Friday, May 28, 2010

Rock Solid Recrap: Less Than Zero Margin For Error

That's what it must feel like to the Rockies when they meet up with the Dodgers.

Every misstep. Every error. Every lead-off walk. Every little blemish seems to turn a game under Rockies control to a Dodger victory. And the most frustrating thing about it is how easy the Dodgers can make it look.  It's almost as if they're toying with the Rockies at times.

They flip the switch on. Do just enough to take the lead. Flip the switch back off. Put the ball in the hands of their bullpen and hold on to a 1-2 run victory.

That's the formula they have concocted to beat the Rockies. You can't argue with its results: 17-5 since the beginning of 2009.

Dodgers 5, Rockies 4

Losing Player: Jeff Francis

Tough one for Jeff to take. He was in top form for five solid innings. Then, like Hammel yesterday, he began the sixth inning with a walk. Lead-off walks are never good. Lead-off walks against the Dodgers are deadly.

Lineup Card: Rockies vs Dodgers

I know nothing about Dodger starter Carlos Monasterios other than this is his second career start and he's posted a 1.90 ERA in 23.2 innings. How many innings the Dodgers hope to get out of him is something else I'm not sure about.

I do know Jim Tracy is hoping for Jeff Francis to get deep into the game after using six relievers to record 11 outs yesterday.

Rockies Lineup (25-22)

  • CF Gonzalez
  • LF Smith
  • 1B Helton
  • SS Tulowitzki
  • RF Hawpe
  • C  Olivo
  • 3B Stewart
  • 2B Barmes
  • P   Francis
Dodgers Lineup (26-21)
  • SS Furcal
  • C   Martin
  • LF Ramirez
  • CF Kemp
  • 3B Blake
  • 1B Belliard
  • RF Johnson
  • 2B Carroll
  • P   Monasterios
Lots of righties for Francis to deal with again tonight.  Hasn't been a problem for him so far.

The Difference A Week Can Make

Last week at this time we were wondering what the Rockies needed to do to spark their offense.

This week the Rockies are raking, while fans of teams like St. Louis, Philadelphia, and the New York Yankees are all asking the same questions we were asking.

That's the beauty (and frustration) of baseball. Every team goes through slumps. Every good team works their way out of them. These past five games should make us feel pretty good about the Colorado Rockies

Of course there are a number of little things that the Rockies are doing better during this five game winning streak.

The extra base CarGo took in the first inning yesterday after a bobble by Chris Young is a good example. It was aggressive and smart, which is different than aggressive.

Aggressive is Tulowitzki attempting to go first-to-third in KC against David DeJesus and getting thrown out by a mile. That had very little chance of going well, but it qualifies as aggression just the same.

Smart and aggressive is CarGo running out of the box with purpose, not assuming anything, watching the opponent, knowing the opponent, and not hesistating to make his move. Can live without the head first slide, but the pure hustle involved there can never be questioned.

They aren't giving away ABs so easily. We were all pulling our hair out as batter after batter took awkward looking swing after awkward looking swing against very mediocre pitchers. It honestly looked like a team going through the motions, just taking their normal BP cuts at live pitches under the lights.

Starting with Greinke on Sunday, the offense has seemingly refocused their entire approach. Their patience has improved. Situational hitting has improved by leaps and bounds. And above all that, the longball has returned in force full. Nothing better than getting a quick one or three runs on the board in one swing.

The defense is back to making every play they need to make. They're also making several plays that few of their counterparts can make. When it's on, the defense can absolutely carry this team on a given day. Tuesday's 3-2 win was a shining example of that.

Bullpen structure. Jim Tracy has a better feel for where he wants to use guys and the guys are taking to their roles. It's a fairly significant thing where you look back at all the bullpen we saw the first six weeks of the season.

And those are just some of the things I'm noticing that have improved.  They're pretty obvious to see, but sometimes writing the obvious is the best way to go.

Now that the Rockies have all these things going in their favor, they are in a position to make up a move up the divisional standings earlier than we're used to.