Rockies Woman Weekly Report – 6/25-7/1


This week’s record: 2-5

Hitting: C

As a team, the Rockies hit .248 this week, 17th-best in the majors. It’s also 5 points below the National League average. In general, they managed quite a few hits: 70 total, or an average of 10 per game. But, as usual, timely hitting was a big problem. On the week, they went 8-for-57 with runners in scoring position, an abysmal figure that adds up to a .140 batting average. They must improve this stat if they want to have a prayer at making a run for first place in the National League West. Their inability to get hits when they need them, instead of just when they happen to get them, is severely harming their ability to contend. Power hitting was very good this week; the Rockies’ 14 home runs is tied for first in the league with 3 other teams. But 8 of those 14 home runs were solo shots. This is evidence of a lack of offensive teamwork. If a player hits a solo home run because no one in front of him was able to get on base, that’s not technically his fault. But the same guys who are hitting these homers (primarily Ty Wigginton and Carlos Gonzalez) are striking out and popping out when there are men on base. Smarter at-bats are necessary. From an individual standpoint, several guys had tough weeks. After starting out strong as designated hitter in interleague, Jason Giambi hit .167 this week with 4 strikeouts. Chris Iannetta hit .105 with 5 strikeouts. Cargo, Wiggy, and Seth Smith each K’d 7 times. Cargo hit .375 though, so the lead-off spot still seems to agree with him. Troy Tulowitzki was just okay, hitting .250 with 5 RBIs. Todd Helton was the only real star, celebrating the week of his 2,000th career game with a .417 average and 4 RBIs, none of which was accomplished by a solo home run.

Running: C

The Rockies only managed 4 stolen bases this week, 2 from Cargo. Charlie Blackmon had none. His speed is a major asset to the team, and I really want to see him start going for it again. Part of the problem was that he only got 19 plate appearances this week after Jim Tracy benched him several times. He needs more starts so he can steal more bases. And Tulo and Smith need to be stealing every week. They have the speed and the on-base percentage. Tulo isn’t always the smartest baserunner, but he’s a hard enough worker to know when he’s messed up and make the necessary changes. A steal or two or three is mandatory for him this next week. There were also several pick-offs last week, another no-no. More baserunning and smarter baserunning going forward please. This team has the stuff, but this is just another of those pieces that they aren’t fitting together with the rest in order to make it work every day.

Defense: B

Technically the Rockies only committed 4 errors this week. Two were charged to pitchers; Ubaldo Jimenez and Clayton Mortensen both mishandled comebackers that allowed a runner to reach. One was a fielding error by Tulo in New York on Sunday; I won’t get on him too much for that because he came back later in the game with a play that inspired the home crowd to applaud. Since the latter occurs way more often than the former, we’ll give him a break. However, it should be noted that the mistake allowed the go-ahead run to score. The 4th error was charged to Eric Young Jr. on Saturday in New York. It’s a good thing I wasn’t the official scorer in that game, because I would have slapped him with about 7 errors. He’s just terrible in the outfield. He has no idea what he’s doing. At one point, Chris Nelson was going out on a pop-up that he clearly had control over, and EY came charging in and collided with Nelson. To my chagrin, he then got credit for an assist because the dropped ball created a force play at 2nd, which allowed EY to make an out. Sometimes the rules of baseball are not fair. EY’s Saturday performance lowered the entire team’s defensive performance for the entire week, in my opinion. Seth Smith and Chris Iannetta also flubbed a very important play in Wednesday’s game against the White Sox that allowed the winning run to score. Neither was charged with an official error, but both should have done better. The bright spot is that Ty Wigginton hasn’t had an error in quite some time. He has really improved the Rockies’ outlook at 3rd base, both offensively and defensively. Much appreciated.

Starting Pitching: C

Juan Nicasio was brilliant last night, shutting out the Royals through 8 innings and allowing just 3 hits. But he was the only member of the Rockies’ starting rotation to record a win this week, which is pretty rough. On Saturday against the Yankees, Aaron Cook lasted 5 2/3 innings and gave up 5 earned runs on 12 hits with just 1 strikeout. He fared better on Thursday against the White Sox, allowing just 1 run on 5 hits through 6 innings, but he also walked 4, hit a batter, and threw a wild pitch, all of which raised some serious questions about his command. Nicasio almost had an excellent start on Sunday in New York, but after 4 1/3 perfect innings, he gave up back-to-back home runs and left in the 6th inning without recording an out. Jhoulys Chacin struggled mightily against the Cubs at Wrigley on Monday. He’s still our ace, in my mind, but looking at just this week he was flat-out awful. In 5 innings he gave up 6 runs on 9 hits and 3 hone runs. Pitch after pitch went somewhere other than where he intended it to go, and the look on his face was pure frustration. It came as no surprise when we learned that he would be scratched from his start today because of forearm stiffness. Hopefully he’ll get the rest and mental recharge he needs to come back Tuesday in Atlanta and be his old self. Jason Hammel should have gotten a win last Tuesday against the White Sox, but the offense didn’t come alive until the bullpen took over. He went 7 innings and allowed 2 runs on 6 hits in a dominant performance. It was great to see that after some tough recent outings. Ubaldo Jimenez also had a great start but his was wrecked by the pen and the defense. He went 7 innings and allowed 4 runs on 2 hits. He only gave up 2 walks, always a very good thing to see when he’s on the mound. Both Hammel and Jimenez posted a 2.57 ERA for the week. 3 quality starts in 7 games is good but not enough. At this point, Cook seems pretty shot, and it’s time for the front office to think hard about his future in this rotation.

Relief Pitching: C-

The bullpen continued its (now long) run of inconsistency this week. Matt Belisle, Rex Brothers, and Edgmer Escalona combined for 6 2/3 scoreless innings. Brothers looked especially good, striking out 3 over his 2 2/3 innings. Nobody recorded a save this week, but that’s partly because there were only 3 opportunities to do so. Still, that nobody managed one in any of those chances isn’t very good. Huston Street and Matt Reynolds were both acceptable, each allowing 1 run total in 3 appearances. The rest of the relievers struggled though. Clayton Mortensen gave up 2 earned runs in 4 innings pitched, but those 2 runs cost the team the win on Thursday. Matt Lindstrom came away from the week with a 6.00 ERA, and Rafael Betancourt’s was 11.57. Mr. Hold isn’t holding much anymore. He’s still got the stuff, but giving up 2 home runs in 3 games is too many. We finally got Huston weaned off that, and now Raffy’s doing it. We’ve got to have more consistent effective outings from the pen, or our starter’s efforts will continue to be wasted. 3 losses in one week is too many for a bullpen.

Intangibles: B

I hesitate to give this high a grade in any category in a week when only 2 wins were recorded, but the Rockies did a couple of things this week that gave the team a much-needed boost, and hopefully some momentum going in to the final week before the All-Star break. Last night they scored 9 runs on 13 hits, on the shoulders of solid performances from some of the newer Rockies. Brand new Mark Ellis’s 3-for-5 night established him as someone who has the potential to inject a lot of life into the team’s offense. Juan Nicasio, starting his 7th major league game, pitched 8 innings of shut-out baseball, allowing just 3 hits. And Charlie Blackmon, whose initial hot streak seemed possibly to have come to an end, hit his first career home run last night in his one and only plate appearance. Each of these guys did something special at a time when we needed it. The other thing the Rockies accomplished this week that we had all waited a very long time for was their first walk-off win. That happened on Tuesday at Coors Field against the White Sox. In the bottom of the 13th inning, following the bullpen’s best performance all week, Tulo scored from 1st on a bloop single by Ty Wigginton that probably shouldn’t have resulted in an RBI. But it did. The Rockies seem to precede long winning streaks with magic moments like these. So despite their overall poor showing this week, a few things came together at the right time. It remains to be seen whether those things will send them on a tear going forward.

Overall Grade: C

Hitter of the Week: Todd Helton (.417 BA, .444 OBP, 4 RBIs)

Pitcher of the Week: Juan Nicasio (1-0, 13 IP, 4 ER, 6 K’s)