Rockies Woman Weekly Report – 8/6-8/12


This week was better than last week. From this point onward, any week in which the Rockies do not unexpectedly trade their best pitcher AND hospitalize another with a broken neck will be considered a good week. That’s the new standard for 2011.

This week’s record: 3-4

Hitting: B-

The Rockies hit .288 this week and hit 10 home runs, both of which are 4th in the NL. The problem, as usual, was that they hit in bunches. On some days they couldn’t stop hitting, on others they couldn’t buy a hit. And then there were days when they got plenty of hits but no runs to speak of. On Wednesday in Cincinnati they collected 13 hits and scored 2 runs. That’s a real disappointment. It’s a reflection of their poor teamwork this season that they can individually perform and yet still fail to pull out a win as a group. Multiple times this week, they loaded the bases and couldn’t plate a run. Perhaps the worst example of this was Wednesday’s game when Ty Wigginton came up with the bases juiced and 1 out and hit the ball about six inches in front of the plate. Double play. Of course, there were also some great games. On Monday, every starter reached base more than once (except for Jason Hammel and Chris Iannetta, who oddly went 0-for-5 with 3 strikeouts). The Rockies scored 10 runs, 8 of them on 2-run home runs by Carlos Gonzalez, Todd Helton, and Seth Smith, who hit two. Smith had a great week generally, hitting .400 with 3 homers total. It was great to see him make a bit of a comeback after some tough outings. Troy Tulowitzki hit .458 and Eliezer Alfonzo hit .444 – though I want to make it clear that Alfonzo has had quite a bit of luck. He only played in 3 games this week, and that average would have been lower if he’d played more. There is certainly no reason under heaven why he should have hit in the clean-up spot on Thursday. Mark Ellis, Todd Helton, and Chris Iannetta all hit over .300 this week. Ty Wigginton, Chris Nelson, and Carlos Gonzalez had sub-Mendoza weeks, despite Cargo’s 2 home runs. No matter what happens, these guys keep trading off who has a bad week and who has a good one. I doubt the team will go on a tear until everyone is hitting consistently, or at least finding ways to pick up each other’s slack.

Running: B-

The Rockies’ 83% stolen-base success rate this week is excellent, though they only made 6 attempts. After some aggressive running and stealing by Dexter Fowler and Eric Young Jr. following their recent call-ups, things were much quieter on the basepaths this week. At this point, though, I’d prefer to see less stealing if it means fewer running mistakes. On Wednesday night, EY represented the tying run in scoring position with 1 out in the top of the 9th. He stole 3rd. Then Fowler hit a comebacker to the mound, and EY was already in motion because it was a hit and run. But with a hit and run, the goal is to get the ball to the opposite side of the infield so that the runner can advance. When you hit it right back to the pitcher, the runner will most likely be caught in a rundown, which is what happened to EY. He did a good job keeping it going long enough for Fowler to advance to 2nd, but then there were 2 outs. Chris Nelson came to the plate and hit the ball right to third baseman Todd Frazier. Fowler should have waited, but he didn’t, and he was tagged out at 3rd. The fact that replays clearly showed he was safe doesn’t matter. He shouldn’t have run. That inning encapsulated the Rockies’ running woes all season. They aren’t running smart. I hope they will start soon.

Defense: A-

This was a good defensive week for the Rockies. They committed only 3 errors, 2 of which were throwing errors by pitchers. The third was a Chris Nelson throwing blunder, but he also did some brilliant stuff. His defense at the hot corner last night was stellar. The infield turned six double plays on the week, and Cargo made an excellent throw from right field to get Joey Votto trying to advance to 2nd on a fly ball on Monday. Mostly it was good stuff. There was a pretty unfortunate moment in Tuesday’s game when a run scored on a momentary lapse of judgment by Tulo. There were runners on 1st and 2nd and 1 out, and the batter hit the ball back to the pitcher’s mound. Esmil Rogers turned and threw it to Tulo who got the forceout at 2nd. Then he threw behind the lead runner to 3rd; the runner had taken a wide turn there and seemed likely to go back. Instead, he saw the ball had not gone home and so he went there. And scored. It was a rare misstep on Tulo’s part, so I won’t harp on him too much for it. For the most part, the defense played well.

Starting Pitching: C+

This was a tricky week for the starting rotation. For one thing, the veteran Kevin Millwood entered it on Wednesday after a last-minute signing. I was a little concerned about how he would do, because he’s aging and has had a tough few years. But he was actually excellent. He had the second-best start by a Rockies’ pitcher this week, going 7 innings and giving up 3 runs on 6 hits and a walk on Wednesday. All three runs came via solo homers. But Millwood still took the loss, because that’s the Rockies’ story this season: great pitching performances are often ruined by lackluster offense and/or crummy relief appearances. Another example of that this week was Jhoulys Chacin’s start on Thursday. He pitched a complete game, giving up 2 runs on 6 hits and 3 walks and collecting 9 strikeouts. He had a tough 1st inning, when he gave up both runs, but after that he was dominant, and even retired 13 straight batters at one point. He also took the loss. Ironically, he earned a win on Saturday at Coors Field against the Nationals with a much shakier outing. He only lasted 5 innings, and while he gave up only 3 runs, he also issued 5 walks. At least the scales balanced for him this week and he got one win and one loss, even if they came in the wrong games. Aaron Cook also pitched twice this week, but wasn’t able to get a win. However, he was very very good in both starts. On Sunday against the Nationals, he went 6 2/3 innings and allowed just 2 runs on 4 hits. He earned a n0-decision because the Rockies went on to lose after Cook’s day was done. Last night in St. Louis, he started out even better than that. He only gave up a couple of hits through his first 5 innings. But then the 6th inning happened, and Cook’s final line was 5 2/3 innings pitched, 6 earned runs on 9 hits. The Cardinals figured him out, and then he didn’t stand a chance against them. He took the loss. Jason Hammel had another in a long string of tough outings on Monday in Cincinnati. He wound up with a no-decision because the Rockies really battled offensively in that game and were able to win it, but his 6 earned runs allowed in 4 innings wasn’t great. Last but not least, Esmil Rogers started on Tuesday against the Reds and earned a win for his 2 runs allowed in 6 innings pitched. He did give up an RBI triple to opposing pitcher Dontrelle Willis, so it wasn’t a perfect start, but it was good enough. With these Rockies, I’m happy to accept good enough.

Relief Pitching: A-

Here’s some great news for you: the bullpen was mostly excellent this week. Let’s get the bad performances out of the way first. Greg Reynolds relieved Jhoulys Chacin on Saturday and immediately gave up 4 runs in the 1 inning he pitched. He was initially called up to replace Juan Nicasio in the rotation, but thankfully he was sent back down after that mess. Both Matt Belisle and Rex Brothers had a rough outing; Belisle only gave up 1 run all week, but it happened to be the go-ahead run on Sunday that ultimately allowed the Nationals to win. That counts for more than the average run a reliever can give up because it was such an important inning to hold, and because of that pesky Sunday losing streak. Brothers blew a save Monday, but the Rockies went on to win that game, and that was also his only earned run this week. Belisle would actually go on to earn the win. Everybody else out of the pen was absolutely perfect. Rafael Betancourt, Edgmer Escalona, Matt Reynolds, Josh Roenicke, and Huston Street pitched a combined 11 1/3 scoreless innings, allowing just 4 hits. Betancourt in particular has been untouchable; he hasn’t given up a run since July 6th. That’s nuts, people. It’s great to see Raffy really coming into his own. Especially now, as he’ll be stepping into the role of closer with Street on the disabled list. Fantastic job by the pen this week.

Intangibles: D

The terrible sadness of this Rockies season is that the whole is always less than the sum of the parts. Despite some great work at the plate and on the mound this week, they only put together 3 wins. Three of their four losses were by one run. This time of year really separates the men from the boys, and I’m afraid we’ve all seen that the Rockies are playing like boys this season. They show their potential in isolated incidents, but they aren’t able to pull it all together and get the job done. Play-off teams win any way they can. Play-off teams work together. Play-off teams don’t give up in the 7th inning. It’s been a very tough year to be a Rockies fan. I would much rather they be underperforming individually while doing the little things right and helping each other out to get wins. I’d be proud of my team if that’s what I was seeing. Instead, I see mediocrity everywhere I look.

Overall Grade: C+

Pitcher of the Week: Rafael Betancourt (3 IP, 1 H, 0 ER, 5 K’s)

Hitter of the Week: Troy Tulowitzki (.458, 2 HR, 6 RBIs, 3 2B)