To say the least, there's been no lack of drama this week, some of the good kind (the very good kind) and some of the bad kind (the very bad kind.) If I'd written this Review a few hours ago, it likely would have been a seething polemic against the game, the umpires (who apparently went to school at the College for the Blind), Franklin Morales' inability to nail down a damn save even after being screwed more vigorously then Jenna Jameson, how crappy we played despite said screwing, and general muttering about what a terrible effing way that was to end the series after the Rocky Mountain Extra-High that came with the first no-no in club history. Now, I hope, I have slightly more perspective, although the anger is going to stick for a while.
We're exactly where we were at the end of last week: .500. We're not sucking up the joint, but we're not looking terrific either. We had plenty of chances today to make a larger gap on the scoreboard than we did, but there's no denying that the calls were terrible and anyone who is upset about that surely has a right to be -- to an extent. However, if a no-hitter and a stunning loss can't get a team fired up, I don't know what can.
Join me after the jump as I snap on my surgical gloves and perform the postmortem.
First (good) things first: Ubaldo Jimenez is a freaking stud, and the reason the Rockies aren't doing any worse to start the year. Of course, that should be self-evident, considering the masterstroke he turned in on Saturday night. The first no-hitter in club history, and done by the guy that most of us thought would do it (it being a debate between him and Jorge de la Rosa.) There wasn't really any doubt that U-ball was going to be special this year, but he looks nothing like the pitcher that started 2009 wearing his uniform, and that is a good thing. Considering that U-ball managed to throw a no-hitter on the night he walked half the Braves roster, it goes to show you what kind of good this kid is going to be, and he's still getting better. We are lucky to have him, and yes, scandalously premature visions of Cy Young Awards are dancing through my head. Mmm, 100 mph fastballs.
Secondly, Carlos Gonzalez is also a stud, and equally premature visions of All-Star selections are also tantalizing me. It's just a different lineup when he's in it. Brad Hawpe is lookin' mighty fine to start the year too (that's what SDCat said.) But we all remember what happened last year, and Hawpe will officially be streaky until proven otherwise. Ian Stewart is also looking like a new player, and we all hope the resurgence continues. Dexter Fowler is still not there with the bat, but his catch on Saturday night will probably earn him a mulligan for a little while. (Which is to say, two or three days. Baseball's an unforgiving game, Dex.) There is definitely a special moment in every no-hitter, the way DeWayne Wise's catch was in Mark Buehrle's perfect game last year, and Dex supplied it and then some. Too bad he can't hit as well as he can run.
The bullpen (or at least Matt Daley and Rafael Betancourt) continues to look pretty decent. Joe Beimel, aside from a homer served up to Chipper in Friday's blowout loss, is also doing well. I have to say, I'm coming around to this whole idea of giving Daley a whirl in the closer's job. Franklin has undeniably terrific stuff, but the ninth inning today, as terribly officiated as it was, was able to take place because he put on two of the first three guys he faced in a one-run game. I'd rather a less flashy and more dependable guy got run out there. We just can't afford to be throwing the dice every time. Nothing against Frankie personally, but he just gives me ulcers. However, I really doubt Tracy is going to make the switch on this one.
This leads us into a discussion of the bad, which is -- sad to say -- pretty much everything else. While it's not terrible, there are definitely a few foul whiffs. The defense has continued to be worrisome, hitting with RISP has been flat atrocious, and Hammel, Cook, and Smith continue to be toss-ups. Ubaldo alone has half our wins. That is a problematic statistic. We may go a long way, but we're not going to win anything on his back alone. I for one am very wary of this Nationals series, as they certainly haven't been playing any worse than we have and sport the same record through 12: 6-6. As I've mentioned elsewhere, the Rockies are continuing a long-established habit of playing to the level of their competition, and they certainly had a tendency last year to cock up what appeared to be cupcake series on paper. (Which may or may not be the case this time.)
In short, I can't say I'm happy or even satisfied with the way the team is playing -- mainly because it isn't really the team playing, it's a few moments of brilliance from individual guys. Up, down, up, down, up, down. I'm grateful they're not further off the pace than they are, but they still don't look ready. Also, Tracy's continuing delusion that Jason Giambi and Melvin Mora are adequate substitutions, whether offensively or defensively, needs to stop right now. I love the Thong as much as anyone, but only in pinch-hitting situations. I don't know why Tracy feels the need to have to insert them every third game, but no. Just no. Savvy?
Now, to those (like myself) still cherishing resentment against today's "umpires." To address a point that was brought up in the wrap thread: the Rockies did not execute in every situation today. No team does. They just have to do enough, and they did. They hurt themselves in a lot of ways, not least Franklin's scuffling, but despite that, they were still in a position to win if the call on Glaus, which was fairly obvious, was made correctly. In fact, if it is, the game ends right then and Franklin doesn't go on and serve up that walk-off gut puncher to Heyward. I don't want to go speculating on whether the umps decided to hold a grudge because Tracy got in their faces after the phantom balk call, but I think this whole business of allowing the umps to be untouchable is a problem for the game. Selig won't get automated ball/strike calls, or instant replay on questionable calls, and the umps reserve the right to automatically kick out anyone who asks (as is sometimes fully warranted) where the hell that one was. Since I don't know any umpires personally, I can't say if they have God complexes, or what. But I can say that they directly cost the Rockies the game today, and believe you me, if we miss a playoff spot by one game, I am going to remember it.
In the end, the only proper response to all this nonsense is to go into Washington and prove that those matching 6-6 records are unwarranted: for the Rox, that they're much better, and for the Nats, that they're much worse. We're going to get our first look at how the team responds to adversity. It's far far far too early to say the sky is falling, and in fact to say that really puzzles me, considering how fast this team is capable of turning it around.
It's only 12 games into the season, people. Remember that.
And on a final programming note, Do not troll Talking Chop or other opponents' blogs. They like trolls as much as we do, which is to say not at all, and Purple Row has built a reputation as a classy community. Don't put that in jeopardy.
Now, Rowbots, let's breathe deeply through our left eyelid and prepare to do it again tomorrow.