Rox fall short in gopher-infested contest

On the surface, if I told you that we had 3 HRs off James Shields, and another HR later off Craig Kimbrel, and that we outhit the Padres 11 to 7, you’d think we had a pretty good day. Unfortunately, we have Kyle Kendrick, and the Padres have Justin Upton, and the Padres complete the sweep of the Rox with an 8-6 loss.

I’m starting to wonder if Kendrick means “six runs or more” in Klingon. On the plus side, he yielded no walks, but he teed up quite a few balls. In Justin Upton’s first three ABs, he hit the ball like 1170 feet. The first was a no-doubter to left, after a Matt Kemp HBP. The second, after a phantom Matt Kemp HBP that was off the knob of the bat, was only about 5 feet short of the CF wall and less than 5 inches from being caught by Charlie Blackmon. The third was smoked into the left center gap with Cory Spangenberg on. In that AB, Kendrick probably should have just pitched around Upton with two outs. The pitch Upton hit wasn’t terrible, low outside corner, but he could still reach it and did something with it.

Kendrick also completely teed up a ball for Derek Norris. In short, when the Padres had people on base, they scored. Kendrick exited after 5 innings, again leaving a pen short to fend for themselves. Friedrich and Brown both yielded single runs.

But for me, that wasn’t the difference. 3 of the 4 Rox HRs were of the solo variety. The normally reliable DJ LeMahieu, who I spent the morning extolling the virtues of, had a tough day, missing a critical hit-and-run attempt. Carlos Gonzalez whiffs three times in the 4 hole. With James Shields in trouble and finally out of the game, Troy Tulowitzki came off the bench in the 6th with bases loaded, and promptly fired at the first pitch, weakly popping it up to short.

That resulted in this Twitter exchange:

What they are alluding to is the RE24 stat, or run expectancy. It allocates a higher value to runs scored in plate appearances with people on base. The Rox are terrible, near the bottom of the NL – and the Padres are first. In some ways, it’s a more advanced measure than the ones I reviewed this morning.

I’m not one to quibble with sabermetricians, but there is such a thing as situational hitting. RE24 measures a bad outcome for Tulo, and it captures that we have a lot more bad outcomes than good ones. What it doesn’t measure is the fact he was first pitch swinging on a ball off the inside of the plate. You wait for your pitch in that situation. I would have been happy with a sac fly, or just a seeing eye single, which would have been low on the RE24 scale. Runs, by any means. It also applies to missed hit-and-runs, or just generally a bad approach with swinging at pitches out of the zone.

But not to hang it all on Tulo. We missed several opportunities today, again going 0-for-7 with RISP. This was a patchwork lineup without Tulo and Morneau, and with CarGo mostly MIA. Kendrick put us in a hole again. We have to get someone else, DLR probably, into the #1 matchup to have a chance on days like this. We actually got more than expected.

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Gary
Gary
5 years ago

I don’t need sabermetrics to tell me we should have been more active over the winter.In response to earlier thread-I’d bat DJ lead off,Blackmon second and Cargo eight or ninth.

roxnsox
roxnsox
5 years ago

OK. Bitter as lemon tastes, I am going to join the club on Tulo. As great as he is (was?), as much as the excitement was the highest I’ve ever seen on a draft pick – who rocketed through the minors and gave us so much for a good long while – he’s not earning his money in the clutch. (Duh.) I’ve been a staunch supporter and a fan because of the previous and because I am loyal to a… Read more »

roxnsox
roxnsox
5 years ago

PPS. Maybe #AreNada (my fave from the ones they were putting up) can be our long-time no-fail home-growner. Ahh, wait… Boras.

RocketMan
RocketMan
5 years ago

$30 million a year ought to buy us more than 3Ks and a first pitch pop-up. I agree–the 8 hole would be a good spot for Cargo right now. Why oh why would you put a .200 hitter with a penchant for bad strike-outs in the clean-up spot? Even for a Rockies extra-special Sunday lineup. I noted the Root team confessed that the Rocks haven’t won a game yet on the weekend. Wonder why…..

Agbayani
Agbayani
5 years ago

Dinger, I’m no sabermetrician, but I am certainly a student of sabermetrics, and I can attest that it’s not true that sabermetricians think there’s no such thing as situational hitting. We might be mixing up two things here: (1) situational hitting (hitting the ball to the right side to advance a runner from 2nd to 3rd, etc.), vs. (2) clutch hitting. Clutch hitters probably do exist, but the effect is small and is almost always grossly overplayed in popular accounts… Read more »

Bob K.
Bob K.
5 years ago
Reply to  Agbayani

In his early years, batting Cargo first always seemed to get him out of his slumps. It seems that Cargo has been going downhill ever since he tweaked his knee early in the season. I believe that his knee is at the root of his bad hitting.

Phil
Phil
5 years ago

It was painful to watch every game of this road trip, though they won the first game as they sometimes do and then lose the rest. Spilly is holding back his disgust on the post game shows. Must be difficult not to just explode on how some players looked lost at the plate on this trip.

Julian
Julian
5 years ago

Kind of off topic, but it’s so aggravating to look at the baseball box scores this morning. Belisle and Scahill both have ERAs under 1.00 and are pitching in high leverage situations for St. Louis and Pittsburgh respectively. Belisle looked washed up for us, and not worth the money to resign, but here he is pitching very well in the 8th inning for the best team in baseball. We DFA’d Scahill, so that we could sign Jorge Rondon. How’d that… Read more »

roxnsox
roxnsox
5 years ago
Reply to  Julian

I’ll hope for the rain to finish before then, Julian! Have fun, enjoy, and STOP READING THE BOX SCORES about former Rockies 🙂 A sure way to pour salt in a wound.

Gary
Gary
5 years ago
Reply to  Julian

I live for the box scores every morning.Scahill was walked off on at least once and is 0-2.But I could have pitched as good as Rondon with my 69 year old dead arm and Knuckle ball.

sabrchip
sabrchip
5 years ago

Hey, I’m a SABR member have been since 1985 but sabrmetrics? All SABR 7,000 members aren’t that into that. You should see some to the math that gets published in the Baseball Research Journal and National Pastime books we get every year. I pretty much skip to the next historical articles when I start seeing charts, graphs and calculations. Besides, my interests lie in 19th century history and Protoball (baseball before the Knickerbocker’s rules of 1845) and the history and… Read more »

Agbayani
Agbayani
5 years ago

Julian, repeat after me: There Is No Such Thing As An Adequate Sample Size When Assessing A Relief Pitcher. And I have to admit all the shuffling and reshuffling of relievers drives me nuts because of that. Every team does it. One thing we know: pitchers have very little control over batting average on balls in play (BABIP). Show me a low BABIP guy this year, I’ll always predict poorer results next year and vice versa. So let’s see how… Read more »

sdcarp
sdcarp
5 years ago
Reply to  Agbayani

Regarding Nicasio – the Dodgers signed him to be a relief pitcher, they prepared him throughout ST to be a relief pitcher, and they’ve used him exclusively as a RP since the season began. No missed messages. Tunnel vision directed toward one goal.

Many RWOers commented that Nicasio was/is a RP, not a SP. The Dodgers have simply done a great job of putting him a position to succeed. The Rockies put him in a position to fail.

sdcarp
sdcarp
5 years ago

Guys (and girls) – every response in this thread is excellent – lots of good, well thought out conversation. BUT (isn’t there always a “but”) – you’re not seeing the forest because of the trees. We have a big picture, global problem. It’s pointless to argue (although I guess it’s fun on a rainy day) about batting order, situational hitting, clutch hitting, etc. until the source of the global problem is corrected. Global Problem: 1. Ineffective leadership at Owner level.… Read more »

Pooter
Pooter
5 years ago
Reply to  sdcarp

Frustrating weekend of baseball. Hopefully some leaders step up and get this fixed fast!

sdcarp
sdcarp
5 years ago
Reply to  Pooter

Hopefully some Leaders will step up – but there’s not a quick fix. The fans (meaning us!) need to come to grips with this and embrace the process.

Doc
Doc
5 years ago
Reply to  sdcarp

A process? Please, Carp, tell me what it is?

Bottom line, many players don’t want to play for an organization that’s all about entertainment. Why bust your butt when there’s no up side?

rockymountainhigh
Admin
rockymountainhigh
5 years ago
Reply to  sdcarp

sdcarp, I mostly agree we have a global problem as the ozone layer is eroding. Just a couple of minor details that I disagree a little bit. “3. Large portion of salary tied up in aging, declining players” Tulo and CarGo are in their prime right now, not aging. Morneau might be aging but he definitely wasn’t in decline last year and he signed only a two-year contract. He’s done after this year. At the time of signings for Tulo/CarGo,it… Read more »

sdcarp
sdcarp
5 years ago

I’ll happily agree to disagree regarding talent evaluation. You say a couple of things that really intrigue me. First the 95 MPH plus K type pitcher I like. In my opinion all of baseball will be heading in this direction due to injuries. I predict a “new” trend in pitching – locating the fastball. That Greg Maddux guy was onto something. I also like the concept of trading pitchers – anywhere, not just Colorado. Trust me dude – Cargo and… Read more »

Agbayani
Agbayani
5 years ago
Reply to  sdcarp

carp, agree and disagree in equal measure here. 1. Agree in general. Not “historically bad” starting pitching as I’ve argued before. But you’re right — not much in the pipeline other than Jon Gray. 2. On Gray: basically disagree — definitely has ace velocity(unless something’s changed this year?) and appears to have ace secondary pitches. He’s hit a rough patch, and I don’t know if he’ll make it to that level. Most don’t. I saw Archie Bradley last spring and… Read more »

sdcarp
sdcarp
5 years ago

Otto needs TJ – don’t shoot the messenger.

sdcarp
sdcarp
5 years ago

Otto story from CBSSportsline: “Rockies closer Adam Ottavino is likely to need Tommy John surgery to repair his injured right elbow, Ottavino said to the Denver Post on Monday. A further evaluation with team doctors revealed a partial tear of the ulnar collateral ligament in his elbow. “Baseball is my love. So I will do everything I can to come back,” Ottavino said Monday. “I’ve accepted it. I’ll take it head on.” Ottavino was placed on the 15-day DL last… Read more »

rockymountainhigh
Admin
rockymountainhigh
5 years ago
Reply to  sdcarp

That would have been a killer if it happened last year – no bullpen depth. But this year we have some depth to overcome Otto’s DL stint. I’m hoping Axford performs better than expected and I’m glad that Betty set an example for others with TJs so they will be encouraged to come back just as good as ever.

Bill
Bill
5 years ago

Big loss in Ottovino, but with Rockies starting pitching and the middle relievers not much better the 9th inning closer is almost irrelevant here. Does Weiss check batting average against the other starter? Yesterday he didn’t play Morneau against James Shields despite a .320 plus average and didn’t even pinch-hit with him with the bases full, electing to have Tulo pop up. A few weeks ago against Zack Greinke he could have started Mac behind the plate as he was… Read more »

Agbayani
Agbayani
5 years ago

Ottovino: I guess it’s a good thing that he’ll get the TJ surgery early. If he recovers quickly, a May 2016 return isn’t out of the question. So the Rockies should still have a good 2.5 years or so out of him before he’s a free agent. Assuming he makes it all the way back … … yes, there is some better bullpen depth this year, but pushing everyone else forward an inning or so means more Brooks Brown/Christian Friedrich,… Read more »

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