Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Rock Solid Recrap: Pirates Don't Mind Stealing, Will Also Take What They're Given

Pirates 6, Rockies 2 (boxscore)

What Went Wrong: Like I indicated in the headline, pirates make a living stealing, but the ones from Pittsburgh didn't have to tonight. This win was furnished for them, free of charge. 

Some of the bigger issues for the sloppy Rockies on Tuesday night:

— The inability to finish innings on the mound and capitalize at the plate against the often injured, always overpaid Erik Bedard. More to come on these.

— Wilin Rosario had another awful night behind the plate with his league leading 12th passed ball and a costly wild pitch allowed. Obviously there's a long way to go in his development, but there's no sense taking playing time away. He has to learn on the job. But you're still allowed to cringe and not like it.

— Down four runs late, Jordan Pacheco inexplicably attempts to advance to third on a groundball to third base. He was tagged out easily, killing a scoring opportunity.

— In the 9th, Carlos Torres made a lousy throw to second on what should have been a double play. Rockies end up getting no outs (thanks to the throw and a missed call). Amazingly, that one didn't lead to a run, but still maddening.

As small as many of those miscues appear to be, there's no way you're going to win at this level when you make that many of them in one game. Especially against this Pittsburgh team that executes well under Clint Hurdle and does a wonderful job of getting the most out of the least. Not to mention it gets increasingly difficult to watch with each passing game, because you expect to see some improvement somewhere along the line. It just never happens. And just when you think it's about to, it disappears.

Turning Point: Rookie Josh Rutledge triples home the go ahead run in the 4th. I wish I could say that was the turning point. Unfortunately, though, it was the Rockies inability to bring Rutledge home (there were no outs) that started the shift in the game's outlook. Christian Friedrich struck out looking. Eric Young struck out looking. Marco Scutaro flied out harmlessly to center field.

That was the start of it. In the top of the 5th... well... keep reading.

Christian Friedrich's Line: 4 2/3 IP, 5 ER, 6 H, 3 BB, 2 K, 1 HR, 83 pitches (51 strikes)

I always emphasize strong finishes to an outing/appearance. The Rockies did not get one one from Friedrich tonight. Instead they got four promising innings (1 ER, 3 H, 1 BB) and then a really weak 5th that began with two inexcusable walks to the 7th and 8th hitters in Pittsburgh's lineup. I mean come on, we know how impossible it is to walk Clint Barmes. It's a recipe for total disaster when it happens.

Well, it happened.

Then the disaster happened with a sacrifice bunt, RBI groundout, four straight singles, and a poorly timed wild pitch, which all added up to four runs.

That's what I mean by Pittsburgh getting the most out of the least.

And it's pretty simple with Friedrich, just as it's simple with Jeff Francis, Drew Pomeranz, Cliff Lee, Clayton Kershaw. He has to throw strikes. When he does, he's proven to be a tough matchup. When he doesn't throw strikes, he's just another guy. It takes away all of his advantages.

Screengrab of the Game
Been waiting for this sign for three years.
Highlight of the Night: Watch Josh Rutledge's RBI triple

What's Next: More fun with the Pirates on Wednesday at 1:10 with a pitching matchup that is quite the mismatch on paper. For Colorado, it'll be Jeremy Guthrie (3-9, 6.14), who still can't figure out Coors Field. For Pittsburgh, it'll be James McDonald (9-3, 2.59), who has been among the elite pitchers in the National League this season and has handcuffed the Rockies for years regardless of where they're playing.

Here's hoping it's one of those days at Coors Field where nothing makes sense.

Final Thoughts: I think I covered everything I wanted to say already. In the immortal words of Clint Hurdle, let's turn the page to Wednesday.

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