Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Rock Solid Recrap: Giants four-run first does in Rockies

Allowing your opponent to score first isn't necessarily a death blow to your chances of winning. We saw that in New York when the Mets scored first in all four games and the Rockies managed to win all four games.

However, allowing your opponent to jump out to 5-0 and 4-0 leads in the first inning on back-to-back nights really is pretty close to a death blow. Especially when your opponent is featuring talented starters like Tim Lincecum and Jonathan Sanchez.

That's the position the Rockies have found themselves in the past two nights, and because of that have now dropped the first two in this overhyped April series.

Giants 6, Rockies 3 (boxscore)

-- Ubaldo Jimenez came out of the gates rusty tonight, which was to be expected. By the time he got his command and velocity back closer to normal levels, it was already too late. The Giants had their four runs, which ultimately proved to be all they needed.

The question: Would the Rockies have been wise to have Ubaldo throw a rehab start?

My answer: Perhaps. But if he goes down to Tulsa or somewhere and throws six innings of two hit ball, it feels like you wasted a good outing. I really had no problem with the decision going in. That feeling didn't change based on this performance and result.

-- The best at-bats of the game once again belonged to Dexter Fowler. He doubled leading off the game against Jonathan Sanchez. A rocket that continued sailing over Nate Schierholtz's head in right. The Rockies would go six innings until their next hit, which was another Fowler double, driving in two. That big hit made possible by Jonathan Herrera drawing a nine pitch walk.

-- Carlos Gonzalez and Troy Tulowitzki were a combined 0-for-8 and are now 1-for-16 in the series. That explains a lot.

-- A lot of talk about Ryan Spilborghs on Twitter after his ugly 0-for-4 performance.

Among his poor at-bats tonight were a four pitch strikeout as the tying run in the 7th. He was way overmatched by former Rockie Ramon Ramirez that time. But I honestly disliked his first inning at-bat even more.

After Fowler's aforementioned double leading off, Spilborghs pulled a weak a grounder to third on a 2-1 fastball. No advancement of the runner. Didn't appear (though I can't read his mind) that he was planning on going the other way. Just a lousy approach and a lousy piece of hitting out of the two-spot.

I'm not going to base any thoughts on one night or one at-bat. My opinion on Spilborghs has always been consistent over the years. As a 5th outfielder that plays exclusively against lefties, he can help you. As a 4th outfielder that obviously has to take some starts and big at-bats against righties, you're doomed to nights like tonight.

I already forget who said it, but it was said that if not for his personality and popularity, Spilborghs is easily replacable. That's exactly the proper assessment. Without the personality and likeability, which I do appreciate, he's just another guy that makes his mark and then gets replaced by the next guy with equal or better talent.

Now, all of this said, I'm not starting a movement here to have Spilborghs released or anything like that. The topic was just a hot one tonight and I felt like blogging my two cents. Hopefully he finds some success in the coming days and makes the topic go away. If he doesn't, there are going to be some awkward and heated exchanges among Rockies fans. You can bet on that.

-- Duane Kuiper and Mike Krukow are pretty intelligent but mostly annoying announcers for San Francisco. Unfortunately only the annoying part rubs off on the vast majority of Giants fans I've interacted with over the years. I said majority, not all. They do have good fans. I know a couple.

Rockies have bad fans. I've seen one or two of those as well.

-- Jorge De La Rosa vs. Matt Cain tomorrow. Let's find a place to put those broomhandles that Giants fans are sure to be carrying.

Lineup Card: 4-19-11 Rockies vs Giants

If you're looking for Rockies game lineups and you don't feel like searching all over Twitter or waiting for MLB.com to post them, check back to Heaven & Helton about 60-90 minutes before first pitch. They should be here waiting for you.

Colorado Rockies (12-4)
  1. CF Dexter Fowler
  2. RF Ryan Spilborghs
  3. LF Carlos Gonzalez
  4. SS Troy Tulowitzki
  5. 1B Todd Helton
  6. 2B Jose Lopez
  7. 3B Ty Wigginton
  8. C   Chris Iannetta
  9. P    Ubaldo Jimenez
Ubaldo's back, and to make room on the roster Ian Stewart has officially been optioned to Colorado Springs. It's not a surprise to anyone. Ian Stewart needs to collect some at-bats. For some reason Jim Tracy wasn't willing to give him consistent at-bats, despite Jose Lopez and Ty Wigginton not exactly swinging hot bats, but hey, we'll see what happens here. 

San Francisco Giants (9-7)
  1. CF Aaron Rowand
  2. 2B Freddy Sanchez
  3. 1B Aubrey Huff
  4. C   Buster Posey
  5. 3B Pablo Sandoval
  6. LF Pat Burrell
  7. RF Nate Schierholtz
  8. SS Mike Fontenot
  9. P   Jonathan Sanchez

Rock Solid Recrap: Rockies play a stinker in opener with Giants

In the immortal words of Frank (@druidlove).

"Game stunk worse than a recrap."

He was at Coors Field for Monday's beatdown at the hands of the San Francisco Giants. I was still in Freeport, IL, yet I could smell the stench from here.

Giants 8, Rockies 1 (boxscore)

Let's start with the positives.

-- Clayton Mortensen threw six scoreless innings of relief. He allowed two hits, two walks, struck out only one, but induced eleven groundouts. This will not only serve as a positive in Monday's game, but a positive for the next 2-3 games as the core of the Rockies bullpen has been spared.

-- Tim Lincecum didn't throw a perfect game, no-hitter or a shutout.

And now the negatives.

-- Esmil Rogers entered Monday's game having gone 228 batters without allowing a home run. That was the longest active streak for any starting pitcher in the big leagues. Within eleven batters on Monday, he had allowed three.

Those included back-to-back two out homers in the first inning. Pat Burrell's was a devastating three-run shot that opened the deficit to 4-0. 1-0 to 4-0 in a four seconds. Nate Schierholtz followed that with a 467 foot bomb to the third deck. Freddy Sanchez then hit a two out solo home run in the second inning.

So again we have the same issue with Esmil. Inability to finish off hitters and innings in an authoritative manner. In past outings it may not have stood out as much because as I noted above, Esmil wasn't allowing home runs. But when some of those outs you can't get start landing in the those seats, or worse yet, coming around and scoring on a ball that landed in the seats, it stands out because the scoreboard lights up a lot faster.

It continues to be a work in progress with Esmil. He's in no danger of losing his starting spot at this point, nor should he be. But there needs to be an advancement in a positive direction in the next 4-6 weeks.

Whether it be Aaron Cook coming back, or the Rockies wanting to get a look at John Maine, or a guy like Greg Reynolds or Mortensen impressing someone in the front office enough to warrant an opportunity. The Rockies will look in another direction if they have to, because this team is built to win now, and they need to stay as strong as possible at all 25 spots.

-- The offense had a rough night. But honestly, when Lincecum is as good as he was on Monday, any offense would have a rough night. And as I've said several times, if your offense is going to have a bad night, there's no better night to have it then a night your pitching blows up. You'd hate to waste a brilliant outing or an offensive outburst, or both on two nights in a row.

That's how I cope with blowouts. Hopefully Tuesday brings much happier results and thoughts.