisle finish his inning. Now we're in the same position we were last year where bad matchups late in the game beat us, and relievers are unavailable a couple times a week because Tracy overuses them.
Matt Lindstrom has a sore arm. It's no wonder. Tracy says it's because he's transitioning from closer, where he never had to warm up so frequently. That may be true to some extent, but I think it's more an adjustment to pitching for Jim Tracy, where everybody warms up every day and pitches to two hitters.
He doesn't learn from his past.
Could I do a better job managing the team? Of course not. But I can tell you if I did it long enough and was afforded the opportunities Jim Tracy has been, I would learn from my mistakes and be better as I went along. Jim Tracy has never improved. He's the same manager he was in LA and then Pittsburgh. Because of that, I believe he's the biggest weakness the Rockies have.
I truly believe that.
And the whole sac bunt with Dexter Fowler thing. That's mostly on Fowler. While I didn't necessarily agree with the bunting there, I understood why he called for the it and I understand that Dexter failed. But it probably would have been smarter to take the bunt off after two strikes.
I don't know why he refused to pinch-hit for Ryan Spilborghs in the 7th with RISP against a righty. He's done that 3-4 times now in Spilborghs starts. It's failed every time. He had the roster flexibility to make it work. Heck, Seth Smith for Spilly straight up. Why not? If you're going to be so meticulous with your bullpen, why not try it once with your pinch-hitters? Might actually win you a game one time.
Felipe Paulino is a failed experiment for Dan O'Dowd. He thought he could take a hard-throwing #5 starter and turn him into a late-inning power reliever and it's just not happening. I honestly think it's time to pull the plug.
But aside from all that I still feel good about the team overall. I'm confident the offense will come around. I'm confident the starting pitching will stay strong and may even improve with Ubaldo and Mortensen coming on. The bullpen can be fixed with a tweak or two. You hope Tracy doesn't run the key guys into the ground. And you hope to have an extended stretch soon where Tracy can sit back and let the players do the work.