Sunday, July 4, 2010

Rock Solid Recap: Time Well Spent

Unless you have a heart condition or drinking problem.

My goal here is to focus on the positive when there are positive to focus on. I'll attempt to do that is this recap... I just have to say this first.

The Rockies are doing a much better job at winning these tight games they were giving away early in the season. That said, I can't put them in the category of a team that's playing to their ability or hitting their stride just yet.

There are still a bunch of things they need to clean up in all phases of their game. Things we'd all be very frustrated about had this game gone the other way. I just want to keep that in perspective as we celebrate this one, because it's easy to get caught up in the roller coaster ride and downplay little details.

Now... The good stuff

Dexter Fowler

Whatever Rene Lachemann said to Fowler in the Springs was genuis. The lowering of his hands at the plate was genius. The disicipline, patience, poise and confidence he's playing with right now aren't genius, but they resemble that of a 5-time all-star. It's incredible to witness the results of his transformation.

The dynamic he gives this team if he's consistently reaching base cannot be understated. You back him up with Herrera, who exhibits most of the same traits, then you're creating nightmares for opponents on a daily basis. I love these two guys at the top of the order, and my hope is that Todd Helton can accept dropping to 6th or 7th in the order. He has if he wants to win.

Jason Hammel

Pitched his ass off for seven innings today. He knew he'd have to to match up with Matt Cain. That's really a lot of pressure for a pitcher when you think about it, but he handled it again.

Unfortunately, he tired in the 8th and was unable to get his win. Anybody who wants to blame Jim Tracy for that has my permission, because allowing Hammel to bat with 105 pitches under his belt screamed of backfire. The Rockies defense also contributed to this, but we're just thankful it cost the entire team a win.

Huston Street

Is back. All the way.

Esmil Rogers

How nice is it to have a long reliever that can actually throw strikes and give you innings? This kid's arm is electric. And to pitch over Seth Smith's defensive gaffe the way he did showed incredible poise. It really was as good a relief appearance as you'll see.

Now, we just have to hope Tracy doesn't feel the need to use him every day and run him into the ground like Corpas.

*exhale* Being positive.

Chris Iannetta

Looking better with each start at the plate. It's easy to overlook him reaching base five times in this game... including a bomb off of Cain in the 6th. It's encouraging to see. Now he just needs to work on comminucating with his third base teammates on pop fouls. These balls need to get caught! And we don't need anymore injuries.

Day Off

Could not come at a better time for this team... or for any of us!

Independence Day

Happy 4th of July to all of you. Be safe if you're out there having fun tonight or you're traveling back home tomorrow.

Lineup Card -- Rockies vs Giants

Rockies Lineup (43-38)

  • CF Fowler
  • 2B Herrera
  • LF Gonzalez
  • 1B Giambi
  • RF Spilborghs
  • 3B Mora
  • C   Iannetta
  • SS Barmes
  • P   Hammel
Giants Lineup (41-39)
  • RF Torres
  • 2B Sanchez
  • LF Huff
  • 3B Sandoval
  • C  Posey
  • 1B Ishikawa
  • SS Renteria
  • CF Roward
  • P   Cain

Rock Solid Recrap: Meet The New Lightning Rod

Exit: Franklin Morakes.  Enter: Manuel Corpas.  

Manny Corpas

It pains me that Manny is receving and will continue to receive the boos that were recently reserved for Franklin Morales.  There's a really big difference between the two pitchers and their situations.

Morales' struggles were and are a product of his own mental toughness... or lack there of.  Even though I'm not a big fan of booing a guy with that fragile a mental state, at least you can point to his failures being a product of his own weakness/ability.  It's somewhat justifiable.

Manny Corpas is a different story.  His problems really have little to do with anything he's done, unless you consider him not telling Jim Tracy he needs a day off every now and then to be a crime.

Corpas has nothing left in the tank.  No short reliever could withstand the workoad Jim Tracy piled up on his arm in April and May.  Corpas had no experience as a long man, didn't really prepare for that role in ST, yet Jim Tracy kept using him for 2-3 innings at a time.  Burning precious bullets in non-pressure situations.

Manny had a lot of success in that role early, despite his lack of experience there.  Hell, I even said Manny was the second most valuable player on the team in April.  He was.  The work he did was fabulous.  So good, in fact, that Jim Tracy decided to shift him to the closer role.

There you have another type of workload. It's still physically demanding, of course, but here we're talking a 100% jump in mental demands   Manny did fine there for awhile, but everything finally caught up to him in that Milwaukee series when Tracy tried squeezing four days in a row out of him.  That idea was designed to fail from the get go, and boy did it fail miserably.

Sadly, Manny hasn't been the same guy since.  He's just a shell of the pitcher we saw in April.  His pitches are flat, and his confidence is shot.  That's all on Jim Tracy, because his job is to maximize a player's usefulness, not run him into the ground physically and drain him mentally.

Matt Belisle is in a similar spot, but has held up a little better than Manny because he has a history as a starter.  His arm is used to the workload.  That said, he will remain on implosion and fatigue watch, because you can only push these guys so far, and Jim Tracy seems far too willing to test those limits.

This is what has gotten Jim fired from his two previous managerial gigs.  He doesn't learn.  Never will.

Joe Beimel

As David Martin pointed out earlier, what makes the situation ten times more frustrating and baffling is San Francisco had three left-handed hitters due up that 7th inning, and Tracy had a fresh Joe Beimel at his disposal.

He goes to Corpas.  Why?  To keep Pat Burrell on the bench?


Just go with your BEST guys or your FRESH guys.  When your best guy and your fresh guy are one in the same, then the decision should be a no-brainer.

Not in the world of Jim Tracy.


Ubaldo Jimenez 

This might sound weird.  It's almost as if Ubaldo and Jason Hammel have changed uniforms. The one bad inning bug that bit Hammel for so long is now latched on to Ubaldo's right arm.

Of course it goes deeper than that.  Ubaldo is likely fatiguing just as the guys above are.  That's to be expected though from a starter.  They go through periods of poor mechanics and other such ups and downs.

Tired arms.  Poor command.  Bad luck.  Lack of run support.  Lots of run support.  Poor defense.

I'm not worried about him.  It's just the natural flow of the season.

Besides that, If Fowler gets to that ball in the 3rd, it's a different scenario.  That ball dropping led to six runs that would not have scored.

That doesn't serve as an excuse for Jimenez, but it does emphasize the fine line every pitcher walks in a given game.  And to me it just emphasizes even more how special he was to avoid those situations entirely for two months.


Jason Hammel vs. Matt Cain

Hammel needs to be good here.  The Rockies absolutety can't afford to give this series away and give the Giants any more momentum.  BIG game.