So the Royals continued their mental mastery of the Rockies, defeating Colorado handily 9-2. The late inning pitching was clearly deficient, starter Jason Hammel melted down in the seventh after six mostly mistake free frames (his two biggest mistakes were the two AB's he didn't plunk Jose Guillen) and his relievers continued that meltdown rather than stopping it as the Royals racked up seven of their runs in the seventh and eighth innings. Esmil Rogers in particular seems to be having a severe rookie slump, and could probably use some time in AAA to sort things out. Some props should go out to Royals pitcher Brian Bannister, who's been a personal favorite since we were both at USC, however, the recurring theme of the Rockies season continues to be our lack of offense, despite a by then meaningless two run home run by Clint Barmes in the eighth, so let's highlight those deficiencies tonight:
What went wrong with the offense:
Phase 1: Before the game started
- Chris Iannetta was left in AAA. Miguel Olivo has done a lot for the Rockies in the early season, but the fact remains that his road average continues to languish (his ninth inning single when the game was already decided helps, but not nearly enough). The Rockies need to ride the hot hand with their backstops, that's the luxury of having two of a pretty high caliber. Right now, the hot hand is Iannetta, but it doesn't do the Rockies much good if he's giving that benefit to the Sky Sox.
- Jim Tracy filled out the lineup card. Following the time honored traditions of NL managers everywhere, Tracy used the AL park as an opportunity to play guys that have been sitting deep on his bench, and I have no idea why they do this, but he didn't limit this to just switching in a DH, as he also had Ryan Spilborghs start in left field against the right handed Brian Bannister. The DH of choice for Tracy is Jason Giambi, of course. Tracy in the last week has freely admitted how well Seth Smith has been hitting in benching Dexter Fowler, but tonight you saw him keep Smith out in favor of not one, but two inferior hitters. Why? Does Smith, who's a reserve to begin with need even more rest? Does he really want a PH in an American League park playing by AL rules? This decision made zero sense at the time, it makes even less in retrospect.
Phase 2: During the Rockies at bats.
- Brian Bannister got behind in the count to each of the Rockies first four batters, and yet the next four came up hacking on the first pitch. To me this suggests that there is some sort of disconnect, that Rockies hitters have little game awareness. I have no problem with batters being aggressive, but Bannister was throwing junk and swinging early was playing right into his gameplan.
- The early scoring threat the Rockies did produce was quashed by Troy Tulowitzki running into an out on the basepaths. It's the same pattern only in a different facet of the game. There is a good aggressive but there's also a rash, excessive aggressive, and the Rockies on the basepaths have fallen into this latter category too often this season.
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