The Rockies needed a decent performance -- at least .500 -- on their current road trip to have at least some momentum heading into a possible season-defining 10-game stretch against the San Francisco Giants and Arizona Diamondbacks. Monday was not a good start toward getting the two out of three the club needs to accomplish the even road trip as Juan Nicasio was shelled and the offense was, after a short one-day break, again non-existent.
The importance of the Rockies getting out of Wrigley Field with a series victory is big. As big as can be in the middle of May, for certain. Losing two out of three would put the Rockies at two games above .500 for the season, and a sweep -- let's hope to all things holy that this doesn't happen -- would even the Rockies' record for the season. Either of those outcomes might leave the team's confidence in the gutter, not a good thing when heading into a stretch of games in which a 3-7 or 2-8 record -- or worse -- is a legitimate possibility, especially considering Colorado's woeful performance against strong teams thus far.
Carlos Gonzalez and Dexter Fowler are notable names in the category of "guys who need to snap out of it." CarGo briefly came out of his slump on the last homestand, but has fallen back into his old ways of swinging at everything under the sun. Fowler, meanwhile, is trying to shake off nagging injuries but is mired in a 2-for-26 slump and doesn't have an extra-base hit this month, as Troy Renck notes.
Among the players who also need to step up their game are Nicasio and Jeff Francis. Nicasio bounced back well on Monday after getting knocked around to the tune of five runs in his first two innings, but that might not be enough to avoid a trip to Colorado Springs for a refresher course. Francis may suffer a worse fate -- finding himself jobless -- if he can't corral the mediocre Cubs' offense on Tuesday night.
That, of course, implies that the Rockies would make the right moves. The club has been criticized now and in the past, and rightfully so, for not utilizing its best players. That's something that needs to change if the team wants to stay in contention after this month, because another May swoon would be disastrous to those hopes.
If Francis gets lit up by Chicago on Tuesday, he, Nicasio and Jonathan Herrera or Reid Brignac need to go. Promotions of Drew Pomeranz, Tyler Chatwood and DJ LeMahieu or Tyler Colvin would give the club what it truly needs: its 25 best players. It's a lesson from the past that Walt Weiss and Bill Geivett should learn from, and one that would give the Rockies their best shot at avoiding another awful stretch of pre-June baseball.
Speaking of Pomeranz, Irv Moss of the Denver Post profiled the 24-year-old lefty and his solid start to the season.
Patrick Saunders suggests the Rockies could be leaning toward Kris Bryant at No. 3 in the upcoming draft.