Rockies Fall to Worst at Hands of Marlins

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Rockies 6, Marlins 7

I’d like to be happy about last night’s game, in which the Rockies combined two things they haven’t done at the same time in about a month: scoring early and scoring late. But it’s hard to care very much when they still lost, and when they are officially the worst team in baseball (tied with the Twins, but nobody wants to be tied with the Twins for anything). And when the ownership is as clueless as they apparently are. This is all very very bad.

Perhaps the worst part is that literally everything is going wrong at once, so there’s no quick fix here. We could start with the rotation, for example. Juan Nicasio is a good pitcher, and he’s especially been good on the road lately, but last night was rough. I’m willing to give him a partial pass because it was the Marlins, and their offense is as hot as anybody’s right now. Still, 5 innings and 5 earned runs on 9 hits is no good. More importantly, every single at-bat was laborious for Nicasio last night. He threw 99 pitches in those 5 innings and just could not seem to put anybody away without a fight. His only easy inning was the 5th, when he struck out the side on 12 pitches. But by then, the Fish had scored 6 runs and it was too late.

Of course, the Rockies scored 6 runs too, including 2 in the 8th inning. But they also left 8 men on base and were 4-for-18 with runners in scoring position. Michael Cuddyer had a 3-hit night after nearly a month of mediocrity, but he only scored once. He reached with a lead-off double on two different occasions and was stranded both times. The RISP thing has been a problem for a long time, but it’s especially embarrassing when you’ve got one with no outs. You don’t even need a hit in that situation. Ground out to the right side and hit a sacrifice fly! Come on people!!

Also: defense. Remember that miracle 2007 playoff team? It was also the best defensive team in baseball, something people forget all too frequently. Pitching and defense win championships goes the mantra, but I’m not so sure we really believe that most of the time. We get far more upset by bad offense. And it’s true that bad offense is a problem; however, every hitter goes into a slump. That slump is only disastrous when the fielding is so bad that every AB counts for way more than it should. That’s the case right now. Troy Tulowitzki made an absolutely phenomenal play to get an out at 1st last night, but he also made a careless throw later in the game that allowed Bryan Petersen to reach. Petersen later scored, and that one run was the difference in the game.

Also the difference in the game was the one run that scored when Wilin Rosario made an error of his own. He’s good at calling games and I like him at the plate, but his defensive skills still want some finesse. Hanley Ramirez stole 2nd and Rosario should have just held onto the ball; instead, he threw it away and Ramirez advanced to 3rd. Not off the hook in all this was second baseman Jonathan Herrera, who didn’t make even the slightest movement to try to cover the bag. In his defense, he probably understood that it was best to concede the stolen base, but that’s not his call to make. He needs to see what the catcher is doing and respond accordingly.

A small amount of credit will be given to the bullpen for not being as terrible as everybody else. Josh Roenicke took over for Nicasio in the 6th and gave up 2 hits. The one run that scored was Rosario’s fault, but it wouldn’t have happened without the hits. Roenicke also loaded the bases with 1 out in the 7th before being replaced by Josh Outman. Fortunately, that’s where it got good. Outman and Matt Belisle each got a swinging strikeout to strand all three runners. Belisle’s out was especially tough; it took 9 pitches, and it was Hanley Ramirez. A high-pressure situation and therefore a masterful job. I’ll even acknowledge Esmil Rogers, who walked 2 but didn’t allow any runs to score.

Hopefully that bit of good news ends this on a positive note. Long-term, I don’t have very much to say that you’d categorize as positive.

The Rockies will try to avoid being swept yet again as Alex White takes the mound at Marlins Park tonight.

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