A rough Jeff Francis outing always bums me out, and this one was certainly no different. I feel a little better about it given that it was the Cardinals we were playing and not, say, the Padres or the Astros. Still, 5 runs in 4 innings is never going to cut it. It’s easy to forget the starters are on a pitch count when they’re all getting pulled for lousy pitching.
So as not to drag out the gory details of Francis’s outing, I’ll summarize: 2-run double by Matt Holliday, 2-run homer by Carlos Beltran, RBI single by Allen Craig, all in the first 2 innings. The good news is, after that Francis settled in and pitched really well. Holliday and Beltran didn’t give him any trouble the second time around. In my opinion, Jim Tracy should have left him in. He was only at 56 pitches, and he went 2 strong 1-2-3 innings. Why not give him a couple more? He’s a professional, he knows how to get into the groove and stay there. But Tracy, who is starting to seem borderline maniacal in his pitching decisions, replaced Francis with Adam Ottavino in the 5th.
Ottavino was good, except for the part where he gave up a double to Carlos Beltran and a single to Jon Jay. Would Francis have? We’ll never know in this universe. Oh … and then there was the part where Tracy did not hook Ottavino quickly enough and he gave up 2 homers, good for 3 more runs. Does Tracy have any ability at all to assess his pitchers? Is the new pitching coach experiment working? Will Wilin Rosario ever learn how to block balls in the dirt? These are rhetorical questions.
Mike Ekstrom allowed some damage of his own in the 8th, on a 2-run single by yes, Allen Craig, who had 3 of the Cards’ 11 RBI in this game. The only one who had more was, naturally, Matt Holliday. Now, every time Holliday comes back to Coors and has a great game, people start jawing about how Dan O’Dowd never should have traded him away. I am not one of those people. Holliday wanted to go, and we got Carlos Gonzalez for him, so that trade was a very good one. But of course, it’s difficult to forget just how well Holliday hits in Denver.
Meantime, the Rockies were doing something offensively, though they were also stranding runners right and left. Five different players hit doubles off St. Louis pitchers, including Josh Rutledge, who also hit a 3-run home run that accounted for half the runs the Rockies scored. Eric Young and Jordan Pacheco both collected 3 hits in the game. It was not an awful game at the plate, but it was not enough in light of what was happening from the mound. Once again, pitchers and hitters cannot seem to have a good day at the same time.