Rockies Woman Weekly Report – 8/27-9/2


This week’s record: 2-5

Hitting: C

It was a bit of a lackluster offensive week for the Rockies. If it wasn’t for Kevin Kouzmanoff and his 5 RBIs, they would have scored 19 runs in the past 6 games, fewer than half what the Diamondbacks managed. The Rockies’ .249 average this week was very middle of the pack, and their power numbers were even worse – just .366 slugging. Every aspect of their play is lacking in energy right now, though, so it makes sense that these numbers would be down. Still, there were some big disappointments, like Tuesday’s game in Phoenix when the Rox took exactly one good swing the entire night. That swing belonged to Dexter Fowler, and he was robbed by a gazelle-like Chris Young in center field. The only run scored in that game was plated when Chris Iannetta was hit by a pitch in the 9th inning with the bases loaded. Speaking of Iannetta, he did quite well this week, batting .313 with a couple of RBIs. He might have had more if Jim Tracy didn’t insist on playing Eliezer Alfonzo nearly every other day. Ty Wigginton, Mark Ellis, and Todd Helton all had tough weeks, and even Troy Tulowitzki only hit .211. Seth Smith, Jonathan Herrera, and Kouzmanoff all fared much better, though it’s hard not to think benched all the time, benched even more of the time, and fluke. And Carlos Gonzalez is hacking away in the 3-spot like we so hoped he would early in the season. It’s just not possible for him to carry this team on his own.

Running: C-

Mayhem is still the name of the running game, and I’m getting a little sick of writing about it. Multiple players were tagged out trying to stretch singles into doubles this week, there were a couple of caught stealing’s, and Fowler made perhaps the worst error of all in last night’s game. He was on 1st when Cargo hit a fly ball to shallow left. No one was able to catch it, but because Fowler didn’t bother with a lead he was forced out at 2nd. The team stole 4 total bases in 6 games this week, which is just so-so. One thing that made me feel a little better is that the Phillies only attempted 1 steal this week, and they were not successful. But when you’re the Phillies, you don’t have to run well, because you do all the big things right. The Rockies must run well, and they do not.

Defense: B-

I have three primary issues with the Rockies’ defense right now. First, the rotating show at 3rd base. All of our third basemen are just fine defensively, but because there has been so little offensive production from that position, Jim Tracy routinely starts weaker fielders at the hot corner in hopes of getting more out of their bats. Kouzmanoff is the latest example of this, and while he does play well sometimes, he slips too often for my liking. He was a part of 2 crummy plays in Saturday’s game. My second issue is Alfonzo behind the plate. He has more errors and more passed balls than Iannetta in fewer games, and he also allows more runners to steal. He’s a pretty serious downgrade defensively. But again, Tracy’s inexplicable formula for good offense means we see Alfonzo in the lineup with some regularity. My third issue is Fowler in center field. He has all kinds of potential there, just like he does on the basepaths, but in both areas he is unrefined. He badly misplayed a ball in Tuesday’s game which led to a 2-run triple. Those long legs are useless to cover the ground in center if he doesn’t use them smartly, just as they will continue to commit baserunning errors. When I think about the 2007 miracle Rockies, one of the things I remember most is how cleanly they played defense. That was key to their play-off run. I wish that they and Tracy would think about that and realize that their icky fielding has cost them their chances as much as anything. One good thing: only 2 official errors committed. That’s worth being happy about.

Starting Pitching: C-

I’m not sure if I should be cheering or cringing about this, but the best pitcher on the Rockies’ staff this week was Kevin Millwood. He started twice and took a no-decision and a win. In the no-decision, he went 5 1/3 innings and allowed 2 runs on 5 hits and a walk. In the win, he went 7 shut-out innings, allowing 7 hits and no walks and striking out 8. His veteran presence is really speaking volumes, and while up until this point I’ve said that I don’t see how the Rockies keep him next season, now I’m starting to think they’d be foolish to let him go. He’s not perfect by any means, but he may be the most solid guy we have. Yeesh. Jhoulys Chacin was responsible for the Rockies’ other win this week, though he only lasted 5 innings and allowed 4 runs on 6 hits and 5 walks. His spot in the rotation was skipped later in the week because he’s nearing the innings-limit the coaching staff has set for him. I hope we see him come out of the gate strong in 2012, because we’re all ready for him to have a good, consistent season without this tapering off he’s had this year. Alex White took his first loss as a Rockie on Monday, and he looked iffy to some. To me, he’s still young, and he gave up a home run to Ryan Roberts on the third pitch he threw, so it’s easy to see why he might have been shaky after that. He did get closer to the strike zone as the outing wore on, and if things hadn’t fallen apart in the 6th inning as they did, it would have been a very good appearance for him. Aaron Cook, same old news. This line feels like it could go with any of his starts: 4 1/3 innings pitched, 7 hits, 6 earned runs. At least he only walked 2. Esmil Rogers fared a little bit better on Wednesday, but his 4 earned runs over 6 innings pitched were still too many, and he took a loss as well. So there you have it! One quality start out of our rotation this week, and it came via the old guy we signed out of desperation.

Relief Pitching: B+

The bullpen did much better than their rotation counterparts, with the exception of Matt Belisle (3 earned runs in 1 2/3 innings) and Matt Lindstrom (2 earned runs in 1 2/3 innings). Jason Hammel unfortunately had to take the loss in Saturday’s game when he gave up a walk-off home run in Los Angeles, but so far that’s the only run he’s allowed out of the pen. Matt Reynolds had 1 perfect outing and 1 in which he gave up a run on 3 hits and a walk in just 1 inning pitched. Huston Street is off the DL and pitched great, 3 scoreless innings, though he did give up 4 hits. Josh Roenicke is back as well, replacing the paternity-listed Hammel, and he gave us yet another scoreless inning this week, so his ERA remains at 0.00. Rex Brothers had an excellent week: 4 innings pitched, no runs, 2 hits, and 5 strikeouts. He is the most solid set-up man we have at this point. And as for our closer Rafael Betancourt, he blew his first save this week, ironically on the first day Street was back. But luckily Tracy hasn’t fired him yet, and he was perfect except for that one game.

Intangibles: C

I am tired of watching these Rockies play. I’m not sure if I have it in me to make it through the last few weeks of the season. They just seem so ready to be done and to go on their vacations. It shows in their lackluster plate appearances, their shoddy running and defense, and their hit-or-miss (mostly hit) pitching. I don’t have anything to say about these guys at this point except that I hope a fresh start in 2012 will do them some good. No doubt expectations will be much lower since they didn’t come close to what people thought they could do this season, so maybe that will allow them to feel like they have something to prove. I don’t know. That’s all.

Overall Grade: C

Hitter of the Week: Carlos Gonzalez (1.041 OPS, 2 SB)

Pitcher of the Week: Kevin Millwood (1-0, 12 1/3 IP, 2 ER, 1 BB, 10 K’s)