Sunday, May 29, 2011

Rock Solid Recrap: Dreadful homestand concludes

The Rockies scored 41 runs on their seven game homestand!!! That's like an average of six runs per game! 

Not bad, huh?

Well, 27 of those came in the TWO wins. The other 14 came in the FIVE losses.

Nope, not bad. More like sad. And absolutely maddening.

Cardinals 4, Rockies 3 (boxscore

-- Jhoulys Chacin padded his team lead for home runs allowed when Jon Jay and Colby Rasmus took him yard. That's nine on the season and definitely a problem. Even more so when he walks the guy directly in front of the home run, as he did on Jay's in the first.

The Rasmus solo homer was also frustrating because it came right after the offense pushed across a run with a double, bunt and sacrifice fly. But Chacin still did a nice job of holding the Cardinals in check. That's a great offense and holding them to four with Kyle Lohse opposing you should set you up well.

-- Matt Reynolds, Matt Lindstrom and Rafael Betancourt were nearly untouchable in three innings of scoreless relief. Another day at the office for Reynolds and Lindstrom. Another positive step towards being himself again for Betancourt.

-- Ty Wigginton, Ryan Spilborghs and Chris Iannetta reached base a total of eight times. You would think that would really spark another offensive outburst. Not so much.

-- You know, it would be easy to nitpick Jim Tracy today.

Bases loaded, no outs, down by two in the 7th. Tracy pulls pinch-hitter Seth Smith off the on-deck circle and plays the Jason Giambi card, which obviously means he's looking for the four-run homer. Of course that's not a situation where a grand slam is necessary. A basehit or productive out would be very helpful, which Seth Smith has a better chance of providing, but Tracy has his way of doing things.

Of course Jason Giambi struck out and Eric Young lined into a double play. Rally killed.

Next inning, Tracy allows Ty Wigginton to hit for himself against the St. Louis closer, Fernando Salas, with two on and two out. He struck out on three sliders. May have been a good spot for Smith there as well. Especially when you have Chris Nelson and Jonathan Herrera available to play third.

Then Seth Smith strikes out as the tying run in the ninth, so who knows what the right call is in each situation. I would have definitely set things up differently, but sometimes it just is what it is. And what it is is the players need to have better at-bats.

Especially Carlos Gonzalez in the 9th inning. His entire mindset was to swing away at anything close. Turned himself into an easy final out of the game.

-- Eric Young had another nice game by the way. He knocked in two of the Rockies three runs.

-- Dexter Fowler still struggles with those liners directly at him. Gap-to-gap, he's still terrific. But he needs to read and track those liners a lot better. It's cost him several times.

I linked to Troy Renck's (Rock-Hard decisions at hand) piece earlier. I'll mention it again here. Renck really did a great job with this, but I specifically enjoyed this paragraph...

And finally, end the shock theater with bunts and baserunning. It's alarming how bad the Rockies have been at basic fundamentals, especially since they practice them as much as any team in baseball. Simply put, the Rockies can't win when they don't hit. They have proved incapable of playing small ball.

He had a lot more to say. I'm sure most Rockies fans have read it already. But even non-Rockies fans can get a good feel for the Rockies struggles by reading that piece.

-- Dreadful homestand over. Road trip from Hell now looming. Los Angeles, San Francisco and San Diego here they come. Nine big games in ten days. I hate to say it at the end of May into early June, but if the Rockies tank this trip (2-7, 1-8), well, any and all optimism would be rightly tossed out the window.

Is it possible they could rebound? Of course. But to expect it or even hope for it would be pretty close to unrealistic.

3-6 or 4-5 would be frustrating, but not totally demoralizing depending on the order they come in. 5-4 or 6-3 would be very encouraging. I would be downright giddy even. Anything better than that isn't going to happen. Sorry. I wouldn't even expect the best Rockies team ever to win seven on this trip. Just hope for a winning one.

Lineup Card: 5-29-11 Rockies vs Cardinals

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


Colorado Rockies (25-26)
  1. 2B Eric Young
  2. CF Dexter Fowler
  3. LF Carlos Gonzalez
  4. SS Troy Tulowitzki
  5. 1B Todd Helton
  6. 3B Ty Wigginton
  7. RF Ryan Spilborghs
  8. C   Chris Iannetta
  9. P    Jhoulys Chacin
No actual lineup changes! However, Alfredo Amezaga was finally designated for assignment and Chris Nelson received the recall from AAA. He'll likely serve in a bench role upon arrivial, but given how Jim Tracy has apparently soured on Jonathan Herrera and Ty Wigginton is the only option at third currently, plenty of opportunity awaits Nelson in the upcoming weeks. 

St. Louis Cardinals (31-22)
  1. SS Ryan Theriot
  2. LF Jon Jay
  3. 1B Albert Pujols
  4. RF Lance Berkman
  5. 2B Allen Craig
  6. CF Colby Rasmus
  7. C   Yadier Molina
  8. 3B Daniel Descalso
  9. P   Kyle Lohse