The one thing I've attempted to keep in perspective throughout this great stretch of winning is that there still hasn't been enough solid baseball being played by the Rockies.
The late heroics have done a good job masking the fact that the Rockies played like a team that should have been 4-6 or 5-5 on the homestand. It would be iresponsible to ignore that. By the same token, it should be pointed out that the offense did such a fantastic job that a couple more executed pitches could have resulted in 10-0.
So with the good comes the bad, and vice vera. Today, unfortunately, there was too much bad to overcome.
Aside from Hammel (2 starts) and Jimenez (vs St. Louis) there weren't a lot of good things to say about the Rockies starters on the homestand. Francis continued his personal struggles today with a 34 pitch first inning that he was lucky only resulted in one run. That set another poor tone for himself and the team.
Granted Francis battled, exiting with only three runs to his credit in five innings, but he allowed 12 baserunners in those innings, and was assisted by a little luck on two seprate well struck balls on the infield. Both were ticketed for centerfield. One he knocked down with his glove, the other aided by a San Diego hit-and-run that had the ball and Clint Barmes arriving to the bag at the same time.
It could have been a lot worse. Jim Tracy really rolled the dice sticking with him. I figured the leash would be much shorter, especially after that first inning. The gamble kind of paid off, or at least it didn't blow up in his face.
Regardless, it wasn't pretty.
Any questions I had about Jim Tracy's using Jhoulys Chacin properly in the bullpen were answered today. They were answered very negatively.
It was a good spot to insert Chacin in the 6th inning of a tie game. Don't get me wrong on that. Once the Rockies took the 6-3 lead, though, and with Chacin having only allowed a bloop single to Gonzalez and a broken bat single to Hairston, I thought it was pretty stupid to yank Chacin just for the sake of turning around Chase Headley.
This kid was easily your third best starter the entire first half of the season. It's his second inning of work. He has a three run lead. You're honestly telling me just because he's a reliever now, he's not a better pitcher to have on the mound than Randy Flores in that spot? Really?
How is Chacin supposed to take that? How are we as fans supposed to take that?
To me it says I don't believe this kid can make the right pitches in the situation because it's the 7th inning, not the 2nd inning. And to me, that's incredibly stupid.
To compound it, Tracy knew he didn't have Huston Street today, so extending Chacin there makes a world of sense on so many different levels. Instead you're burning one arm that can give you multple innings, you burn through Flores on two pitches, and here we are back to Matt Belisle working mulitple innings again because you want to save Beimel and Betancourt.
I hate mixing and matching!
It was a terrible error. No way around it. He was indecisive and panicked. The mind was saying one thing, the body was caught doing something else, and the whole thing went downhill.
He made his pitches -- again. He was on the cusp of working his usual magic. He just wasn't mentally prepared to make the play. I don't know what they discussed at the meeting on the mound just before that, but sadly it wasn't made clear what he should do on a ball right back to him.
Shame it had to play out that way.
I know I need a break.
The Rockies find themselves two games out of first place. Not bad.
They also find themselves no worse than tied with LA and two games up on San Francisco. That's excellent. I still think those are the two teams who will make the Rockies sweat the most down the stretch.
San Diego played a great first half. They avoided the injury bug for a big portion of it, but guess what? Venable is on the DL now. Eckstein was banged up. Now it's being report that both Mat Latos and Mike Adams will hit the DL.
They still have a long way to go in catching the Rockies early season injury list, but yeah, if those guys both hit the DL, best of luck to San Diego the last 2 1/2 months.
I'll be posting some stuff here and there over the next four days, so be sure to check back if you get a chance. Otherwise, we'll talk at you all again in a few days.