Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Rock Solid Recrap: Monfort Speaks, Rockies Lose. Again.

Marlins 7, Rockies 6 (boxscore)

What Went Wrong: The offense produced enough to win tonight. There's no question about that. But they still had several of those moments where you just shake your head at the opportunities they waste because they can't be bothered to change their approach in situational plate appearances.

There are no better examples of this possible than the three — yes, THREE — leadoff doubles they wasted tonight.

In the 4th and 6th innings respectively, it was Michael Cuddyer who doubled. He never moved either time. Wilin Rosario would strikeout swinging the first time and then groundout to second. Dexter Fowler popped to third and struck out in his two chances. The innings ended with Juan Nicasio and pinch-hitter Tyler Colvin striking out.

Then in the 9th, Jordan Pacheco doubled off Heath Bell with the Rockies trailing by the single run. Credit to Carlos Gonzalez, he moved Pacheco over with a grounder to second. That put Troy Tulowitzki in a spot where he could drive the tying run home several different ways, but as we've seen far too often from Tulo, he put forth a lousy at-bat at the worst possible time, ultimately popping up to short.

That put the pressure on a scuffling Todd Helton, who battled Bell as he has so many times in the past, but watched strike three sail by to end it.

The approaches have to improve and the importance of productive outs needs to be better understood by this ballclub. But that's something we've been saying as far back as 2010. Nothing new. It doesn't seem to matter who passes through, that message continues falling on deaf ears.

Turning Point: Simple. With the game tied at three in the 3rd inning, Marlins pitcher Ricky Nolasco laced a two-out, two-run double to the gap in left center. That's a turning point and a dagger.

Juan Nicasio's Line: 5 IP, 6 R (5 ER), 9 H, 3 BB, 6 K, 99 pitches (62 strikes)

Another too short, ineffective and completely unsatisfying outing from a Rockies starter. And again, it comes after the Rockies offense put some runs on the board in the 1st inning. I don't know what more to add to this other than at least Nicasio finished strong by striking out the side in the 5th. That's the only positive to draw from this one.

Screengrab of the Game
Baseball is really catching on in Florida. #Nope

Root Sports... Still struggling to identify baseball players.
Highlight of the Night: Tulo had a lousy AB in the 9th and a key error earlier in the game that led to an insurance run. He also had an RBI single and made the following web gem at short.

What's Next: The series finale will be another 5:10 start on Wednesday.

Alex White (0-3, 5.09) gets the call for Colorado and will be looking to establish a good sinker and some consistency. His opponent, Carlos Zambrano (2-2, 1.96), has succeeded in doing both so far in 2012 and seems poised for an all-star selection.

Final Thoughts: Those firings everybody is looking for aren't coming any time soon according to Dick Monfort, who had the following to say earlier today about Rockies general manager Dan O'Dowd. (Link: Denver Post)

"I think he's a tremendous asset," Monfort said. "I can't think of a general manager in baseball that's as good as him. Granted, I don't know all of them ... but I just think he's heads and shoulders above everybody else."

I honestly believe O'Dowd is a decent to good GM myself. Regardless of how poorly he constructed the current Rockies team or how much I believe a new direction is needed, I think he has a good feel for talent and isn't afraid to be aggressive in acquiring that talent when necessary. This endorsement, however, is just a tad bit over-the-top, and borders on ignorant when Monfort includes the little nugget about not knowing who exactly O'Dowd is competing with.

Monfort also had nice things to say about Jim Tracy during his interview with Patrick Saunders. You can read those quotes by clicking the link above.

I'm just going to look at the whole thing this way. While these quotes don't satisfy our thirst for immediate action, they may indicate our best chance at actual franchise evaluation that finally leads to long-term direction and improvement. Here's why I say that.

The last time the Rockies canned someone in season, the team got inexplicably hot for the final four months and everyone got comfortable, leaving us stuck with an even worse manager for the next 3+ seasons. So let's just say Tracy was fired on Thursday. The team would likely hand the job to Tom Runnells. If the Rockies play .500 the rest of the season, knowing the Monforts, Runnells is your manager for 2013 and beyond without so much as a real interview process or franchise evaluation process taking place.

They just slap the band-aid on, emphasize this as a total rebuilding season (which it pretty much is, honestly) to explain why O'Dowd sticks around, and we end up stuck in the mud for who knows how much longer.

If the Monforts ride this season out, though, sure we risk them being complete cowards and not making any changes again in the offseason, but there's also the very real possibility things don't improve and/or somehow get even worse. Then people stop showing up to Coors Field, and then something almost has to happen. Something big. Actual honest evaluations.

OK, so maybe the people making those evaluations aren't baseball people, but with Dick Monfort at least admitting today that it's possible he's fallen in love with the wrong people, maybe he'll seek out help from somewhere. Where exactly I don't know, but just the realization that he's in over his head means something good could happen.

I'm not holding my breathe on any of this, of course, but the interim manager/coach scenario makes me more nervous for the future than anything else.

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