Sunday, June 10, 2012

Rock Solid Recrap: Rockies Take Another Weekend Off, Swept By Angels

Angels 10, Rockies 8 (boxscore)

What Went Wrong: Lousy starting pitching was the biggest problem... again.

The umpires didn't help much, either.

With Carlos Gonzalez representing the tying run in the 9th, the soon to be all-star hit a line drive (not just any line drive, a CarGo line drive) back to Angels' closer Scott Downs that the lefty miraculously snagged cleanly out of the air, and then lost on the exchange from glove to hand as he attempted to double off Marco Scutaro. Only the four-man umpiring crew led by NBA official Joey Crawford and three direct descendants of the Three Stooges ruled that Downs didn't catch the ball.

(OK, the crew was actually Greg Gibson, Gerry Davis, Phil Cuzzi and Manny Gonzalez, but you could have fooled me.)

Gonzalez, who had the best view of Downs making the catch, never took off for first. Marco Scutaro apparently had the second best view, because he retreated to first base. That led to one of the most awkward looking and slowest developing 1-6-3 double plays you'll ever see. And it also led to an animated Jim Tracy outburst that earned him his first ejection of the season.

It's always rough when a blown call takes an opportunity away from your offense, especially when it's at that point in the game. But again, starting pitching was the real problem today. The offense hit well enough that it should have never come down to the incompetent men in blue. Unfortunately, things aren't about to get better in that regard. By the same token, things aren't about to get better with these umpires either until MLB gets serious about expanded replay.

Fails galore.

PS: This in the fourth weekend the Rockies have been swept in the last six. They're 3-15 over that stretch.

Turning Point: The Angels scored four runs in the first four batters of the game. That was punctuated by a Mark Trumbo three-run homer. The Rockies then rallied to tie the game at 6 after two innings thanks in large part to Tyler Colvin's three-run blast and a two-run shot by Carlos Gonzalez.

The Rockies offense showed great fight to get back in the game there. And then before you knew it, Mark Trumbo had another three-run homer, and the Rockies had more digging to do.

When you look at the final score and how that 9th inning played out, there's no question Trumbo's second blast was the biggest moment in the game.

Christian Friedrich's Line: 4 IP, 9 R (8 ER), 10 H, 3 BB, 5 K, 3 HR, 98 pitches (58 strikes)

According to Dave Krieger, by pitching through the 4th, Friedrich lasted longer than three of the four Rockies starters before him. That's the "good" news.

The bad news: Everything else. Just a brutal, ugly, confidence-rattling outing. I'm not even sure I can play the "at least he got experience" card, either, because there wasn't a single moment that you could label as a building block.

Well, I shouldn't say that. He did strikeout out Ervin Santana two innings in a row.

Bullpen's Line: 5 IP, 1 ER, 5 H, 2 BB, 5 K

Josh Roenicke led the bullpen again with two scoreless innings. The rebirth of Rex Brothers continued with a 12-pitch 7th that included two strikeouts. And we also had a rare Rafael Betancourt appearance in the 9th. He set down the Angels in order as well.

Highlight of the Night: Much like Roenicke and Adam Ottavino in the bullpen, Tyler Colvin has been a breath of fresh air in an otherwise polluted season. He added three more hits today, including the home run, a double and single. He also walked, drove in three and scored twice.

I know we're supposed to pick a side in the whole Fowler/Colvin debate, but I've been impressed with both and would like to see both in the lineup together more often. If some of those ABs have to come at the expense of Todd Helton at first base, so be it. We simply need to see more of Colvin and prepare for his future with the Rockies, because it looks like he'll be staying awhile.

Screengrab of the Game
I'm going to lose sleep wondering what the jersey on the far left says.

What's Next: The Angels are leaving... finally.

The Rockies will take Monday off before welcoming back Seth Smith and his Oakland A's to Coors Field on Tuesday night. First pitch is slated for 6:40.

On the mound for Colorado will be Denny Stark... no, I'm kidding, it'll be Jeremy Guthrie (3-4, 6.35), who very well could be pitching for his spot in the rotation despite the fact we have no one to replace him with (unless Drew Pomeranz finally conquers that mechanical flaw). He'll be opposed by Bartolo Colon (5-6, 3.92).

Final Thoughts: Based on what I saw this weekend, the Angels are going to win the American League West and very possibly could take home the big trophy as well. The Texas Rangers will have their opportunity to change my mind next week when the Rockies travel to Arlington. And likely will.

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