Last night, the Rockies faced Jose Fernandez and were likely to lose even if they did do the little things right. Tonight however was a different story. In a game that exemplified little things adding up, the Rockies came up short on several occasions.
Let's start off with something that's likely going to be part of a bigger problem all season; the lead off hitter. Drew Stubbs had an awful night at the plate going 0-5 with two strike outs. He also made the final out of the game. As good as the Michael Cuddyer, Carlos Gonzalez, and Troy Tulowitzki combination is in the 2-3-4 spots in the lineup, their effectiveness is going to be drastically reduced if nobody is on base in front of them.
The second problem tonight was the failure to capitalize on opportunities with runners in scoring position, especially late in the game. Despite outhitting Miami 9-5 in the hit category, the Rockies fell short in the column that mattered. In the fifth inning, Brett Anderson reached second base with only one out and both Stubbs and Cuddyer couldn't knock him in. In the seventh inning, Charlie Blackmon pinch hit, reached second with two outs, and was stranded there - And then in the eighth inning, the Rockies squandered a golden opportunity to tie the game after Carlos Gonzalez reached second with nobody out.
Within that failure during the top of the eighth inning there was also a questionable decision from manager Walt Weiss, who allowed Justin Morneau to hit against lefty Mike Dunn despite his well documented struggles against southpaws. Weiss instead could have pinch hit Brandon Barnes in that spot and forced the Marlins into a tough choice. Even if the fish countered with a righty out of the pen, Weiss still would have had Cory Dickerson as an option and had every opportunity to play his hand into a favorable match up in what was likely the most important spot in the game. Instead, he elected inaction and Morneau grounded out weakly for the crucial second out of the inning.
Fourthly, what turned out to be the winning run came across the plate in unfortunate fashion. With runners on the corners and Giancarlo Stanton at the plate in tied game in the sixth, Nolan Arenado fielded the ball and threw to second. Then the usually sure handed DJ LeMahieu threw the ball into the dugout in a gamble to record an inning ending double play. It turned out to be a very expensive mistake. Not only did a run score on the play, but the throw put Stanton at second and he would later score on a Casey McGehee RBI ground ball base hit.
Finally, I chose the picture of this article for a reason. Justin Morneau's decision to try and stretch a single into a double in the second inning was terrible. While I usually don't get angry about guys trying to hustle and create something, this was a foolish move. The entire play unfolded in front of him and it was never even close. It didn't appear to make much of a difference when it happened as the Rockies couldn't do much with Nathan Eovaldi the first time through the lineup, but it cost the Rockies a very big out that they probably would have liked to have had back at the end of the game. Did you notice who the next three hitters were when the game ended? That's right; Michael Cuddyer, Carlos Gonzalez, and Troy Tulowitzki.
On the mound, Brett Anderson had a middle of the road day. At times he looked great, working quickly and sending the Marlins down in order in a flash. Unfortunately, he also gave up two crooked numbers in his six innings of work, which ended up bein just enough to lose the game. The big off season acquisition didn't really do too much to give you a strong opinion about his first start. We'll have to wait until Sunday when we see him again against the snakes.
There were however a few good things to take away within this pile inefficiency.
One, Carlos Gonzalez is locked in at the plate right now.
Two, Wilin Rosario had two excellent situational at bats in this game. First in the fourth inning when he tied the score at two with a sac fly to right and again in the eighth when he came up with the tying run on third and stayed off four consecutive off speed breaking pitches out of the strike zone to earn the walk and pass the baton to Nolan Arenado. (Unfortunately Nolan struck out looking to end the inning)
Three, Tulo looks REALLY good on defense. As in he's moving like the Tulo we saw before the groin injury in 2012. He also made this play tonight, which I'll probably spend about four hours watching over and over again.
One last house cleaning note. This is only the second time in the last 17 years that the Rockies have started a season 0-2. 2003 was the other.
In order to avoid a rough start in the first ten games of the season, the Rockies are going to have to steal a few of these match ups without their top four pitchers. They've already lost the first go around with Jorge De La Rosa and Brett Anderson, and with Tyler Chatwood and Jhoulys Chacin on the DL, six of the team's next eight games will not include a start by any of these pitchers.
Games behind: 2.0
Games left: 160 (fist pump)
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