Sunday, June 12, 2011

Rock Solid Recrap: Splitting headache

Yeah, splitting that four game series with the Dodgers was not what I had in mind, especially after the Rockies came out and played so well in the first two. Very, very frustrating results these past two days. A blown opportunity to not only gain on or stand their ground with the front-runners, but more importantly to me, create some space from a Dodgers team that I think has a good run in them during the second half of the season.

Dodgers 10, Rockies 8 (boxscore)

Ubaldo Jimenez: Listen, allowing three home runs is never a good thing for a pitcher. That much is pretty clear and obvious, but it's beyond the numbers to me. Where I'm more concerned is Ubaldo's confidence/mindset. Once something has gone wrong for him this season, like Ty Wigginton's error, he loses it. Fast. And he rarely gets it all back together.

That kinda tells me everything we've seen with him this season has been more mental than physical. I can't prove that. I'm not a licensed doctor or psychiatrist, but that's my diagnosis from afar. And I don't know how you can fix that if it really is the root of the problem. You can work on his mechanics. You can review scouting reports over and over. But how do you teach a pitcher to get over mental hurdles?

Bullpen: Well, we saw the entire lineup struggle together for a month, so it's only appropriate the entire bullpen struggles at the same time. Hopefully they get it straightened out a lot quicker than the offense did. And I don't mean to lump Rex Brothers in there because he's been excellent, but even he had a rough go of it today.

Ty Wigginton: I've seen enough of the limited range and routine grounders clanking off his glove. This team desperately needs to tighten up the defense. If that means bringing back Ian Stewart sooner than later, I'm all for it. Giving opponents extra outs and opportunities has to be addressed and eliminated. It's wearing on everybody.

Jonathan Herrera: The bloom is off the rose with Johnny, which is unfortunate, but not totally unexpected for a major leaguer who survives on guts, intelligence and ability to execute. I'm not saying he needs to go, because I don't think that's the case. But given how well Chris Nelson has played, and given the need for dynamic offensive performers, I'm not sure he's going to fit in if he's not excelling at the things he does best while in a bench role.

This could be a big week for him to get it turned around. And this is coming from Herrera's biggest supporter since he was called up last June.

Offense: All of the Rockies runs scored on homers. Seth Smith had a three-run shot in the 1st, which hopefully served as a reminder to Jim Tracy that he needs to play EVERY DAY. Carlos Gonzalez and Troy Tulowitzki each had two-run homers in the 7th, and then Todd Helton hit a solo shot in the 9th. 8 runs. That should have been enough, but once again, it wasn't.

Overall: Any confidence in the Rockies I had built up over their three-game winning streak is wiped away. Today was a big, big, big game in my mind, especially with Ubaldo out there, and they fell short. Yeah, it's promising the offense has turned it around, but we're learning again that the problems for this team run much deeper than one thing. On any given day, they can do a number of different things poorly that puts them in a position to lose.

Until all of those are cleaned up, the ups will always be followed with disappointing downs.