Friday, May 28, 2010

Rock Solid Recrap: Less Than Zero Margin For Error

That's what it must feel like to the Rockies when they meet up with the Dodgers.

Every misstep. Every error. Every lead-off walk. Every little blemish seems to turn a game under Rockies control to a Dodger victory. And the most frustrating thing about it is how easy the Dodgers can make it look.  It's almost as if they're toying with the Rockies at times.

They flip the switch on. Do just enough to take the lead. Flip the switch back off. Put the ball in the hands of their bullpen and hold on to a 1-2 run victory.

That's the formula they have concocted to beat the Rockies. You can't argue with its results: 17-5 since the beginning of 2009.

Dodgers 5, Rockies 4

Losing Player: Jeff Francis

Tough one for Jeff to take. He was in top form for five solid innings. Then, like Hammel yesterday, he began the sixth inning with a walk. Lead-off walks are never good. Lead-off walks against the Dodgers are deadly.

A double, sac fly, and another double, set the stage for Manny Ramirez.

By this point Jim Tracy had Matt Daley warming up. I couldn't tell you the exact moment Daley began tossing, but I can tell you it wasn't soon enough.

Francis took the AB with Manny, and whether it be fatigue or something else all together, he missed his spot badly on the first pitch. Olivo wanted it inside, Francis left it up and away, and Manny being Manny is smart enough to know what pitch to he needed to attack.

Manny simply extended his arms and easily poked one about three feet over the wall in the LA bullpen for the game deciding HR.  His first career HR is Coors Field, by the way.

A little second guessing.

There are a couple of different options Jim Tracy could have gone with there. The one he settled on had the worst odds for success in my view.

A tiring and reeling soft tossing lefty against a focused on going the other way Manny Ramirez is not going to work out very often for the lefty. That's either a place where you put up the four fingers, or you stall long enough to make the call to the pen.

Personally I'm putting up the four fingers because I like a Daley/Kemp & Daley Blake matchup far more than Daley/Manny and WAY WAY more than Francis/Manny with a base open.  Plus the walk should guarantee Daley is warmed up.

But that's just one situation in the game. It went wrong... very wrong, but there were other quality chances offensively for the Rockies to scratch across another run. It just didn't happen.

Now they must go back to the drawing board tomorrow with an up and down Aaron Cook facing a more established hurler in Hiroki Kuroda.

Kuroda and the Dodger lineup is a challenge itself, but it's clear the biggest challenge is planted deep within the Rockies minds when they face LA. Once they can beat that, they'll beat LA, because LA isn't a better team than Colorado.