Saturday, May 7, 2011

Rock Solid Recrap: A positively maddening loss

I sneak the word positively in there because there was a glaring positive in an otherwise painful and maddening loss to the San Francisco Giants.

The postive was Ubaldo Jimenez.

I understand he still has work to do on getting his mechanics in order, and I think we'll all agree we expect more from Jimenez going forward, but just to see him hitting the high 90s on the gun and throwing a devasting splitter was a HUGE step up from where he's been.

It's encouraging. Maybe not at an overwhelming "no doubt Ubaldo is back" level, but at an "I'm pretty sure he's not hurt" comforting type level.

His next start -- especially after throwing 118 pitches in this one -- will be very interesting to evaluate. It definitely feels like it could go either way on a start-to-start basis, but I'm hopeful this game will be the foundation he starts building from.

Giants 4, Rockies 3 (boxscore)

Not so comforting is the way the Rockies let another possible win slip right through their fingers late. Of course when these types of losses occur, people like to point fingers. When they happen on back-to-back nights, people will get downright hysterical. That's kinda where we are now.

A lot of people are angered and frustrated by the offense. Rightfully so.

Others think the bullpen is turning into a weakness before our very eyes. I understand the frustration, but let's try to be realistic. If Troy Tulowitzki and Carlos Gonzalez can each go through extended slumps throughout the course of a season, I think it's normal and acceptable for a reliever to have a hiccup every now and then.

They're human. It's bound to happen. That it happened on back-to-back nights with Huston Street and Rafael Betancourt is just unfortunate timing.

Is Felipe Paulino bad? He has been, yes. But he was honestly the victim of terrible luck on Friday. He made a terrific pitch down and away to Cody Ross that he poked down the line for a double. He owned Aaron Roward, as most pitches do. And that game-winning hit by Freddy Sanchez was another excellent pitch down that was pounded into the ground and somehow found a hole.

Seriously, you can dislike Paulino for a handful of failures this season. but it's difficult for me personally to beat him up over this one.

Now, you can pound the offense all you want. The lack of timely hits. The lack of situational hitting. The lack of good at-bats from the 6th inning on is staggering and disturbing. There's no doubt it has cost the team a chance to win 4-5 more games over the past two weeks.

But again, this poor stretch isn't anything different than what we've seen in previous years. They will come out of it. They will catch fire. And because they've won so many games early, in addtion to every other team in the NL West struggling offensively just as much or more, they will not find themselves digging out of a massive hole.

In fact, they may not be in a hole at all.

It's important to remember that. And it's important to know the past two days don't define who these Rockies are. Maybe the first three weeks didn't either, but don't think for a second these last two days are the Rockies we should expect the next five months.