Are the Rockies Trying to Lose?


Rockies 6, Phillies 7

To be completely honest, I’m typing this with a small, amused smile on my face. Not because I’m happy. Oh no. All those who call themselves Rockies fans should go to bed sad tonight. But it’s sort of a “laugh so you don’t cry your eyes out” kind of thing. I mean, if the Rockies aren’t going to win, and they’re not, they might as well lose in interesting ways. Like, “check this out – you might think we’ve got this one in the bag, but we don’t!” At least it sure seemed like that’s what they were going for tonight.

I think I’ll be hard-pressed to write about any game at the moment without mentioning this 75-pitch limit for starters. We all know where this is going. The starters we have cannot survive the 5th inning on 75 pitches, it just can’t be done. Or if you’re Alex White, you can’t survive the 4th. White hit exactly 75 tonight with 2 outs and a man on 2nd in that inning. Under ordinary circumstances, he gets out of it. How disheartening is it to know you’ve only got to get 1 more out to strand the runner you’ve allowed, and you know you can do it, and here comes your manager to take the ball from you, through no fault of your own. I can’t say for sure having never experienced it, but I can imagine it’s no fun at all. I have no doubt these guys are pitching with that number 75 in their minds, and it’s affecting them. White left with a lead, but even if the Rockies had maintained it he wouldn’t have gotten the win, because he didn’t go deep enough. And why? Not because he wasn’t doing well. Because we need him again Sunday, so he’s got to hit the showers now.

On the other hand, it was something of a White-ian outing. In those 3 2/3 innings he allowed 5 runs, most of them, naturally, on a 3-run shot by Michael Martinez. Also, naturally, Martinez’s first homer of the season. So nobody’s saying White was brilliant. He was Alex White. Just on a short leash.

Pitching winner of the game is Jeremy Guthrie, who pitched 3 hitless innings. Yeah, I’m just as surprised as you. His ERA dropped below 7.00 as a result. Forget pitch counts for everybody else, just make sure this guy throws 40 or fewer and we’ll be all set.

The Rockies did what they could against Phillies pitching, and made an admirable showing. Points to Wilin Rosario for the 3-run moon shot that kept the team in the game. He had that look on his face that he always gets: “I’m gonna hit this one out. Just wait.” But 75% of the time he swings and misses. I almost cringe to see the ball leave the yard because it’s just going to encourage him to keep trying for that. He didn’t swing at the first pitch though, so there’s that. Also, Jonathan Papelbon came into the game in the 9th with the score tied at 5 and gave up an RBI single to Dexter Fowler. There’s really no one I love beating more than Papelbon, so that was fun. For a minute, till the Rockies surrendered the lead again.

Officially, the blown save and loss belong to Rafael Betancourt, though he earned the tying run but not the winning run. Much has already been said about the messy defensive play that allowed Hunter Pence to walk off. Todd Helton got the error via the scorer, because he didn’t touch the bag, but really it was Marco Scutaro‘s throw that was a problem. Still, I’d like to speak in Scutaro’s defense for just a moment. He’s no Tulowitzki, but I think he’s been perfectly serviceable at shortstop while Tulo’s been out. If you would like to argue with me I’m sure you will have some very valid points, but I’ve not turned against Scutaro yet. Can you imagine Jonathan Herrera at short every day? Or Chris Nelson? Or … Jose Lopez? Scoot is just fine there. Our expectations for what a shortstop ought to be able to do have been inflated by Tulo. I’m not excusing the bad throw or suggesting that Scutaro is elite, I’m just saying that we should keep all this in perspective.

But that doesn’t change the fact that this team is bad. Real bad.

Jeff Francis will try to prevent the sweep tomorrow at Citizens Bank Park.