Sunday, September 30, 2012

Rock Solid Recrap: The Rockies Scored A Run!

Dodgers 7, Rockies 1 (boxscore)

What Went Right: The Rockies scored a run in the 4th inning, which snapped a 26-inning scoreless streak! Thanks, Andrew Brown!

What Went Wrong: Well, as you can imagine, only scoring one run in an entire series is a recipe for being swept. So yeah, the Rockies were swept. They were pretty much unwatchable games the whole weekend. And the road to 100 continues with three games left to go. Buckle up.

Turning Point: The Rockies scored their run to take a 1-0 lead. Then the Dodgers scored four runs in the bottom half to take command of the game. Those four runs came on two-run homers from Matt Kemp and the legendary Luis Cruz.

Jorge De La Rosa's Line: 4 IP, 4 ER, 5 H, 0 BB, 3 K, 2 HR, 67 pitches (46 strikes)

Four innings and done. Four innings and done. Four innings and done. These pitching lines ALL look the same, though it's always good to see De La Rosa avoiding the walks. That's a small positive that does stand out here. As does his good health to end the year.

Bullpen's Line: 4 IP, 3 ER, 7 H, 3 BB, 5 K

Rob Scahill was touched up for a run on three hits in the 5th. That's the first run he's allowed this season. Alex White then continued to struggle in the relief role by allowing two runs on three hits and two walks. The only clean reliever was Carlos Torres, who struck out two in the 8th.

Rock Solid Record-Breaking Recrap

Dodgers 3, Rockies 0 (boxscore)

What Went Wrong: It's official, the 2012 Colorado Rockies are the worst we've seen in their two decade long existence, surpassing the 95-loss team from their inaugural season in 1993.

(Please, hold your applause. There are still four (road) games remaining on the schedule and this record in futility could still grow all the way into the triple digits.)

So it's not really about what went wrong tonight. It's about what has been going wrong for essentially three years, leading us to this dreadful season that will mercifully end in four days. 

Turning Point: Matt Kemp cracked a really long two-run homer in the 4th. He then added a completely unnecessary solo homer in the 8th, because the Rockies had already resigned to their fate and checked out after the first one. Typical road Rockies. Typical September Rockies under Jim Tracy. You know all the cliches and hashtags.

Tyler Chatwood's Line: 4 IP, 2 ER, 5 H, 2 BB, 4 K, 1 HR, 74 pitches (46 strikes)

Nothing to see here. Standard Rockies four-inning outing that was neither excellent nor disastrous. It was just kind of there, which is a fitting ending to Chatwood's season.

That said, I still have a decent feeling about Chatwood long term, but odds are he'll never ever sniff his potential with the Rockies.

Bullpen's Line: 4 IP, 1 ER, 5 H, 1 BB, 2 K, 1 HR

Jim Tracy was in heaven tonight utilizing six different relievers to navigate the final four innings. Of course three of those relievers (Rex Brothers, Josh Roenicke and Matt Reynolds) faced a grand total of four hitters, retiring only one of them. But by golly, our manager was out there managing and pushing buttons and making all kinds of things happen! Shake his hand and give him another lifetime deal.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Rock Solid Recrap: Ailing Clayton Kershaw Overpowers Rockies

Dodgers 8, Rockies 0 (boxscore)

What Went Wrong: On a night that featured a no-hitter and a one-hitter, I suppose things could have been worse for the Rockies. But it still wasn't pretty as a far less than 100% Clayton Kershaw (bad hip) dominated them for eight shutout innings, striking out 10 along the way. In fact, the Rockies would only scratch out four singles and a Wilin Rosario double, and never saw a runner reach third base.

Like I said... not pretty.

Turning Point: They're on the road and they aren't playing the Cubs anymore. This game was over before it started.

Jeff Francis' Line: 4 IP, 5 ER, 6 H, 1 BB, 3 K, 1 HR, 66 pitches (38 strikes)

And then Jeff Francis made sure it never got in doubt by allowing a four-spot in the 2nd. Shane Victorino's three-run homer was the big blow there. Blah outing.

Bullpen's Line: 4 IP, 3 ER, 6 H, 1 BB, 4 K

All of the damage here came against Will Harris in the 8th inning. He allowed a two-run homer to Bobby Abreu, which is a really tough thing to do these days. Guillermo Moscoso (2 IP) and Josh Roenicke (1 IP) were both excellent, though, which kept this from being extremely embarrassing.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Rock Solid Recap: The Jordan Pacheco Show

Rockies 7, Cubs 5 (boxscore)

Winning Player: Jordan Pacheco

Real easy choice today. Pacheco was the man offensively (with the 1st inning three-run homer) and defensively (which you'll see shortly).

Turning Point: Pacheco's 1st inning homer stood up the entire game, but there were moments when that seemed in doubt. That included the 5th inning when Chicago loaded the bases against Jhoulys Chacin with one out. The Rockies held a 7-3 lead there, and Chacin needed those two outs to qualify for the win. And he got them thanks to fielder's choice force play at home against Luis Valbuena and a Steve Clevenger groundout.

Jhoulys Chacin's Line: 5 IP, 3 ER, 7 H, 4 BB, 2 K, 1 HR, 85 pitches (55 strikes)

Chacin didn't have much today, but Jim Tracy allowed him to go beyond to the 75 pitches get out of that bases loaded jam. It was refreshing to see that from Jim and just as good to see Chacin reward the faith. I guess you could call it a gritty effort, but certainly a difficult one to watch or feel overly encouraged about. He is healthy, though, so there's that.

Bullpen's Line: 4 IP, 2 ER, 6 H, 0 BB, 4 K

All of the bullpen's damage came against a gassed out Matt Belisle in the 9th. That was cleaned up by Rafael Betancourt, who struck out back-to-back hitters, and then Jordan Pacheco and Josh Rutledge finished it as you'll see right now.

Rock Solid Recap: Charlie Blackmon Homers, Helps Rockies Preserve 7th Shutout

Rockies 6, Cubs 0 (boxscore)

Winning Player: Charlie Blackmon

Blackmon had solid day at the plate with his third career home run and another run scored.

He also had a key play in left field where he threw out Joe Mather at third base trying to advance on a flyball, which kept the Rockies 7th shutout intact as the tag was applied before Josh Vitters could touch home. Really a fantastic throw that almost had you wondering if Carlos Gonzalez was out there.

Honorable Mentions: The entire Rockies pitching staff.

Drew Pomeranz's Line: 5 IP, 0 R, 3 H, 3 BB, 3 K, 84 pitches (51 strikes)

The opponent has to be taken into consideration, but this is still a pretty solid performance for Pomeranz. Granted, the three walks are a bit high, but to see him work a little deeper and put up nothing but 0's overrides that. And really, any step that isn't directly backwards is a positive for Drew as he wraps up this highly disappointing season.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Rock Solid Recap: Mother Nature Says Six Innings Is Plenty

Rockies 10, Cubs 5 (boxscore)

A win is a win, even when Mother Nature shortens the game to six innings and especially when you're hoping like heck your favorite team avoids its first 100-loss season.

The good news is this win will increase the Rockies chances of avoiding that slightly. The bad news is they still have work to do over these next eight games to make sure they don't lose six of them.

It's coming down to the wire, folks. Sit tight.

Winning Player: D.J. LeMahieu 3-for-3, home run shy of the cycle, two runs, one RBI

The Rockies obviously had a lot of offense in a short period of time, but LeMahieu really led the attack with his three hits against his former team. The biggest coming in the 4th when he doubled home a run ahead of Josh Rutledge's two-run double that gave Colorado the lead. Another former Cub, Tyler Colvin, contributed two hits himself, including a two-run triple in the 3rd that cut Chicago's lead to 4-1. Also delivering were Chris Nelson (three hits, two runs), Matt Bride (big three-run 5th inning blast) and Wilin Rosario (two hits, HR #27).

In total Colorado had 15 hits and 27 total bases in the six completed innings. Not bad at all.

Turning Point: This game turned the second Theo Epstein traded Colvin and LeMahieu to the Rockies for Ian Stewart and Casey Weathers. It remains Dan O'Dowd's one shining moment over the past 12 months.

Jorge De La Rosa's Line: 3 IP, 4 R (2 ER), 5 H, 1 BB, 2 K, 2 HR, 67 pitches (45 strikes)

The two unearned runs came after Josh Rutledge's 1st inning overthrow that landed somewhere in Oklahoma. I mean he overshot Jordan Pacheco at first base by at least 40 feet. Perhaps the wet baseball played a factor in that. Perhaps it didn't. I don't know. I just know it was the only bad throw in the game and the conditions got much worse as it went along.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Rock Solid September Recap: These Are Rare

Rockies 4, Diamondbacks 2 (boxscore)

Since starting this blog in 2010, the Colorado Rockies record in games from Sept. 15 on is 9-33. That's including Monday's win over Arizona, which broke a nine-game losing streak.

That bad. That real bad.

But Monday was good... so let's talk why they finally won one.

Winning Player: Andrew Brown

Was leaning towards Tyler Chatwood here but Andrew Brown's late home run changed my mind. It was a solo shot in the 8th, but that insurance run was a big one to get for Rafael Betancourt. Brown also had a double earlier in the game and a run-scoring groundout. Productive night all around offensively, and the adventurous catch out in right field was a highlight too.

Honorable Mentions: Chatwood (more shortly), the bullpen (more shortly), along with Charlie Blackmon and Tyler Colvin who each contributed two hits.

Turning Point: After Arizona scored two in the 4th to take a 2-1 lead, the Rockies battled right back with two of their own in the bottom half (Brown's RBI and a D.J. LeMahieu RBI single). Chatwood then put up a big 0 in the 5th to stabilize things, which allowed the bullpen to bring it home.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Rock Solid Recrap: Make That Nine Straight Losses

Diamondbacks 10, Rockies 7 (boxscore)

What Went Wrong: Well, for starters, I benched Andrew Luck for Michael Vick in my fantasy football league. That backfired spectacularly. I also went a disgusting 4-10 against the spread in my NFL picks. But the plus side to that is I reminded myself again why I don't gamble. Nothing gained. Nothing lost.

As for the Rockies, it appears they had no problems offensively — 7 runs on 16 hits — but the bullpen faltered late with Rex Brothers, Matt Belisle and Will Harris combining to allow seven runs over the final two innings. This is where I tell you these guys are all wearing down... especially Matt Belisle as he closes in on 80 innings as a set up man.

Turning Point: That would have to be Aaron Hill's two-out three-run homer off Belisle in the 8th that broke the 4-4 tie. What a heartbreaker that must have been for the "32,448" in attendance.

Jeff Francis' Line: 4 IP, 2 ER, 5 H, 0 BB, 0 K, 75 pitches (45 strikes)

Even without a walk or strikeout, Francis hit 75 pitches in four innings. But it's not like he got knocked around the park either based on the numbers. Kinda just shows again how silly a pitch-limit that low is. Let a man do his work and let those reliever catch a break. Geez.

Bullpen's Line: 5 IP, 8 ER, 11 H, 3 BB, 7 K, 1 HR

As referenced above, these guys had a rough go of it in the later innings which cost the Rockies a chance to steal one. Belisle is the one who took the loss... which was his 8th if you can believe that. On the plus side for Jim Tracy though... he got to use six relievers, and the one whose numbers stand out the most are Rob Scahill with 1 2/3 scoreless. His ERA remains 0.00 through four appearances.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Rock Solid Recrap: D-Backs 8, Rockies 7. So Close.... Yet Not Really

Diamondbacks 8, Rockies 7 (boxscore)

What Went Wrong: The Rockies were done in by two big offensive innings. The first was the 1st, which has been a problem for Rockies starters all season. Arizona scored three there against Jhoulys Chacin on a triple, two doubles and a single.

Arizona then put up a five-spot in the 5th against Carlos Torres, Josh Outman and Edgmer Escalona. That inning included four walks (none intentional) and was the turning point in the game.

Jhoulys Chacin's Line: 4 IP, 3 ER, 7 H, 2 BB, 2 K, 84 pitches (51 strikes)

Chacin rebounded from the rough start for a strong finish, but of course that early pitch count cost him the opportunity to work deeper in the game. I don't know for sure that he could have given Colorado another decent inning or two, but I long for the days when a professional pitcher in Colorado was given that chance. Don't you?

Highlight of the Night: Between Troy Tulowitzki and Carlos Gonzalez, we're likely to see a number of Todd Helton's records fall over the years. But it was Wilin Rosario who moved past his mark for home runs as a rookie with his 26th on Saturday night. Congrats to Wilin!

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Rock Solid Recrap: Rockies Embarrassed By D-Backs 15-5

Diamondbacks 15, Rockies 5 (boxscore)

What Went Wrong: In case you haven't noticed, the Rockies pathetic September play is no mirage... it's a trend. A really ugly, inexcusable, unacceptable trend.

Well, I should say unacceptable to us. It's perfectly acceptable to the Monforts and the people they trust to make baseball decisions.

I don't care who's hurt or how little this team has to play for in the standings, there's no excuse for not competing. But that's exactly what's going on right now. The Rockies are getting trounced and run in circles by playoff teams, mediocre teams, and it wouldn't surprise me next week if the awful Cubs did the same. At least they're competing. At least they're going at a team like the St. Louis Cardinals and making their life difficult.

I just want to feel like they're going to win a game. I'm not even sure if I care whether or not they actually do win, I just want to feel like they could. Would that be too much to ask for?

Drew Pomeranz's Line: 3 IP, 4 ER, 4 H, 5 BB, 4 K, 85 pitches (50 strikes)

Please, just shut the kid down already. His confidence appears to be shot... again. It's painful to watch. He's not giving the team a chance to win. Let him go sit and watch somewhere and let's pray we have people in place next season that can fix him and keep him fixed.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Rock Solid Recrap: Rockies Swept In De La Rosa's Return

Giants 9, Rockies 2 (boxscore)

What Went Wrong: We always go into these west coast series (especially in San Francisco) half-jokingly and half-seriously expecting the Rockies to get swept, but this wasn't even close or competitive on any level. What a lousy, embarrassing series that saw the Rockies outscored 24-7 over the four games.

But perhaps the worst thing we saw or heard today were these pregame comments from manager Jim Tracy.
I understand the comments likely didn't come in the context of 'can you explain why your team is limping to the finish line again', but come on, I'm tired of the excuse-making and bus-tossing from Mr. Clownshoes. It's old, it's tiresome, and it just shows again that he's not willing to accept responsibility for his own short-comings, of which they are many.

Were the 2010 and 2011 teams loaded with rookies too? Why did those teams completely mail it in in September? The way this team finishes (or doesn't finish) really has little to do with experience, but at some point has to begin reflecting on a manager that can never keep his team focused for 162 games, and also consistently puts his team in a position to fail. That includes over-managing and running his relievers into the ground setting them up for a brutal finish.

I'm so, so, so over this guy as the Rockies manager. Play the hand your dealt and make the team better. But this guy just isn't capable of doing either.

Turning Point: The Giants scored six runs with two outs in the 4th. The first of those runs scored on a wild pitch, which is maddening enough. Then came the walk to Angel Pagan. Then came the RBI single from Marco Scutaro. Then came the Pablo Sandoval three-run homer (off Edgmer Escalona) followed by Buster Posey's home run (off Edgmer Escalona).

What a fitting disaster inning for such a disaster series (season).

Rock Solid Recrap: Cained Again In San Francisco

Giants 7, Rockies 1 (boxscore)

What Went Wrong: The Rockies were playing the Giants in San Francisco. The Giants starting pitcher was Matt Cain. The odds of anything going right were slim and none, and slim left the building about three batters into the Giants half of the 1st. Clearly he or she had more important things to do.

Tyler Chatwood's Line: 4 IP, 3 ER, 8 H, 0 BB, 2 K, 1 HR, 84 pitches (56 strikes)

Coming into this game Tyler Chatwood's 1st inning ERA was an even 9.00 over his first nine starts. That number actually goes up after Pablo Sandoval's three-run homer. From there Chatwood had to work very hard and deal with constant traffic to limit the overall damage and keep the game close. To his credit, he accomplished that (and didn't walk anyone), but it's clear he has to do a better job coming out of the gate sharper and more focused so the team isn't always in comeback mode immediately and so he can finally start working deeper into games.

Bullpen's Line: 4 IP, 4 ER, 6 H, 2 BB, 5 K

Rough go again for Adam Ottavino as San Francisco touched him up for three runs in the 5th. That means he's now allowed 10 earned runs over his last 1 2/3 innings, raising his ERA from a very respectable 3.56 to 4.68. It's a damn shame, too, because along with Josh Roenicke and Matt Belisle he's been about as reliable as one can expect for a middle or setup reliever. He's just plain out of gas right now and his numbers are going to suffer for it.

Matt Cain's Line: 8 IP, 1 ER, 4 H, 4 BB, 8 K, 116 pitches (74 strikes)

Even on a night when he doesn't have good command, Cain makes the Rockies lineup like they belong in Modesto. Dominant to the point where it's unfair and slightly embarrassing.

Turning Point: Sandoval's three-run homer was the point of no return, but the Rockies did mount a little rally against Cain in the 5th when they scored the lone run and then loaded the bases with two outs. They even had the ideal man at the plate in the returning Carlos Gonzalez, but after a good battle he rolled over a grounder to second base and then Ottavino's rough 5th finished the game off.

Highlight of the Night: I didn't know what to expect from Carlos Goznalez tonight but he looked pretty healthy while making this fantastic running catch.

What's Next: Finally a game to look forward to! The return of Jorge De La Rosa will finally happen Thursday afternoon at 1:45 at AT&T Park. According to Troy Renck and others it will be the first of at least two starts for Jorge, which likely depends on how good he looks here. But here's to hoping he just looks healthy. Good pitching results would also be nice, but good health and clear confidence in his stuff outweighs that in my eyes.

Oh... yeah... he'll be opposed by Barry Zito (12-8, 4.21)

Final Thoughts: It was my duty once again this season to write the Rockies eulogy for Big League Stew. This year our theme was concession speeches, so for the first time ever I dabbled in something political and hopefully came up with something you'll enjoy and maybe even agree with while fitting within the guidelines.

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

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Rock Solid Recrap: Giants 6, Rockies 3. 15 To Go.

Giants 6, Rockies 3 (boxscore)

What Went Wrong: If you've seen one Rockies-Giants game from AT&T Park, you've seen them all. Misplayed flyballs into triples, wild pitches, caught stealings, former Rockies that stunk getting big hits and once great baseball players grounding into double plays for the Rockies. It's all there for you, but it's just a small portion of the usual problems.

Turning Point: 7th inning. Giants leading 3-0. Rockies loaded the bases with one out. In comes Jeremy Affeldt from the Giants bullpen. In comes Jason Giambi from the Rockies bench. One pitch. 4-6-3 double play. Rally dead. Baseball game essentially over.

So the question I ask you now is the one I sarcastically (I think) asked on Twitter: How long before the Rockies ink Giambi to that next one-year contract?

Jeff Francis' Line: 5 IP, 2 ER, 6 H, 1 BB, 3 K, 78 pitches (53 strikes)

Speaking of one-year contracts, I'd give one to Jeff Francis in a heartbeat. Francis has shown he has plenty left in the tank to be an above average bottom of the rotation guy, and as we've seen repeatedly over the years, you can never have enough starting pitching depth in New York, Detroit, Atlanta, anywhere, and that's especially true in Colorado.

Bullpen's Line: 3 IP, 4 ER, 6 H, 1 BB, 3 K

Really could have used one of those lights out nights from the bullpen, but instead we got a shaky Carlos Torres (1 ER), a sputtering Josh Roenicke (1 ER) and the usual Josh Outman (2 ER).

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Rock Solid Recrap: Giants 2, Rockies 1. Just Like Always.

Giants 2, Rockies 1 (boxscore)

What Went Wrong: One day after allowing 12 runs to the San Diego Padres at Petco Park and only losing by one run, the Rockies hold the mighty San Francisco Giants to two runs... and again lose by one run.

Bet nobody saw that coming.

And by nobody I mean everybody.

Turning Points: What makes a loss like this one all the more frustrating though is Madison Bumgarner walking five batters in six innings and the Rockies not making him pay for it.
  • Dexter Fowlers starts the game with a walk... and then he's caught stealing. 
  • Chris Nelson leads off the 2nd with a walk. Andrew Brown follows with a single. But that rally dies on a D.J. LeMahieu double play. 
  • Fowler and Josh Rutledge walk with one out in the 4th. Jordan Pacheco and Wilin Rosario fail to drive them in.
  • Andrew Brown walks in the 6th... caught stealing (picked off). 
Turning any single one of those walks into a run would have changed the entire outlook. Instead, Bumgarner gets off the hook repeatedly and the Rockies get absolutely nothing going against San Francisco's tough bullpen. Same result we've seen seemingly 1,000 times over the past few seasons against those guys.

Jhoulys Chacin's Line: 5 IP, 1 ER. 5 H, 1 BB, 2 K, 80 pitches (50 strikes)

Solid outing that very likely would have stretched out to an excellent outing with a couple more innings of work. But I'm just happy to see Jhoulys throwing this well and looking healthy because that's all that truly matters right now.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Rock Solid Recrap: Well, At Least They Outscored The Cowboys & Jets

Padres 12, Rockies 11 (boxscore)

What Went Wrong: Listen, anytime you score 11 runs and lose, it's obvious what went wrong. However, anytime you score 11 runs and lose at Petco Park, you've taken wrong to a whole new level of rotten. Eesh.

Alex White's Line: 4 IP, 3 R (2 ER), 4 H, 3 BB, 2 K, 81 pitches (41 strikes)

Lather. Rinse. Four innings. Nearly 50-50 strike-ball ratio. Repeat. Nothing to see here that you haven't already seen a dozen times.

Adam Ottavino's Line: 2/3 IP, 7 ER, 6 H, 1 BB, 1 K

Ottavino just didn't have it, and when you're married to this piggyback system you're pretty much screwed in this scenario. I mean where do you turn? The other piggybacks can't go today. You can't extend one of your late guys. As @Stars5Steve says on Twitter, you're managing to a system that creates little flexibility, not the game flow.

I couldn't think a dumber way to approach baseball than what the Rockies have been doing this season, and will do in an updated form next spring.

Turning Point: This one took some really wild turns: The Rockies scored five straight early to take a 5-1 lead. Then San Diego scored ten straight, including the eight-run 5th against Adam Ottavino and Matt Reynolds. And then in the 8th Colorado rallied for six thanks largely to Josh Rutledge's first career grand slam.

Rock Solid Recrap: Drew Pomeranz Continues To Scuffle

Padres 4, Rockies 3 (boxscore)

Drew Pomeranz's Line: 3 IP, 4 ER, 4 H, 2 BB, 3 K, 1 HR, 67 pitches (42 strikes)

Pomeranz just can't get it together, which almost makes me wonder if the Rockies should shut him down now, let him clear his mind and come back with a fresh start next spring. I know getting him the innings to develop and gain experience are important — which is why I hated the paired pitching system from the start — but I think enough might be enough already this season. His confidence is low, and there may not be much more to gain over the last 2 1/2 weeks.

Bullpen's Line: 5 IP, 0 R, 2 H, 4 K

Carlos Torres, Edgmer Escalona (he never goes away), Will Harris, Josh Outman and Josh Roenicke were marvelous and played a big role in the Rockies almost coming back here. Collectively, they were the Rockies biggest positive for about the 120th time this season.

Turning Point: There's a big difference between 1-0 and 4-0. That's why Jesus Guzman's three-run homer in the 3rd was the turning point.

Highlight of the Night: Two more hits for Chris Nelson, including this RBI double he ripped in Colorado's three-run 7th inning.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Rock Solid Recap: Rockies Settle In After Wild 1st To Beat Padres

Rockies 7, Padres 4 (boxscore)

Winning Players: Carlos Gonzalez & Chris Nelson

The Rockies got a monster performance from their lone all-star in this one. Gonzalez finished the night 4-for-5 (all 4 singles) at the plate and two stolen bases, which makes him the first Rockie ever to have three consecutive 20-20 (home run-stolen bases) seasons. That's kind of a big deal.

Nelson also had a spectacular offensive night, including a home run, double, single, two RBIs and one run scored. And then he flashed a little leather later on to rob Alexi Amarista of a sure hit. Big, big night for Nelly.

Honorable Mentions: Wilin Rosario (two-run 1st inning double) and Jordan Pacheco (two-run 1st inning double). Obviously both played a huge role in the five-run 1st inning that held up as the difference in the game.

Turning Point: I think I'm going to go back to Nelson's home run here. Yes, the Rockies scored five in the first, which ended up being enough, but the Padres did respond to that with four of their own in the bottom half. I think it was important after that for the Rockies to be the next team to score, and thanks to Nelson's home run in the 3rd, they were.

Also in consideration was Tyler Chatwood and Matt Reynolds stranding Cameron Maybin after his lead-off triple in the 4th.

Tyler Chatwood's Line: 3 2/3 IP, 4 ER, 5 H, 2 BB, 4 K, 1 HR, 72 pitches (44 strikes)

I don't care what the pitch limit might be at this time, when your offense gives you five runs in the 1st inning, you better find a way to last five and get a win. What a lost opportunity for to Chatwood to do not only that, but find a little more confidence and consistency as well. Disappointing outing.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Rock Solid Recrap: Rough First Inning Too Much To Overcome

Giants 8, Rockies 3 (boxscore)

What Went Wrong: We can pretty much narrow this down to San Francisco's five-run 1st inning against Jeff Francis. Though the 11 strikeouts from the offense and Dexter Fowler and Josh Rutledge combining to go 1-for-9 out of the top two spots in the order could also qualify as parts of the problem, especially considering Carlos Gonzalez and Wilin Rosario each reached three times behind them, including Rosario's 24th homer.

Turning Point: Gregor Blanco started the game with a triple. Marco Scutaro singled him home. The Giants rolled for four more runs, including three with two outs, and never looked back.

Jeff Francis' Line: 3 IP, 5 ER, 7 H, 0 BB, 5 K, 78 pitches (51 strikes)

The rough 1st inning put the Rockies behind the eight-ball and guaranteed a short evening for Francis. Pitching for a normal team, he may have been able to squeeze out two or three more innings based on how strongly he recovered in the 2nd and 3rd. The Rockies, however, are not normal, so it just goes down as an awful outing and another taxing night on the bullpen.

Bullpen's Line: 6 IP, 3 ER, 8 H, 0 BB, 7 K

Adam Ottavino was solid, striking over four and allowing one run over three innings. It was Josh Roenicke who struggled the most, allowing two earned runs in the 9th. His ERA finally creeped over 3.00 after staying in the 2's basically all season.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Rock Solid Recrap: Rockies Start And Finish Strong, Still Lose

Giants 9, Rockies 8 (boxscore)

What Went Wrong: Basically everything from the 4th to 7th innings. Details to follow.

Jhoulys Chacin's Line: 4 IP, 4 ER, 6 H, 1 BB, 1 K, 1 HR, 71 pitches (46 strikes)

Chacin had it for three scoreless innings and then completely lost it in a four-run 4th, which included a TWO-out, THREE-run homer by Giants' starter Madison Bumgarner. That was brutal and unfortunately highlights the lack of focus we sometimes see from Chacin at inopportune times. You have to finish the pitcher off there and finish that inning, because not doing so absolutely changed the game.

Carlos Torres' Line: 2 IP, 4 ER, 4 H, 1 BB, 2 K

Torres has now allowed a run in seven of his last eleven appearances, but nine of those have multi-inning appearances and they've come just about every third day on average. I'm sure he's on fumes at this point.

Turning Point: Bumgarner's home run really was a game-changer, but the Rockies still had plenty of chances to recover. Unfortunately, Torres made that it more difficult with his poor outing, but Jim Tracy really deserves the majority of the blame for allowing Torres to hit for himself and strikeout in the 5th (he allowed two runs in the top half) when the Rockies had two runners on with two outs.

And that would really pay off so well for Colorado because Torres allowed those two extra runs in the 6th. If the Rockies get a hit there, they could have tied the game or even taken the lead. Instead, they find themselves down 8-5 and end up falling ONE run short.

Embarrassing management of the roster. It's September. The rosters are expanded, yet the Rockies still don't have enough flexibility to pull a reliever or pinch-hit in the middle innings when there's a chance to turn a game around with one freakin' hit? Can you imagine being the Dodgers seeing that? Not that I care about the Dodgers one way or the other, but they're fighting for a division and the team they're fighting with essentially has a win handed to them because another major league team is pushing a flawed system over trying to win games.

I say it again. Embarrassing.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Rock Solid Recap: Rockies Win Behind Alex White's Bat And Arm

Rockies 6, Giants 5 (boxscore)

Winning Player: Alex White 4 IP, 1 ER, 6 H, 0 BB, 2 K, 1 HR, 76 pitches (47 strikes)

I give White the nod for two reasons.

1) His pitching performance was a big step in the right direction compared to his recent outings. Look no further than the walk column for evidence of that, because it's the first time in 11 starts (June 20) that he's put a zero there.

2) Watch Alex White's first career home run

Overall it was a very productive night for White, but more importantly it felt like a meaningful one. More of these in the future would be welcomed.

Honorable Mentions: Rafael Betancourt (perfect 9th to earn the save, only Rockie pitcher to not allow a run), Tyler Colvin (two hits, one run, one blunder) and Chris Nelson (triple, run, RBI).

Turning Point: Matt Belisle, like the rest of the Rockies bullpen save for Rafael Betancourt, didn't have his best stuff, but he was still able to escape a potentially disasterous situation in the 8th inning.

After allowing a walk, single, and run scoring double to Angel Pagan, Belisle was left to face Marco Scutaro and Pablo Sandoval with the tying and go-ahead runs in scoring position. He would retire Scutaro on a groundball to Jordan Pacheco, which was a very nice play on his part. He then got Sandoval to hit a lazy flyball to left field, ending the inning, and proving once again that despite the enormous workload (over 70 appearance three straight years) he's about as reliable as they come in any bullpen role.

Monday, September 10, 2012

A Double Rock Solid Recrap With Errors... Lots Of Errors

Game 1: Phillies 3, Rockies 2 (boxscore)

What Went Wrong: I think we saw this game before. Oh yes, it was Friday when the Rockies also scored two runs early, stopped scoring, blew the 2-0 lead, and then lost 3-2 in the 9th to the Phillies. Mhm. Same script. Same result. Including two wins for Jonathan Papelbon. Bleh.

Turning Point: 9th inning with Philadelphia hitting. The Rockies had just elected to intentionally walk Chase Utley to put runners at 1st and 2nd with two outs. Acceptable strategy implemented there by Mr. Tracy to give his team more options to record the third out. Problem is, with Ryan Howard hitting, Wilin Rosario wiped that strategy out by committing yet another passed ball (I've lost count of the official number - it's too damn high). That put the winning runner (Nate Schierholtz, of course) at third. Howard is intentionally walked to load the bases to again give them more options defensively, but also zero margin for error.

Then this happened.

Phenomenal effort there by Carlos Gonzalez, it just wasn't in the script for him to make that catch.

Tyler Chatwood's Pitching Line: 5 IP, 2 ER, 3 H, 4 BB, 2 K, 76 pitches (41 strikes)

Poor command and walks aside, Chatwood was pretty effective this afternoon. And that's pretty much him in a nutshell this season. He'll flash some promise but it's always marred by inconsistency and inability to throws strikes. He, like the other young Rockies starters, needs to clean that up before he can take the next step forward.

Tyler Chatwood's Batting Line: 2-for-2, RBI

Well, there's no doubt Chatwood had confidence at the plate today, raising his season average to .300 with these two hits. The RBI was the first of his career.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Rock Solid Recrap: A True Jim Tracy Classic

Phillies 3, Rockies 2 (boxscore)

What Went Wrong: Oh man, that was a fun one, wasn't it?


The offense, bullpen and Jim Tracy ruined your night?

Yeah, I understand. They probably would have ruined mine too if I wasn't too busy watching the Pittsburgh Pirates commit a ridiculous seven errors against the Cubs. But you don't care about that one. You want to read about the Rockies offense snapping its 19-inning scoreless streak with a two-run first... and then starting a brand new 8-inning streak by not scoring the rest of the game.

Or better yet, you want to read about the Rockies overworked bullpen losing its 20-inning scoreless streak thanks in part to Carlos Torres allowing a pair of 7th singles, and thanks in part to, in my opinion, unnecessary tinkering by Jim Tracy.

With expanded rosters and extra relievers at his disposal, this is the time of year where Jim really gets to be himself. I'll let you decide if that's a good thing or not overall, but he probably would have been better served to let Torres work out of his own jam (he needed one out), as he has done many times in the piggyback role, rather than going to Matt Reynolds against Chase Utley. The result of that plate appearance was a walk, which is better than a home run I guess, but Tracy was again forced to make a change to Josh Roenicke as the inning continued,

Charlie Manuel countered that change by pinch-hitting Laynce Nix for Ty Wigginton. Bam, Nix drops a two-run double and it's tied at 2.

Now obviously I can't guarantee you things would have gone better had Torres remained in the game. But I do know that two innings later the Rockies were forced to use Will Harris in the 9th (since Tracy likes to save his closer for the save chance on the road), and predictably bad results materialized. I just didn't like any of it (including the awful failed hit-and-run with pinch-runner Andrew Brown and D.J. LeMahieu hitting in the 9th) and I don't care if it sounds like second-guessing.

PS: We need to get Nate Schierholtz out of the National League. Now!

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Rock Solid Recrap: Offense Disappears As Rockies Find Yet Another Way To Lose

Braves 1, Rockies 0 (boxscore)

What Went Wrong: Thursday afternoon was a replay of Wednesday night, only with the Rockies finding a more creative way to lose.

Yes, they again lost 1-0 on an unearned run, making them the first team since the Kansas City Royals on July 23 & 24 of 1987 to lose back-to-back games without allowing an earned run, and this time the error was Jhoulys Chacin completely whiffing on a simple throw back from Wilin Rosario, allowing Juan Francisco to hustle home from third. 

Watch and cringe:  


Offensively, Tim Hudson shut the Rockies out for seven innings, allowing six hits and two walks. Three of those six hits belong to Charlie Blackmon, who also added a fourth in the 9th. Good afternoon for him, but he had no assistance whatsoever.

Turning Point: See, watch and cringe.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Rock Solid Recrap: If You Like Offense, Look Away Right Now

Braves 1, Rockies 0 (boxscore)

What Went Wrong: Well, the first thing would probably be the Rockies going hitless against Mike Minor until Jordan Pacheco's single leading off the 7th inning. That's obviously a discouraging occurrence for an offense. The second thing would be only adding one more hit after the first hit. Of course they did draw six walks in the game, which is on the plus side, but they couldn't put enough of those together to create one or two measly runs.

On the flip side, Colorado's pitching staff would combine to allow seven walks, which is a disturbing number.  Amazingly, Atlanta only turned that into one run because they also struggled to come up with hits (only four). So basically this was a slow, ugly, and at times difficult to watch baseball game, and the end result didn't make it worthwhile.

Turning Point: As unappealing as it was, this was still an evenly played game throughout. The only play that separated them was Josh Rutledge's 4th inning throwing error as he attempted to turn a rally-killing double play. Rutledge's throw sailed wide of Jordan Pacheco and ended up hitting the fencing in front of the first base dugout. This allowed Chipper Jones to stroll home with the lone run.

Worth mentioning that was Freddie Freeman with the big league takeout slide at second. Sometimes those make all the difference in a tightly contested game.

Alex White's Line: 4 IP, 1 ER, 2 H, 4 BB, 0 K, 71 pitches (32 strikes)

That ball-strike ratio is embarrassing. I will argue forever the four-man rotation/pitch count that is now strictly a pitch count is doing no good for the Rockies young pitchers, but it's also past time for Alex White to start throwing strikes consistently. You can't trust a pitcher in any type of role if they aren't throwing strikes. That goes for any level of play.

July & August Player Rankings

Unfortunately (or maybe not) I didn't have a chance to do a thorough review of the Rockies July. I'm also a little pressed for time when it comes to doing a thorough review of August, but I will make some time for my favorite of those reviews (the player rankings). '

The following rankings will cover both July and August. It's based on my opinions only, but I look at several different things (offense, defense, pitching, baserunning, poise, consistency, intelligence and ability to change a game) while formulating it. So here we go... ranking all Rockies who suited up in July and August. Well, aside from those who were traded or made very brief cameos (Tommy Field and Edwar Cabrera).
  1. Adam Ottavino
  2. Wilin Rosario
  3. Josh Rutledge
  4. Eric Young Jr.
  5. Rafael Betancourt
  6. Jordan Pacheco 
  7. Carlos Gonzalez
  8. Josh Roenicke
  9. Dexter Fowler
  10. Tyler Colvin
  11. Matt Belisle
  12. Carlos Torres
  13. Chris Nelson
  14. D.J. LeMahieu
  15. Jeff Francis
  16. Rex Brothers
  17. Tyler Chatwood
  18. Jhoulys Chacin
  19. Michael Cuddyer
  20. Alex White
  21. Todd Helton
  22. Andrew Brown
  23. Guillermo Moscoso
  24. Jonathan Herrera
  25. Drew Pomeranz
  26. Will Harris
  27. Matt Reynolds
  28. Ramon Hernandez
  29. Jason Giambi
  30. Mike Ekstrom
  31. Charlie Blackmon
  32. Christian Friedrich
  33. Matt McBride
  34. Jonathan Sanchez
  35. Edgmer Escalona
Based on workload and production, Ottavino was pretty much a no-brainer in the top spot. He has taken his hybrid role and run with it, making the Rockies front office almost smart in the process. That's tough to do.

The rest of the top 5 was difficult. I went with Rosario second because his development behind the plate has been encouraging, and he's already a game-changer offensively with more room to grow. Josh Rutledge is just a ballplayer, plain and simple. EY2 could have easily taken the #2 slot had he not been injured. He was playing like a man possessed before that. And Rafael Betancourt has remained on point in the 9th inning.

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

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Rock Solid Recap: Rockies Bats, Bullpen Carry The Load

Rockies 6, Braves 0 (boxscore)

Winning Players: The Bullpen 6 IP, 4 H, 1 BB, 8 K

Another dominant performance from the Rockies bullpen with Carlos Torres leading the way again in the piggyback role. He allowed three hits over three innings while striking out three and continues to be, along with Adam Ottavino, the most pleasure surprises on the pitching side this season. Torres then gave way to Rex Brothers, who was flat filthy in two innings, striking out four and walking one. Matt Belisle put the finishing touches on Atlanta with a strong 9th.


Turning Point: Well, since only one team scored, I'd say the first run of the game was very important. That was produced by the bat of Carlos Gonzalez, who connected for his 22nd home run.

One inning later, Jordan Pacheco would hit his 4th of the season to make it 2-0. That was also very important.

Then again, you could easily argue the disastrous double play that killed a potential rally for Atlanta in the 6th inning was the most important of all important plays.

I think Fredi Gonzalez stole a page from the Jim Tracy playbook with that call. What in the blue hell was he thinking?

Monday, September 3, 2012

Rock Solid Recrap: Labor Day Circus

Braves 6, Rockies 1 (boxscore)

What Went Wrong: Geez, I know it was a quick turn around and all but did the Rockies not get any sleep on the plane or at the hotel overnight? Just take a look at some of the crap they served up this afternoon

That was just the 1st inning. How about the 3rd?

Been awhile (couple weeks anyway) since I've had full blown circus music playing in my head while watching the Rockies. As catchy as that can be, I'd much rather have a Justin Bieber song in my head.

Turning Point: The Rockies - a professional baseball team - didn't show up ready to play. No turning point, just several embarrassing ones.

Tyler Chatwood's Line: 3 IP, 6 R (5 ER), 2 H, 5 BB, 2 K, 74 pitches (41 strikes)

Walks, wild pitches, errors and other defensive miscues defined Chatwood's outing today. I mean just look at the run column and then look at the hit column. I haven't seen anything like that since high school. Or maybe it was Little League. Regardless of the embarrassing defense behind him, Chatwood beat himself today, plain and simple, and needs to start throw strikes consistently, not three out of every five starts.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Rock Solid Recap: Rockies Win Ugly Sunday Rubber Match

Rockies 11, Padres 10 (boxscore)

As well played as the first two games were, this one was every bit as ugly. And I'm not just talking about from a pitching standpoint. It was sloppy baseball in general, and that made it quite a chore to sit through despite the offensive fireworks and positive result.

Winning Player: Chris Nelson

Nelly only had one of the Rockies 11 hits, but it was the biggest in the game. It came in the 7th with Colorado trailing 9-7. Tyler Colvin had just sacrificed the tying runs into scoring position (because Jim Tracy is a genius or something), and Nelson said screw that, skip, I'm here to win. So he launched a three-run homer to straight away center to recapture the lead.

Honorable Mentions: Dexter Fowler (three hits, two RBIs) and Jordan Pacheco (two hits, two RBIs and two runs)

Turning Point: The Rockies had two big innings offensively, and need every bit of both to pull out this win. Of course one of those was the 7th thanks to Nelson's home run. The other was a seven-run 3rd in which they scored six more two-out runs. I swear they've doubled their season total of two-out runs in the last two days alone. And it's no surprise at all that they have won both of those games.

Jeff Francis' Line: 3 2/3 IP, 6 R (5 ER), 10 H, 0 BB, 4 K, 1 HR, 80 pitches (55 strikes)

This looked a lot like his return start back on June 9. The Angels peppered him for 10 hits (all singles) in 3 1/3. Today, San Diego threw a home run and a double in there, but it was mostly Francis getting peppered by singles, and he also didn't get much help from his defense. Indecisiveness, sloppy technique, and missed cutoff men were abound, and each 90 feet allowed proved to be costly in one way or another.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Rock Solid Recap: Jhoulys Dominated And Then Dexter Slammed The Door

Rockies 9, Padres 1 (boxscore)

Winning Player: Jhoulys Chacin 7 IP, 1 ER, 5 H, 2 BB, 4 K, 1 HR, 75 pitches (53 strikes)

To say Chacin pounded the strike zone tonight would be an understatement. What a fantastic outing that only  saw him make one mistake, which of course Will Venable hit over the scoreboard in right for homer. That aside, Chacin was effective, extremely efficient, and more importantly than that, looked confident (and looks healthy). It looks like we might have something to truly look forward to every fifth day in September. 

PS: Chacin is the first Rockies starter to go 7 innings since Christian Friedrich back on June 4 (half a season ago). 

Honorable Mentions: Josh Rutledge (three hits, one run) and Tyler Colvin (home run, double, three RBI). 

Both of these guys keep on hitting and producing. Thinking about them in a lineup with Troy Tulowitzki, Carlos Gonzalez, Dexter Fowler and Wilin Rosario for years to come makes me as giddy as one can be while still fully understanding this team isn't set up to win anytime soon.  

Turning Point: The Rockies jumped out to a 5-0 lead thanks to some good two-out hitting. That started right away in the 1st inning when Carlos Gonzalez doubled and then Wilin Rosario knocked him in with a single. They would then add three more two-out runs in the 5th thanks to Tyler Colvin's two-run double and Chris Nelson's RBI single. And who knows, that inning could have been even more productive had Jim Tracy not gone to the Little League playbook with the old 1st-and-3rd steal a run double steal with Nelson on first and Jordan Pacheco on third.

That failed miserably, and probably will most times unless you have an EY2 or Dexter Fowler running at third or you're facing a team below rookie ball level.

Rock Solid Recrap: Rockies Close Surprisingly Successful August With Loss

Padres 5, Rockies 4 (boxscore

What Went Wrong: Not a lot, really. I felt like both teams played a solid and watchable game, which is not often the case from 4th and 5th place teams on the final day of August. The Padres just played a little bit better, as they have been overall over the past month, and eeked out the win.

Turning Point: Again, a pretty straight forward game that was well played but didn't have a lot of eb and flow. San Diego jumped out 3-0 in the first three innings thanks to a Carlos Quentin solo homer and RBIs from Logan Forsythe and Chase Headley. The Rockies chipped away, mostly with solo homers of their own (Jordan Pacheco, Wilin Rosario and Andrew Brown) but San Diego stayed at least one step ahead until the 27th out.

Alex White's Line: 3 2/3 IP, 3 ER, 4 H, 3 BB, 2 K, 1 HR, 76 pitches (49 strikes)

White snapped his string of four inning starts at five, so that was different. Unfortunately, he's only gone past the magical four inning mark one time in his last 10 starts, so that's pretty bad. I guess that's why the Rockies see him in the hybrid role next season. Personally, I still see him as a third or fourth starter on a major league team. If the Rockies ever go back to being one of those, he could still be useful.

Bullpen's Line: 5 1/3 IP, 2 ER, 5 H, 3 BB, 2 K

I hope they all enjoyed their day off. They only have one more (Sept. 13) until the end of the season.