Sunday, May 8, 2011

Rock Solid Recrap: Cy Vogelsong has no ring to it

The Rockies didn't respond to Jim Tracy's angry rant before Sunday's game, so he changed his approach to a much gentler (via @TroyRenck)...

Tracy said every team steps in pothole. That their mettle is being tested. That good teams get out of it sooner rather than later.

Probably a good way to go if he wants to keep his 25 homeboys on his side. Everybody knows they have to step up. That's not breaking news to anyone. But consistently throwing the players under the bus for their performance while taking none yourself is a good way to lose player and fan support. So at least he avoided doing the former for one day. 

Giants 3, Rockies 0 (boxscore)

-- One hit against Ryan Vogelsong in 6 1/3. There's no way to analyze that other than to say it's embarrassing. It can't happen.

-- Jorge De La Rosa did well to last six innings, but this wasn't a pretty start. Five walks. Forget everything else. Five walks against a team that quite honestly isn't much better off offensively than the Rockies are. De La Rosa should have dominated them.

-- Cody Ross is the definition of average... unless he's playing the Rockies or it's the postseason. It's amazing. That's what his career is built on.

-- Same goes for Freddy Sanchez the past two years. He's had a solid career overall, don't get me wrong, but the past two seasons he's Tony Gwynn against the Rockies. Threading every hole in the infield with precision.

-- Both Troy Tulowitzki and Seth Smith are reaching and pulling weak grounders. I guess the Carlos Gonzalez slump was contagious.

-- First thing every opposing analyst says about Franklin Morales: "He has terrific stuff but no idea how to harness it." Happens every time.

-- So the Rockies get swept in San Francisco, pushing the losing streak up to four. Yet here we sit on May 8th with a team that is positioned firmly above water.

Yes, it's frustrating to see games slip away and their record creep closer to .500. But this is so much better than watching .500 get further in their rear view mirror. But I will say they aren't getting anywhere without beating the Giants. We've seen this cost them in the past with the Dodgers, now it's happening with San Francisco.

-- Happy Mother's Day to all the moms out there. Even the mothers of these two Giants fans...

Lineup Card: 5-8-11 Rockies @ Giants

If you're looking for Rockies game lineups and you don't feel like searching all over Twitter or waiting for to post them, check back to Heaven & Helton about 60-90 minutes before first pitch. They should be here waiting for you. 


Yesterday's Recrap: Another Tracy gem


Colorado Rockies (18-13)
  1. CF Dexter Fowler
  2. 2B Jonathan Herrera
  3. LF Carlos Gonzalez
  4. SS Troy Tulowitzki
  5. 1B Jason Giambi
  6. RF Seth Smith
  7. C   Chris Iannetta
  8. 3B Ian Stewart
  9. P   Jorge De La Rosa
Would you look at that? He's finally moved Chris Iannetta out the 8-hole. I never thought we'd see the day. 

San Francisco Giants (17-16)
  1. CF Aaron Rowand
  2. 2B Freddy Sanchez
  3. SS Mike Fontenot
  4. 1B Buster Posey
  5. LF Pat Burrell
  6. RF Cody Ross
  7. 3B Miguel Tejada
  8. C   Eli Whiteside
  9. P   Ryan Vogelsong

Rock Solid Recrap: Another Tracy gem

The frustrations keep building and building for the Rockies. The same formula has come together to beat them three days in a row. Terrific starting pitching. Offense fails to deliver the game-changing hit. Bullpen bends and finally breaks in the 9th inning.

Same formula.

Oh, and Jim Tracy over manages the bullpen, makes strange pinch-hitting decisions, and generally looks confused from the 6th inning on.

Yeah, same formula.

Giants 3, Rockies 2 (boxscore)

But let me get this out of the way first.

Clayton Mortensen: I salute you. You were fantastic. Your stuff was excellent, and you brought a nice calm and focus to the mound that we weren't getting from Esmil Rogers in the 5th spot.

I haven't seen a lot of you throughout your professional career, but you strike me as a guy that doesn't get rattled easily, and stays on the attack even when things go wrong behind you or when you're facing a tough situation.I admire the heck out of that. Hope to see a lot more of you going forward.

Now back to your regularly scheduled recrap.

-- 1-for-9 with RISP. Bleh.

-- Career advice for Ian Stewart: Take a step back away from the plate and swing the bat. You're getting beat by the same pitch over and over and it's ridiculous. Adjust. Try to be better. That's all I'm asking. Try.

-- Chris Iannetta can still be so maddening. Still walks a lot. Walks are good. Still strikes out looking a lot with RISP. That's not good. Be that difference maker! You watch tomorrow, Jose Morales won't be afraid to swing with RISP, and I bet he'll drive in another run.

-- 2-2 game, Matt Belisle starts the 7th inning by retiring Aaron Roward and Freddy Sanchez. On cue, here come Jim Tracy. Why? Because he's afraid Belisle can't retire Mike Fontenot.

Burn Belisle, bright in Matt Reynolds. What happens, Fontenot doubles. That was actually fortunate because it allowed them to walk Buster Posey and Reynolds retired Aubrey Huff, but seriously, why can't Belisle finish that inning?

Now you're down two pitchers. It's over managing. You're managing yourself into a position where guess what, the game is on the line and you're using Felipe Paulino again. If's awful.

And then Jim Tracy says this afterwards (via @Troy Renck).

I asked Tracy about the status of Paulino and Morales. He said that they have to pitch in those situations, that's their role.

Yeah, because Tracy manages himself into a corner. He could have at least Reynolds available to him tonight if he simply let Belisle finish his inning. Now we're in the same position we were last year where bad matchups late in the game beat us, and relievers are unavailable a couple times a week because Tracy overuses them.

Matt Lindstrom has a sore arm. It's no wonder. Tracy says it's because he's transitioning from closer, where he never had to warm up so frequently. That may be true to some extent, but I think it's more an adjustment to pitching for Jim Tracy, where everybody warms up every day and pitches to two hitters.

He doesn't learn from his past.

Could I do a better job managing the team? Of course not. But I can tell you if I did it long enough and was afforded the opportunities Jim Tracy has been, I would learn from my mistakes and be better as I went along. Jim Tracy has never improved. He's the same manager he was in LA and then Pittsburgh. Because of that, I believe he's the biggest weakness the Rockies have.

I truly believe that.

And the whole sac bunt with Dexter Fowler thing. That's mostly on Fowler. While I didn't necessarily agree with the bunting there, I understood why he called for the it and I understand that Dexter failed. But it probably would have been smarter to take the bunt off after two strikes.

I don't know why he refused to pinch-hit for Ryan Spilborghs in the 7th with RISP against a righty. He's done that 3-4 times now in Spilborghs starts. It's failed every time. He had the roster flexibility to make it work. Heck, Seth Smith for Spilly straight up. Why not? If you're going to be so meticulous with your bullpen, why not try it once with your pinch-hitters? Might actually win you a game one time.

Felipe Paulino is a failed experiment for Dan O'Dowd. He thought he could take a hard-throwing #5 starter and turn him into a late-inning power reliever and it's just not happening. I honestly think it's time to pull the plug.

But aside from all that I still feel good about the team overall. I'm confident the offense will come around. I'm confident the starting pitching will stay strong and may even improve with Ubaldo and Mortensen coming on. The bullpen can be fixed with a tweak or two. You hope Tracy doesn't run the key guys into the ground. And you hope to have an extended stretch soon where Tracy can sit back and let the players do the work.