Surveying the Rocky Road: April 2012

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11 – 11
This is the Rockies record for the whole month of April for the Rockies. Yes, that is exactly .500, the midway point, even-steven, and in balance. Some people may also use words as mediocre, and disappointing. The latter may be in reference to this year’s Rockies. However, in reference to the Rockies, I view this as right on the money, or a good thing.

Coming off a last year of 73-89, or 16 games below .500, this is an improvement. One has to also consider that, while this isn’t a do-over, there are many players on this team that were not on the team a year before. And, even this wasn’t set in stone through most of Spring Training. I mean, who would imagine having 49 year old Jamie Moyer in our starting rotation and have him as the most consistent pitcher? (Thank you @Supahfly328). Who would ever imagine having Michael Cuddyer on the Rockies? And yet, even with these changes, surprises come from inside. I mean, Todd Helton hasn’t homered since 2010, and certainly doesn’t get triples. Carlos Gonzalez seemed to find his bat and groove again. So, I think the shake-up has done some positive things to the team.

Yet, we’ve seen the hiccups early in the team. Opening day was a huge fiasco on the scoreboard, and the media harshly criticized this. They deserved to, but some went to the extreme saying this team is another fiasco. Former Denver Post columnist Dave Krieger (@DaveKrieger) used The Blowtorch of the West™ and 850koa.com to blog and air his concerns about the Jim Tracy Sunday Special* lineup. (*patent pending). Yes, he used the Rockies flagship station AM 850 KOA to criticize the Rockies. Thank God this is America :D Also, Troy Renck harshly demanded Jhoulys Chacin’s demotion as well. Okay, sure, this was May 1st. But Renck’s presence on the Denver Post, and through social media Twitter, is much more critical than in years past.

While the team is a work in progress, the real issue relies on its leadership. Yeah, I’m talking about coaches, and especially Jim Tracy. In the beginning, it seemed like nothing had changed. Our starting pitching wasn’t great (outside of Moyer), and it was puzzling what was up with the defense. On the 2nd home game (which should have been my first), it was a slugfest. The team was nowhere near consistent. He tried his “Sunday special” as I said above, but no one was amused when the Sunday loss record looked like a repeat of 2011. Tracy seemed to have changed his tone the next week, which ended up with a win. And while we lost on the 29th, it was in extra innings, and a much closer game. Then there was the one game on April 30, that Tracy doubled down on the blackjack table in the 7th. Nicasio, Rogers, Brothers, and Escalona to load the bases and get out without a run. I can’t say that Tracy is proactive, as he seems to do a lot of reacting.

Our strength seems to be the offense is now present. It is now willing to put up numbers, and put more effort into games. Sure, we won’t win every game, but apart from a few players and a few days, I think we can have a good team. Our weakness seems to be still in the pitching. Sure, we had some defensive errors early in the month that really hurt us. But, our starting pitching wasn’t strong: we had to burn through our bullpen a lot earlier, and even the bullpen has led on some collapse later on. The only one consistent enough was, indeed, Moyer.

At the beginning of the season, I didn’t like the outcome of the season. I had a prediction of the team ending up 6 games over .500 (or 84 wins.) It wasn’t looking like that. I had said that I was pondering whether or not I’d start a #FireTracy and #FireODowd petition. But I wanted to see how close to .500 and how our team was doing this month before I made a decision. I can safely say that while there are perks that seem “LaRussa” like in Tracy, he has adapted enough that I’m satisfied to give this year another roller-coaster ride.

Surveying the Rocky Road is my monthly analysis of the Rockies team throughout this season.
Thanks to @Supahfly328 and media figures @TroyRenck and @DaveKrieger for contribution to today’s blog.

Under further review

Yeah I mentioned it earlier that Chacin was optioned. The fact of it was that Chacin was the weakest pitcher. There are too many places to look for that, I’ll just give you a head start with Mark Townsend’s blog linking all the articles. But, for the record, he was the weakest pitcher. One or two starts can be excused, especially if weather is involved. I saw the first 4 innings at Buffalo Wild Wings, but could immediately tell something was up, when we were down 4-0 in the 1st inning. Renck equated it to taking a picture perfect day and putting Ragu (I’d say blood, but that’s me.) over the mound. If the brass optioned Pacheco so he can get daily reps on 3rd base, I don’t see why they couldn’t do the same for a pitcher who needs to find himself. I don’t want to be mean to him, as he was ideally thought of as our ace next to former Rox Ubaldo Jimenez. But who knows: this may be for the best for him. I wish him luck.

No word yet on who is his replacement at press time.

Also, I had said that the Dodgers series was the most interesting. Before the series started, the Dodgers had first place in the NL West (and also league) with a commanding lead over the Rox in 2nd place. I was hoping for us taking 2 games to show some confidence and make it interesting. Apparently, it was possible we could have had a sweep if we weren’t down 7 runs before the bottom 5th started. But at least I’m satisfied with what we did accomplish, and look forward to more NL West matchups this season.

Sliding home

I’m giving this to @gorox1983. He mentioned my favorite (former) Rox player, after the Angels no-hit the Twins:

@Supahfly328 Netta gets the “most likely to succeed” award by default.

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