The Rockies spent most of the first month of the season straddling the .500 mark. Some victories looked great and some losses looked horrible. We were left waiting to see which is the “real” Rockies.
Now we hope that the current swoon is an aberration and not who they really are. If they are not a bad team, then their recent struggles do not have to define their season. If that’s going to happen, they need to win 2 of their next 3 games.
The most recent loss last night was among the most maddening of the young season. The mantra this season has been: “If only they had decent starting pitching…” Juan Nicasio finally delivered, and he was much more than decent in 7 IP. He was outstanding as the Dodgers hitters never got comfortable against him and his laser-precise fastball command. So that should mean the Rockies won, right?
Wrong. Aaron Harang was equally effective on the other side of the starting pitching match-up, going 8 IP and allowing just one run on a solo shot from Tyler Colvin. He induced a number of groundballs and shut the door on a key opportunity early, getting Troy Tulowitzki to line out harmlessly with the bases loaded.
If Tulo is the face of the Rockies when they win, he certainly has also been the face of the losing team lately. Games like this, where the only run comes on a solo home run, signal a lineup full of hitters who are trying to do too much. Tulo might be the biggest culprit of this problem. Most opposing starting pitchers would be happy to give up a solo home run or two if it means the rest of the team flails through the game and makes harmless outs.
Speaking of flailing, Ted Lilly pitches tomorrow for the Dodgers. If history is any indication, that is not the ideal match-up for a Rockies team that is already struggling. They then face Ryan Vogelsong on Monday and Tim Lincecum on Tuesday before coming home Wednesday.
The Rockies can stay afloat by limiting the damage on this west coast trip. The difference between a 1-7 trip and a 3-5 trip is quite significant. They leave themselves in position to matter if they win two of their next three. That will be no easy task with the starting pitchers they are scheduled to face, however. If they have any of the veteran grit we hoped they had before the season started, they need to show it in the next three games and steal a couple victories.
Before I conclude, I need to address Josh Outman‘s socks. Wow! It appears that he wore the same look in Oakland. Well done, Mr. Outman. Now let’s see some results that match your excellent fashion sense. The sooner the better, by the way, so that we can begin to forget your debut in which you played a big part in surrendering the late run that cost the team the game in one of the most brutal losses of the season. But seriously, nice socks.