Jhoulys Chacin went out and did his duty throwing up doughnuts over eight innings on only 95 pitches. Rex Brothers lost the shutout on a lead off home run by Buster Posey in the ninth inning. He then finished off the Giants for a 4-1 victory. Arizona lost enabling the Rockies and San Diego to gain a game on the leaders. The Rockies improved to 40-41 at the exact halfway point of the season.
D.J. LeMahieu started the game with a single and stole second base before CarGo doubled him home for the first run. The final three runs for the home team came on back to back homers by “Money” and “Baby Bull”. With the home run, “Money” extended his own club record hitting streak to 25 games.
It was disconcerting to see the Blake Street Bunnies put up 13 hits and pick up four free passes, but nothing to show for it other than the home runs. The team was 2 for 13 RISP which included a single where the runner stopped at third base. At one point, CarGo had the runners on the corners with just one out and grounded into a double play on the first pitch. Most of the hits and walks came after two outs.
The Rockies are at the midpoint of the season only one game under .500. Are they ahead of the preseason projections? Sure they are way ahead of our expectations. If the 40-41 first half record is repeated, they will end up with 80 wins and EdtheUmp will be called “OOOOUT” by the Las Vegas odds makers. He will be fined an undisclosed amount of money.
Is the team still teasing us with smoke and mirrors? The answer will come by late July or even at the end of our current 16 game string versus the NL West teams. The good is that they are playing in the win now mode rather than rebuilding for next year. The bad is they are very inconsistent. The irony is that the rotation is pitching way above the low bar while the batters are hitting way below the high bar. Glancing at the NL team stats, the offense is near the top in most categories. The problem lies with the inconsistency of the offense and too many runs have come via home runs or in blow outs. The most important statistic is RISP hitting which the Rockies sorely lack.
With Chacin, De La Rosa, Chatwood, Oswalt, and Pomeranz (hopefully) set for the rest of the year, the rotation will be very competitive with improved efficiency and consistency. On the other side of the coin, the bullpen has started to take on some water. The bullpen will be critical in the second half. It has a very good chance to bounce back with more length by the rotation members and them getting their health back. With the expected call up of the Pominator Sunday, it officially marks the end of a twice weekly throw away games with Jeff Francis, Jon Garland, and Juan Nicasio out of the picture. In the second half with no throw away games, the Rockies should be at least an above .500 second half team assuming the team is similar to the first half team.
The first half has been a period of fine tuning for the offense. We started the year with Chris Nelson and Josh Rutledge at third base and second base respectively along with EYJ who started too many games in the outfield. On top of this, various players have been dinged and nicked which caused the lineup to change daily making it difficult to get into a groove. “Money”, Tulo, and William whom were three of the Rox’ best four hitters, had to sit out some games. That had an effect on CarGo who has been striking out at the Adam Dunn/Mark Reynolds rate. They did discover that LeMahieu and Nolan Arenado are vast upgrades at third and second both offensively and defensively. The younger hitters like Baby Bull, Arenado, and LeMahieu are starting to get into the groove after readjusting to the pitchers.
The offense still has room for improvement if the brass can see a couple of things that the RWOers clearly knew for weeks. Toddfather needs to play a couple of games a week maximum. His age is showing against pitchers that bring the heat. Jordan Pacheco is not adequate offensively at first base. The quickest and easiest solution is to put Money at first base who will provide a lot of run production consistently. That opens the right field for competition. Colvin is showing that last year was a flash in the pan. Charlie Blackmon is borderline between AAA and the big league club. The front office have decided to move the outfielders through the minor ranks to improve the RF position by calling up Corey Dickerson and promoting Kent Mathes to Colorado Springs. When Tulo returns from his stint on the DL, it will be like a trade deadline acquisition without giving up anything. Finally, we all know Rutledge is not quite ripe for the major leagues. Put “Black Bean” at SS everyday until Tulo returns.
When everyone is healthy and playing everyday, the best lineup should look like this:
not Colvin RF
Chacin, DLR, Chatwood, Oswalt, Pomeranz
It is my belief that the Rockies are not the smoked and mirrored team as they seem to be. Actually the other NL West teams are the ones full of smoke and mirrors. My only concern is the brass sticking with Colvin, Rutledge, and Helton too long.
The Rockies begin the second half tomorrow at 2:10 pm MT with De La Rosa taking on Matt Cain. It is the second of 16 straight games against NL West rivals.