Sunday, June 12, 2011

Rock Solid Recrap: Splitting headache

Yeah, splitting that four game series with the Dodgers was not what I had in mind, especially after the Rockies came out and played so well in the first two. Very, very frustrating results these past two days. A blown opportunity to not only gain on or stand their ground with the front-runners, but more importantly to me, create some space from a Dodgers team that I think has a good run in them during the second half of the season.

Dodgers 10, Rockies 8 (boxscore)

Ubaldo Jimenez: Listen, allowing three home runs is never a good thing for a pitcher. That much is pretty clear and obvious, but it's beyond the numbers to me. Where I'm more concerned is Ubaldo's confidence/mindset. Once something has gone wrong for him this season, like Ty Wigginton's error, he loses it. Fast. And he rarely gets it all back together.

That kinda tells me everything we've seen with him this season has been more mental than physical. I can't prove that. I'm not a licensed doctor or psychiatrist, but that's my diagnosis from afar. And I don't know how you can fix that if it really is the root of the problem. You can work on his mechanics. You can review scouting reports over and over. But how do you teach a pitcher to get over mental hurdles?

Bullpen: Well, we saw the entire lineup struggle together for a month, so it's only appropriate the entire bullpen struggles at the same time. Hopefully they get it straightened out a lot quicker than the offense did. And I don't mean to lump Rex Brothers in there because he's been excellent, but even he had a rough go of it today.

Ty Wigginton: I've seen enough of the limited range and routine grounders clanking off his glove. This team desperately needs to tighten up the defense. If that means bringing back Ian Stewart sooner than later, I'm all for it. Giving opponents extra outs and opportunities has to be addressed and eliminated. It's wearing on everybody.

Jonathan Herrera: The bloom is off the rose with Johnny, which is unfortunate, but not totally unexpected for a major leaguer who survives on guts, intelligence and ability to execute. I'm not saying he needs to go, because I don't think that's the case. But given how well Chris Nelson has played, and given the need for dynamic offensive performers, I'm not sure he's going to fit in if he's not excelling at the things he does best while in a bench role.

This could be a big week for him to get it turned around. And this is coming from Herrera's biggest supporter since he was called up last June.

Offense: All of the Rockies runs scored on homers. Seth Smith had a three-run shot in the 1st, which hopefully served as a reminder to Jim Tracy that he needs to play EVERY DAY. Carlos Gonzalez and Troy Tulowitzki each had two-run homers in the 7th, and then Todd Helton hit a solo shot in the 9th. 8 runs. That should have been enough, but once again, it wasn't.

Overall: Any confidence in the Rockies I had built up over their three-game winning streak is wiped away. Today was a big, big, big game in my mind, especially with Ubaldo out there, and they fell short. Yeah, it's promising the offense has turned it around, but we're learning again that the problems for this team run much deeper than one thing. On any given day, they can do a number of different things poorly that puts them in a position to lose.

Until all of those are cleaned up, the ups will always be followed with disappointing downs.

Lineup Card: 6-12-11 Rockies vs Dodgers

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.

A little slow on the trigger today. Hey, it's Sunday: We're allowed to sleep in and eat a late brunchfest every now and then!


Yesterday's recrap: Can't win if you can't pitch or catch


Colorado Rockies (31-33)
  1. CF Carlos Gonzalez
  2. 2B Jonathan Herrera
  3. 1B Todd Helton
  4. SS Troy Tulowitzki
  5. RF Seth Smith
  6. 3B Ty Wigginton
  7. LF Charlie Blackmon
  8. C   Jose Morales
  9. P   Ubaldo Jimenez
So yes, Jose Morales has become Ubaldo's personal catcher of late, which shows how predictable Jim Tracy can be. I don't have a problem with that if everyone is comfortable with the arrangement, but Morales kinda has to be better than he has been lately for it to work. 

Los Angeles Dodgers (30-36)
  1. SS Jamey Carroll
  2. 2B Aaron Miles
  3. RF Andre Ethier
  4. CF Matt Kemp
  5. 1B James Loney
  6. 3B Juan Uribe
  7. C   Rod Barajas
  8. LF Trent Oeltjen
  9. P    Rubby De La Rosa
A day off for Tony Gwynn Jr! Yes! 

Rock Solid Recrap: Can't win if you can't pitch or catch

Had a nice dinner with my dad for his birthday last night. Then I get home and my internet signal was a little choppy, so while I was able to catch most of the major moments in the game, I wasn't watching as intently as usual. Feel free to correct me on any thoughts that seem off.

But I don't think anyone can argue with this point: If you allow Jamey Carroll and Aaron Miles to go a combined 8-for-9 with 4 RBI, you most definitely deserve to lose.

Dodgers 11, Rockies 7 (boxscore)

Jason Hammel: Had a very average outing going for his 5+ innings before exiting with the sore lower back. Makes you wonder if his back was bothering from the get-go. Whatever the case, the injury doesn't sound like a huge problem right now, so we'll cross our fingers and hope for better next time around.

Bullpen: I think we should just demote all of them. What about you? It's just not tolerable for some of these guys to have a rough outing, much less two bad outings in a row like Matt Reynolds. Demote some of them. Release a couple more. Let's start fresh tomorrow with an all new seven.

If you haven't caught on to the sarcasm, this blog isn't for you. The bullpen had a rough night. It happens. Matt Reynolds, Clayton Mortensen, Matt Lindstrom, and even matt Belisle the night before, these guys have all done wonderfully for the Rockies. To get as worked up as some fans I saw on Twitter (when it was actually working) doesn't make sense.

No, Matt Reynolds doesn't need a minor league stint. No, Matt Lindstrom isn't garbage. Calm it down, folks. There's 98 games to go. Those guys are all going to be quietly great a lot more times than they'll be loudly awful over that timeframe.

Defense: Where do I even start?

First of all, as I mentioned in the Lineup Card, poor Jason Hammel was once again stuck with pretty much the worst feasible defensive alignment Jim Tracy could come up with.

Jason Giambi showed once again he is not a good defender or even an average defender. Any other opinion of the matter will not be acknowledged. Plain and simple.

Eric Young in the outfield needs to never happen again until he spends a whole year in the minors learning it. Sheesh his routes are terrible. And PLEASE don't think I'm taking this out on the player. He's just doing what he's told, and what he's being told is really stupid. Of course it's also the only thing keeping him the big leagues at this point, so it's a really, really tough spot for Young. It's a no-win situation for everybody, which should ultimately lead to him being traded if 2B never opens up.

And yet somehow Young looked a lot better than Matt Kemp did in the outfield. What the heck is his deal?

Oh, and yes, the Jonathan Herrera botch in the 9th inning was quite embarrassing for him and actually pretty costly for the team. Generally he's one of the smarter guys on the team, so his not knowing where to go with the ball in that spot shocked the hell out of me.

I didn't even specifically mention Troy Tulowitzki or Ty Wigginton, the two men who were actually charged with their two errors. That kinda shows how terrible this was overall.

Offense: It's back on track right now. Carlos Gonzalez, Jason Giambi, Troy Tulowitzki, Ty Wigginton and Charlie Blackmon all had multi-hit games. The seven runs they were able to produce should have been enough to extend the winning streak to four, but it wasn't.

Seth Smith: Jim Tracy already thinks Charlie Blackmon is a lot better than you! And apparently he thinks Eric Young is too. I don't necessarily disagree on the former, but come on Tracy, Smith needs to just play every single day.

Ryan Spilborghs: Can't even buy a start against a left-hander these days. That really has to suck.

Sunday afternoon: This is a big one for the Rockies and Ubaldo Jimenez. Despite the loss here, the team is taking more steps forward the backward this week. It would be huge to seal up this series victory over a division rival, as well as keeping Ubaldo's momentum going.