Fundamentals escape Wilin Rosario and the Isotopes


Wilin Rosario had a rough time in the field and at the plate on April 30th. Mandatory Credit: Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports

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The Albuquerque Isotopes lost 11-3 to the Salt Lake Bees Thursday night.

The fourth inning in Albuquerque was one dreams are made of – well nightmares, actually. The Isotopes committed three errors in the inning, all in the infield. They ‘kicked’ it off with Joey Wong bobbling a sure out at third, followed by Wilin Rosario at first with a dropped sure out and then kicking it back to the pitcher.

The cherry on top was sure-handed Cristhian Adames misplaying a ball at second and leaving the game with an injury. Adames had been the Topes’ most consistant hitter this season. His injury status was not known following the game.

This all came on top of a team-leading 4th error by Ryan Casteel behind the plate. A wild pitch just barely got away from him in the first, but he rushed it and threw the ball into the dugout. Casteel has been great with the bat, 10 hits on 33 at-bats in 9 games (.303 Average), but has seen his playing time limited due to his defense.

Joey Wong, who only had one error in 14 games coming into today, committed a second error at a second position (SS) in the fifth inning. Wong already has a hard road to the majors with a solid third baseman in front of him (some guy named Nolan Arenado), but bad defense on top of a .217 average is already hampering his case.

Wilin Rosario continued the circus with his second error in the 7th, both fielding the ball and throwing it to John Lannan, who was slow getting to the base for the second time in the inning. Oh yeah, John Lannan returned in this game; more on that later. Spoiler alert: it’s not pretty.

Lets talk about the pitching, shall we? Why? Because you want to know about viable replacements for a rocky Rockies rotation. (Say that 5 times fast.)

Around noon they announced Lannan as the starter, who was coming off the DL still looking for his first win but touting a 0.69 ERA. He looked ready for Colorado. Keyword… looked. More on him later, because around 5:00 pm, that was changed to Chris Rusin and his 6.75 ERA, on six days rest.

Rusin continued the fundamental issues with 2 wild pitches. He did throw 97 pitches with two-thirds of them strikes, but I have more bad news: that was only in 5 2/3 innings. He scattered 8 hits over those 5+ innings. Six runs showed on the score board, but only 3 were charged to him due to that mess of errors behind him.

He and Lannan both failed to cover first on plays that should have, could have been outs. He struck out 6, which is more than his first three starts combined. This was a positive start regardless of the scoreboard. Enter, Simon Castro.

Castro was signed to a two year minor league contract last year while he recovered from an injury because the Rockies saw him as a viable bullpen piece. He came in with two outs in the 5th, and promptly threw a wild pitch and got called for a balk, as we continued to focus on fundamentals here at The Lab. He got one strike in his four pitches, but that led to an out. His day was done.

John Lannan came off the disabled list today and as mentioned above, he was moved out of the start to get Rusin work who had not pitched in 6 days. Lannan last pitched April 14th, when he shut down Tacoma, allowing 1 run in 7 innings. Today, that was not the case. Lannan pitched one inning allowing 5 runs, but only four were earned. He struck out two and walked one to add to six hits. His ERA skyrocketed to 3.21. Jon Gray had mentioned coming in, in relief, when you are usually a starter is difficult but I was unable to ask Lannan about it. Players were not available after the game.

Ryan Arrowood came in to close out the last two innings, allowing no runs on one hit, one walk and one strike out. Keep your eyes on him for the Rockies bullpen.

Other players to continue to watch for call-ups:

  • Brandon Barnes was 0-2 with 2 Ks dropping his average to .218. Thus far in Albuquerque, he’s not the player many of you are hoping for in Colorado.
  • Cristhian Adames left injured, going 0-1, but still leads the team in batting at .329. The middle infield is pretty crowded in Colorado, but he’s the real deal.
  • Tim Smalling replaced him going 1-2. He has good defensive talent all over the field, but is only hitting .246. He is a typical super utility player.
  • Ben Paulsen is still raking while he improves in the outfield, lifting his average back over .300 after going 2-4 with a triple, an RBI and a run scored.
  • If Ryan Casteel can figure out his defense, he could be a backup at catcher in Colorado. He’s hitting .306 in Albuquerque after going 1-3 tonight.
  • Wilin Rosario is, well, playing. Outside of the fielding troubles: he went 1 for 4 with a double and hit into a double play.
  • All in all, the Topes set a record for most errors by a Salt Lake Bees opponent.
  • The crowd had wonderful things to say: ‘Put a tent on that circus!’ and ‘Come on First Base! Give us a Chance!’ It was just plain ugly.
  • The 6 error, 3 wild pitch, 1 balk showing of fundamental baseball was at least quick, as it only took 2 hours 48 minutes as the Topes lost 11-3.
  • Tomorrow, the pace for play rules go into effect and balls and strikes will be awarded. They allowed a one month grace period, but only 2 or 3 offenses occurred at Isotopes games this first month.

Remember, I will be talking with Dick Monfort tomorrow. Leave any questions you have for him in the comments.