Thursday, June 30, 2011

Rock Solid Recrap: Rockies lose series to AL version of themselves

If the Rockies fired Jim Tracy tonight, it wouldn't fix everything - and very likely wouldn't fix anything - but I sure wouldn't be upset or angry. 

It's easy to say he's not the Rockies only problem or their biggest problem. That's the truth. But he certainly is a big problem. A problem that needs to be eliminated eventually. 

He was awful today. Completely overmanaged a very winnable game, helping turn it into a disaster. He used three pitches to get through the seventh, which I guess was necessary after Rafael Betancourt allowed the lead-off home run to Gordon Beckham? Or something.

He did allow Betancourt to face one more hitter, whom he retied, but then got the hook in favor of Rex Brothers. Personally, I would try to have a little more faith in Raffy. You know? You've demoted him to the 7th, which I can't argue with. But with a three-run, how can he regain his confidence getting yanked after one mistake?

Brothers came in and struggled again, which is totally on him. He needs to lock that down, but he didn't, so then we go to Matt Belisle. Belisle needs only one pitch to get the Rockies out of the jam.

We move to the 8th. Belisle was not pinch-hit for, he was just removed for Matt Lindstrom. After one pitch. Sure it was his third day in a row, but if he's only good for one pitch, why even use him? Now there's a really good chance he can't go tomorrow. And now you've burned almost all of your bullpen. Which mattered quite a bit because Matt Lindstrom allowed the tying runs in the 8th.

Four pitchers to get six outs and three runs score. All of this when your bullpen is already taxed.

Not very well thought out. Who's available tomorrow? Matt Reynolds and Matt Lindstrom? Anyone else?

And then in the 8th, after Charlie Blackmon reaches with a lead-off single, he sac bunts with Matt Pagnozzi. That's fine. But with Jason Giambi available on the bench, he goes to Eric freaking Young to pinch-hit. Rally. Killed.

That was the last Rockies offensive threat. Jason Giambi never saw a pitch.

So he manages one inning like Game 7 of the World Series. The next inning he's using Eric Young in a BIG pinch-hit spot. He's so freaking all over the place with his thought process it's terrifying. When your manager sets that tone, it's easy to see how the players follow suit. It really is. But they still have to overcome that and be better. No way I'll deny that.

White Sox 6, Rockies 4 (10) (boxscore)

Aaron Cook: Let's be honest about this. If he was facing the Yankees or Tigers again today, he wouldn't have lasted three innings. There's no way. Ozzie Guillen used his Sunday lineup, obviously looking ahead to weekend series with the Cubs, so Cook really benefitted from that early when he was struggling. But then Cook got on somewhat of a roll, working through six innings while allowing only one run.

At 90 pitches, the argument could have been made to let him pitch the 7th. I crap you not. I would not have allowed him to continue, so I'm glad Jim Tracy didn't push him. But the argument could be made. Baseball is weird like that.

Rex Brothers: Has very serious command issues that remind me of Franklin Morales. Difference is, and this may not last, he doesn't give up solid contact very often. So he can pitch around the wildness a little more effectively, but it leaves you wondering how good he can/will be if he does clean up the command part.

Offense: Failed again. No way around that either. First inning three-run home from Tulowitzki and they mailed it from there. That's not on Jim Tracy. The guys in this lineup have to start taking pride in themselves and step it up. Soon. Real soon.

Which leads to...

Mark Ellis: The Rockies acquired Mark Ellis from the Oakland A's for Bruce Billings and a player to be named later. Dan O'Dowd will hope Ellis provides a little stability at a second base position that has become a bit of a revolving door in recent weeks, with little offensive production to show for it. That's an especially big problem when Jim Tracy insists on his 2B hitting second all the time, no matter who's there.

That's where Ellis will slot in. He's hitting only .217 in 217 at-bats. I appreciate the symmetry, but he's not a real fit there. It's tough to be optimistic he'll improve the position offensively. Defensively, definitely. He's a really strong second baseman that will soildify the infield defense. But the Rockeis are counting on offense, so it'll be interesting to see how it plays out.

They're only paying him $1 million of the $3 million he's owed, so it's not a huge risk financially, but certainly limits what they can do going forward.

Overall: What can you say? This team is average at best, and probably a bit below average in reality. If they don't believe it or like hearing it, they better do something about it. Starting by dominating the Royals.


Anna said...

When we bring new blood in, whether it is from AAA or outside, it seems they thrive only a short period and then retreat. Hmmm, sounds like something systemic in the Rockies system.