Thursday, May 17, 2012

Rock Solid Recrap: Blake Street Brutality

Diamondbacks 9, Rockies 7 (boxscore)

I had a bad feeling we'd be in store for a miserable game this afternoon while writing last night's all positive recap. Sure enough, that bad feeling played out before my eyes. Well, at least until I stabbed them with a fork during the top of the 8th inning.

What Went Wrong: I hope you have some time on your hands. 

Rockies pitching walked nine. Five of those came from starter Juan Nicasio, but only one of his scored. Josh Outman (1 walk) and Rex Brothers (2 walks), on the other hand, were not effective enough to overcome theirs, and while Matt Belisle's didn't score, it forced Jim Tracy's hand and made him use up Josh Roenicke for one batter to finish the 7th.

That's worth nothing because had the game gone extra innings, Colorado would have been out of pitchers.

I also didn't understand Jim Tracy's use of the double switch there since Roenicke didn't return for the 8th. He brought in Michael Cuddyer during that switch to replace Tyler Colvin in right, so I don't think he gained much of anything defensively (a better arm for less range). Of course this comes just two days after Tracy didn't use a double switch when he absolutely should have to avoid Josh Outman leading off an inning, so who knows what the hell kind of logic this guy is using. If any.

PS: The Rockies also ran out of position players forcing Alex White to pinch-hit with the bases loaded in the 9th. Not that the double switch made a difference in that happening. Jim would have found another way to kill his bench I'm sure. In fact, I'm pretty sure Jim would have gone through the whole 40-man roster today if that was available.

Anyway, back to the pitching. Walks are killer as we know. So are two-out runs. Today, the Diamondbacks scored all nine of their runs with two outs. And they all came in the final five innings.


Also brutal? How about Ramon Hernandez's final two at-bats.

In the 8th inning, Diamondbacks reliever David Hernandez had just walked Todd Helton and gone full with Jason Giambi (who singled to load the bases) when Ramon offered at the first pitch and popped out to shallow center. No advancement from the runners there.

Arizona's Hernandez would walk two more in the inning helping Colorado tie it, while further driving home my frustration with Ramon's AB.

In the 9th, Hernandez again hit with the bases loaded directly after J.J. Putz went to a full count with Alex White and again he went after the first pitch. Result: Soft bouncer to third... 5-4-3 double play to end it.

Two of the worst situational at-bats you'll see from anybody, let alone a veteran catcher who should know firsthand what type of strike zone the pitchers were working with.

Turning Point: This game didn't have any kind of flow or rhythm to it so it's impossible to pinpoint a turning point. Honestly, it was exactly four hours worth of garbage that Major League Baseball would be wise to wipe completely from the record. Destroy all footage and make sure no person is ever subjected to this crap again.

Juan Nicasio's Line: 4 1/3 IP, 1 ER, 2 H, 5 BB, 7 K, 105 pitches (57 strikes)

Obviously command was an issue for Nicasio this afternoon. Then again, so was Jim Reynolds' extremely tight strike zone that didn't seen to include corners, letters or knees. That's not to completely excuse Nicasio while throwing the bullpen under the bus, but his stuff was actually pretty electric as evidenced by the runs, hits and strikeouts columns.

Basically, it was an outing that left me unsatisfied but not necessarily disappointed or discouraged. It was just... odd.

That's all I have on that.

Highlight of the Night: This is Dexter Fowler's plate appearance right Hernandez's 8th inning debacle. He started down in the count 1-2 and worked it all the way back for a walk. It wasn't exciting, but it was high quality.

Screengrabs of the Game: I liked the squirrel better. 

What's Next: Whose ready for interleague play? Anybody?

Sorry, you don't have choice, because the Seattle Mariners are coming to Denver this weekend for a three-game set. The opener will be coming your way on Friday night at 6:40 MT. Kevin Millwood (1-4, 5.09), who did a very respectable job for the Rockies late last season, will be on the hill for Seattle. Alex White (0-2, 6.75) goes for Jim Tracy.

Final Thoughts: Late Wednesday night Troy Renck of the Denver Post posted a blog with comments from Jhoulys Chacin regarding the biceps tendinitis and shoulder inflammation that landed him on the DL recently. (Link: Denver Post)

Among the revelations, Chacin admits that he pitched through the biceps discomfort all spring training despite the encouragement of his teammates to get checked out.

“I wanted to be out there to help my team. I was running more, doing anything I could, thinking it might help me get stronger. I had never been on the DL even in the minors and I didn’t want to go on it. But it never got better,” Chacin said. “It was really tough for me go out out there like that. My Latin teammates knew in spring training. I should have said something.”

Not exactly sure how running more helps his ailment, but I'm not a doctor either. 

Anyway, the only two things organizations and fans can ask of the players 100% of the time is hustle and honesty. The Rockies, sadly, haven't been getting enough of either over the past two seasons. Chacin himself even speculated he would have required rotator cuff surgery if he continued pitching and putting the stress on his shoulder he had been to take it off his biceps.

Again, not a doctor, but that doesn't sound unreasonable. Now, think about those repercussions for Chacin and the Rockies, all because he didn't have that one conversation with his pitching coach, the trainer or whoever. They're devastating. Losing him two months (which may be on the low side) in the middle of the season is damaging enough, a significant shoulder injury is simply devastating. 

I'm glad that has been avoided. I really am. And I hope the lesson is learned, Chacin gets well soon, and the Rockies finally get the bulldog pitcher they've been expecting. 

More Rockies thoughts await you if you follow me on Twitter: @Townie813 & @HeavenHelton