Baseball is a frustrating game. It simply is. The best in the world fail one out over 3 times. The best pitchers still give up 2 runs a game. And as I am fond of saying, even the best lose at least 50 games a year. It really is the perfect metaphor for life, from the long duration beginning with promise and lots of young players in the first Spring Training games to the aging of the season with teams limping to the finish. And the knowledge that even the best most victorious seasons (of life) require a renewed effort at success.
I know, shut up Doc we just want a game preview.
Okay but one of the best things about baseball is that when you fail you get to try again the next day. Unless right now you are the Rockies.
They lose a painful game to the Giants and are weatherd out the next day.
They lose two miserable games to the Dbacks and have a long off-day to think about it (in San Diego I grant you – got to suffer, that isnt a bad spot).
And then after a sweep in San Diego, where the team had chances to win the last two games (chances) they come to Coors looking to ignite the bats and get back to winning.
And then the Rockies become engulfed in a tropical monsoon, and have to wait.
And what news do they get on that off-day? That the man who has a chance to be the best closer in Rockies history is done for the season. And part of next. With everybody’s least favorite surgury up-coming – the old Tommy John. As our friends at Purple Row put it, “The Rockies just can’t have nice things.” Earlier this year I wrote whether it made sense to lock-up Zero with a nice team-friendly deal to buy out arbitration and give him the confidence that comes from financial security. Of course then I pointed out the risk is injury. And there we have it.
And so the Rockies are as depressing right now as at any point lately.
A decent 11-10 April has welcomed in May with nothing but losses and now sit at 11-13. They have a lineup that hasn’t been nearly good enough. They have played rotten defense. Their best young pitching prospects, both at the Rox level or the minors are all struggling, and now Zero will have Zero more saves for a while. What a rotten Monday. Oh, and they have to face Josh Collmenter, who essentially has stolen the bats of the Rockies and locked them up in a Swiss bank safety desposit box. Ugggh.
Now for good news. It is just May 5th. They have played just 9 at home and 15 on the road. They have not gotten hot at home yet. They still have not hit at home yet. And their very good bullpen to start the season does have depth and the days off may, operative word may, give them a chance to get back to their bad old selves. Oh, and having a guy who has closed before, two of them actually, makes Zero’s loss more tolerable.
Another important point. The National League this year isn’t great. I thought the Cards, Dodgers and Nationals would run away with it and the Pirates and Marlins and Mets would battle for the Wild Card. But that is why they play the game. The Dodgers have pitching depth issues as well (though having a guy like Kershaw and Greinke at the top makes it all the depth issues a little easier to swallow). The Cards lost Wainright to a nasty injury (a class guy by the way, hate when bad things happen to good guys, even on the other team), and the Nats still don’t seem like they can play up to their potential and great pitching depth can disappear in a snap. So, if they can get this righted, the Rox can still be playing some interesting games in August and maybe September. I still think they can win 78 games. But they must be better.
If the rain, rain, goes away, then maybe they can play tonight’s game. And start to find their rhythm. I wonder if now that the first manager of the year has been fired if Walt Weiss is going to have to win or go home. Just a thought. Only a few managers actually make a big difference in a team’s performance, and unless Bruce Bochy or Mike Socia wants to live in a much nicer place and follow all the other Californians here and mange the Rox, it probably doesn’t matter much. Much.
So, to tonight’s maybe game.
Starting tonight is Tyler Matzek, who was having a good game last Monday when he felt a cramp in his hamstring. Taken out for caution he hasn’t pitched now in 7 days. Historically Tyler does his best with just 5 days off, so this will be interesting, especially knowing his issues with control so far this year. But Tyler has actually had a nice run of holding team’s to less than 3 runs, though it has been in fewer innings than they need. They need to get minimum 6 and start seeing 7 or 8, as we saw last year from Tyler.
I already mentioned that the lineup has not been as dynamic as it should be given the quality of hitters. There are two big reasons for this.
First, the big three veterans – Tulo, CarGo, and Morneau have either been poor (CarGo), slow-starting (Morneau) or just okay (Tulo). I do not think that CarGo is done by the way. There are plenty of people saying that he will never hit .300 or 15 homers again. April is his worst month. And he is just coming off missing just about a year-and-a-half. They have been average at best. They need to be more than average if this team can win close to 80 games.
Then there is the bigger issue. They do not get more than a hit an inning right now. Or mix hits and walks. They are relying too much on homeruns. And they are hitting horribly with 2-outs (.245/.308/.704). That has to change. That is similar to their road numbers (.258/.297/.725). Enough said.
The Rox faced Collmenter a week ago. Maybe they can learn to hit him this time. I don’t thing that he is really going to win a Cy Young this year. Unless he faces only the Rockies.
Inciarte, LF Blackmon, CF
Trumbo, RF Tulowitzki, SS
Goldschmidt, 1B Dickerson, LF
Pollack, CF Arenado, 3B
Tomas, 3B Monrneau, 1B
Hill, 2B CarGo, RF
Pacheco, C Hundley, C
Ahmed, SS Matzek , P
Collmenter, P DJ , 2B