After a promising start to the four-game series against Washington with a 8-4 victory, Colorado skidded to a three-game losing streak. The Nationals were red-hot coming into Coors Field and they treated Coors as gasoline added to their flaming bats. They scored 15, 11, and 16 runs over the last three games of the series to hand Colorado yet another series loss at home. The Rockies are merely 2-2 in series play and 7-6 overall at home.
The theme was the same over the last three games: walking the opposing pitcher that blew up the inning and the pitching staff tried to nibble the plate to no avail. Washington is a very patient club and when the hitters had strike two on them, they laid off the nibbles and then dropped the hammers when a Rockies pitcher had to bring the ball back over the middle and up. It did not help that Washington was a well oiled machine at the right time in the right place. Their lineup had Trea Turner, Bryce Harper, Ryan Zimmerman, Dan Murphy, and company. They probably hit over .500 and slugged 1.000 as a group. They also had the pitching staff; even without Max Scherzer and Stephen Strasburg, they still had Tanner Roark, Joe Ross, and Gio Gonzalez on the bump against Colorado. Their only hole is their bullpen which was not needed this week.
Colorado heads to Phoenix for a three-game set starting Friday. It will be a challenge for the young rotation to bear down against Arizona. The Snakes’ offense is almost just as good as Washington’s offense and they play their games in a hitting park. Even without Shelby Miller, their rotation is still good with good talent coming up to join Zack Greinke, Pat Corbin, and Robbie Ray. They have Archie Bradley and JDLR in the bullpen to hand the ball to closer Fernando Rodney of the arrow shooting fame.
Colorado must be resilient since after a visit at San Diego, they will be home against the Cubs and Dodgers. It feels like the best teams are front-loaded in the Rockies’ schedule for the first month and a half of the season. If they come away with a .500 record in mid-May, they should be in great shape the rest of the season playing a softer schedule.
The bright spots of this dreary series against Washington were Tony Wolters and Pat Valaika. Wolters continues to hit like post ASB 2016. And Pat Valaika played both shortstop and outfield while mashing at the plate. He has a chokehold on the roster spot over Alexi Amarista and Cristhian Adames. The bench will only get better when all of the regular players that missed the month of April start coming off the disabled list. Tom Murphy swap with Dustin Garneau. Ian Desmond will make Amarista or Adames DFA’ed. David Dahl will join the team and add to the bench in a job share with Gerardo Parra. Mike Dunn will make Chad Qualls go away for once and for all (or Estevez/Gopherg optioned).
If you ask me, I put Ian Desmond in RF relegating CarGo to 4th outfielder role. Put Valaika in LF against southpaws. Bud Black will have a lot of options when he clears out the Amarista/Adames/3rd catcher/Cardullo. Replaced by Valaika/anybody that Desmond replace/Murphy/Dahl.
I guarantee you that BB is going to tell everyone in the rotation to stop nibbling and attack instead. Finish off the 2-strike counts. In addition, reduce the BB/9 rate in half. If Colorado follows this formula, they should be on the MLBN shows a lot more frequently.