Another day, another disappointing loss, another setback for what looked to be a very promising 2011 back in April.
Just when the team looked to be gaining a bit of momentum, they cough up another winnable game, and more importantly, Carlos Gonzalez is down again. The official prognosis, as stated in the link title, is inflamed wrist ligaments. Gonzalez has battled wrist problems over the past year or so, having them spring up at the most inopportune times. Obviously it isn't Gonzalez' fault or anything foolish like that. It's just getting the point of "will anything give this season?"
There are any number of fingers to point in any number of directions this season. Can we put blame on any one segment of the team?
One might point at the pitching staff, including names such as Jason Hammel, Rafael Betancourt, Aaron Cook, and for the first month or so of the season, Ubaldo Jimenez. Hell, if you want to, you could blame Jhoulys Chacin, who has walked roughly 47 batters in his last 12 innings of work.
You could point fingers at the bats. Pick your non-Ellis 2B candidate. Pick Ian Stewart, who despite showing some signs of life, threw up a hat trick in Thursday's game against the Braves, and since his callup (not including Thursday), has posted a massively improved line since that point of .225/.326/.350. Yeah, that's the improvement. How about Ryan Spilborghs, Dexter Fowler, or Johnny Herrera? The bats have had 2 significant demotions and a DFA of players who were supposed to be key pieces to the 2011 squad and/or improvements on the 2010 weaknesses.
Click past the jump and I'll blame the various management peoples and possibly even draw a conclusion.
What about the manager? Have Jim Tracy's incredibly questionable decisions from 2010 caught up with the team? His bullpen decisions and unpredictable strategies bounce between gut feelings, hot streaks, by-the-book matchups, and what might seem to be a dartboard.
Or maybe if Tracy's not to blame, how about Bob Apodaca and Carney Lansford? Apodaca has been hailed as an excellent pitching coach, reclaiming pitchers such as Jorge De La Rosa and Matt Belisle from the scrap heap, and yet he can't seem to get through to Jason Hammel and veteran Aaron Cook. Lansford came in to supposedly fix all of the bats and get the Rockies hitting on the road, but in the process seems to have re-broken Ian Stewart and Ryan Spilborghs.
Maybe the onus is on General Manager Dan O'Dowd. I mean, come on, the Rockies had Michael Young practically gift-wrapped to come to the Rockies to hold down 2B, and all he had to do was toss in another prospect to make it happen. And Jose Lopez? Come on, what kind of an acquisition is that? That's another thing, how do you hand the 3B job to a guy like Ian Stewart? Let's not forget that whole Felipe Paulino thing. What a joke.
Maybe it's just injuries. The Rockies have lost Jorge De La Rosa for the season, have lost Tulowitzki and Gonzalez at a few random points in the season, lost Jimenez early on, and all in the least opportune points possible.
If you found yourself agreeing to any number of these directions in which to point one's finger, then you're probably coming to the same conclusion I'm begrudgingly coming to: The 2011 season looks to be finished, aside from actually finishing the remaining 63 games.
Stranger things have happened, as all Rockies fans have been party to, but that's the thing about magic: you can't plan for it.
No, my friends, as we approach the 2011 Non-Waiver Trade Deadline, the Rockies will either sit pat or do some selling. There isn't any one acquisition the Rockies can make that would be a panacea to the seemingly endless setbacks the team has had to put up with during the past 99 games. Bringing in Wandy Rodriguez isn't going to fix the pitching staff. Landing Hunter Pence won't suddenly make the entire lineup start consistently hitting. Kicking Jim Tracy to the curb and letting Tom Runnells finish the season at the helm won't magically inspire the team to start trying harder or fix their collective swings or throw more strikes.
If the Rockies had beaten the Braves and Carlos Gonzalez hadn't managed to hurt himself again and the Rockies won their next 6 games while watching the Giants and Diamondbacks lose their respective 6, maybe, MAYBE, the Rockies would have become buyers at the deadline. Maybe. However, they lost to the Braves, lost Carlos Gonzalez, and I just don't see the team rattling off a winning streak in the shape they're in, especially with Jason Hammel and Aaron Cook starting again in the next few days.
The team is going to have some tough decisions over the next 8 months to make, some perhaps coming before the deadline, some during the offseason. But it seems painfully apparent that this season won't end on a high note for Colorado.