Thursday Rockpile: Playing like a winner

Not what we want to see. - USA TODAY Sports

The Rockies are losing a lot of close games this year - it's time for the Rockies to start seizing those opportunities

The Rockies started off the season hot, winning 13 of 17 games after an April 20th win against the Arizona Diamondbacks. Since that high water point though, they have gone 6-10 largely due to a 1-6 record in one run/extra inning games. For the most part they are winning the games they are supposed to, losing a few that they should, but not making the play or two in the close games anymore to finish off their opponent.

Slight injuries taking star players out of the lineup can be blamed for part of this. However, I would argue that they just haven't figured out how to play like a winner yet. This can be attributed in part to a young manager not making some key decisions, it can be pointed out in hitters in high leverage situations taking pressure off of pitches by swinging at bad pitches (Carlos Gonzalez last night), and it can be seen in horrible base running and lack-of-focus fielding (Dexter Fowler running past a ball last night reminded me of my daughter's little league team).

One of the strangest moves by manager Walt Weiss has been reinserting Josh Rutledge back into the number two spot of the order. Both the Denver Post's Patrick Saunders (link) and mlb.com's Thomas Harding (link) wrote last night about Josh Rutledge starting to hit more consistently in May. This is in large part to him being moved down in the order where he has hit .281/.333/.483 (hitting 6-9) versus when he bats second, .230/.273/.279. While he went 3 for 4 in the two spot in Tuesday night's contest, he returned to form Wednesday night going 1 for 4 and hitting into only his second double play of the season. Nolan Arenado, on the other hand, seems like a natural fit for the number two spot, but he is now being placed in the bottom of the order.

Thomas Harding also mentions a questionable decision that will hopefully soon be corrected when he notes that Chatwood is gone, but not forgotten. Last night was a true display of Joan Nicasio's great ability but also his weakness in not having secondary pitches. Good batters foul off his fastballs and can wait for a breaking pitch that doesn't break or for a base on balls. Real starting pitchers have to average better than five innings a start, the bullpen will get worn down and it will cost the Rockies in the future.

Enough ranting and manager bashing, Weiss has done well this year for the most part and finding ways to win the close games will be the final step for him and the team. If they do this, it could be a special season. Much of my anger is probably being misdirected as I still can't stand the strike zone that appeared in last night's ninth inning.

Other Links:

A. J. Cassavell writes that C. C. Sabathia dominates inter league games. One reason the Yankees have the best record in these contests. Don't count the Rockies out though, as they are one of the top NL teams against the AL.

Troy Renck give his thoughts on last night's game.

In a play reminiscent of Juan's unfortunate accident two years ago, it is being reported that J. A. Happ is dealing with a fractured skull. Please keep him in your thoughts/prayers.

Finally, the Rockies are not the only ones to have a rough not with the umpires. Angel Hernandez refused to change a call, even with the help of video replay.

OFF TOPIC. I liked Jeff's off topic yesterday, so I am linking back to it for the discussion to be continued.

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