Friday, September 16, 2011

Lackluster Rercap: Chacin falters, Panda cycles, things be bad

September baseball can be a lot of different things: Exciting, compelling, nerve-wracking, encouraging are some of the more positive ones.

None of those would describe the Colorado Rockies this September. We're more in the horrendous, disturbing, fundamentally challenged and embarrassing category.

Some of that is due to injury. Too much of it is due to the Rockies not having enough baseball players playing up to their potential.

Giants 8, Rockies 5 (boxscore)

Unfortunately, one of the first guys we have to list when talking about players not performing to potential is Jhoulys Chacin. Thursday was another tough night for him, and it comes again against one of the weakest offenses in the league in San Francisco. Chacin has had a good history against the Giants, but much like we've seen from him this season, he comes up short in a matchup he should dominate.

His line: 5 2/3 IP, 9 H, 7 R (4 ER), 4 BB, 1 K

The four walks and only strikeout are very troubling. You can point out that three of the runs he allowed were unearned. That would be correct, but he also walked a couple guys and allowed a hit to Ryan Vogelsong leading up to those errors. And then he failed to pitch around them. That's on him.

Then later in the game he allowed a double to Vogelsong, and himself botched a rundown when he inexplicably lobbed a throw behind the base runner, who easily moved up to third on a groundball to the pitcher. It was ugly.

I'm still encouraging patience with Chacin. But there's no doubt he needs to take steps forward next season. Some of them of physically, but most of them mentally. And he needs to take those steps early so this team isn't buried out of the gate.

-- Tommy Field had a nice game at the plate, but a not so pretty one in the field. All due respect to Jonathan Herrera, who undoubtedly can play shortstop, the Rockies need to upgrade their bench, specifically with a guy who can man second and short.

Let's face it, Tulowitzki has struggled to stay healthy since his rookie season. For this team to not fall of the map when he goes down, they need a better option to turn to. Using Herrera there wouldn't be a big deal at all if Ian Stewart was here playing well and you knew you could on Seth Smith every day. That's not happening. That downgrades the lineup and makes upgrades elsewhere necessary.

-- The American League called. They don't want Ty Wigginton back.

-- Matt Reynolds has been an overall disappointment this season. He has had stellar stretches. Not overlooking those, but the consistency hasn't been there, and the rough stretches have been especially rough.

Rex Brothers is a roster lock next season. Reynolds will be in the mix. But expect another lefty or two to be in camp competing. The caliber of those lefties will indicate the Rockies confidence in Reynolds.

Final thought

Pablo Sandonval hit for the cycle entirely against Chacin. That doesn't happen too often. In fact, the last cycle completed against one pitcher happened in 1999 when Chris Singleton of the White Sox did it against Jeff Suppan, then of the Royals.

Only fitting something so unique and bad would happen against the Rockies. Story of 2011.