Did the Colorado Rockies run into a buzz saw in Canada this week? Was this simply the worst time to run into the Toronto Blue Jays for a series? Or are these struggles indicative of deeper problems and signs of more trouble to come? As the Rockies hover a single game over the .500 mark, we are reminded once again of the fickle nature of the their success this season. It still always feels like we are one bad stretch away from this team plummeting to last place like it did in 2012.
We won’t be able to answer those questions until more time passes, but here are three takeaways from the sweep in Toronto:
1. It’s not time to panic about the road offense
Although that time might be coming soon. Like the thoroughly depressing series at the St. Louis Cardinals in May, this series felt hopeless because the bats were lifeless. Each game was painful in its own distinct way. On Monday it was all of the runners left on base, especially by Todd Helton. On Tuesday it was the fact that Esmil Rogers (yes that Esmil Rogers)…seriously…Esmil freakin’ Rogers…dominated the Rockies. Finally on Wednesday it was the fact that Toronto starter Mark Buehrle was not sharp and the Rockies could not make him pay.
But here is an important bit of context: the Blue Jays came into this series after holding the Texas Rangers to four runs in four games. They followed that up by holding the Rockies to five runs in three games. So I am willing to chalk this up to the “buzz saw” category, for now, but the Rockies better hit in Washington to prove that I’m right.
2. Troy Tulowitzki wouldn’t have made a difference
You’re going to tell me that Tulo would have even seen the field in this series? On one of the very few fields in baseball that has real astro turf? Please. Walt Weiss might have sent him to Washington a few days early circa Gregg Popovich and the San Antonio Spurs.
3. The Rockies can only afford to carry one shaky starter
If momentum is only as good as the next day’s starting pitcher, then the Rockies might have been doomed after game one of the series with Jeff Francis and Juan Nicasio going on back-to-back days. A team can handle the extra strain placed on the bullpen and offense by a short outing from their starter if it happens infrequently.
The Rockies might survive handling that situation once every time through the rotation, but twice is a lot to ask. We know that for certain now. That is why Francis is gone and that is why there is a certain measure of pressure on Roy Oswalt as he makes his debut tonight against the Washington Nationals.