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Wednesday Rockpile: Rockies' Issues Transcend Road, Tulowitzki

Today is supposed to be Jeff's Rockpile. Given his prediction three weeks ago hot off the Rockies' 9-run ninth vs. St. Louis, was looking forward to his commentary on the team's tailspin:

When Troy Tulowitzki returns from injury, Colorado will be alone in first place in the NL West. They won't relinquish the lead once Tulo returns either.

But Jeff has fled the Rockies for the Andes in Peru, so we won't hear from him for another week.  It looks like his statement couldn't have gone more awry.  

And how?  Tulo's presence was supposed to help.  Facing the road-challenged Pirates was supposed to help.  Becing back at Coors Field for the first time in 16 days was supposed to help.  But the Rockies lost their seventh straight in the same manner as they did all road trip.

I am quite the optimist when it comes to baseball, and life really.  But I am not going to lie to you.  With the way this team is playing, there little reason to be optimistic.  It isn't just bad luck.  It is bad baseball.  They most certainly can turn it around, and they most certainly will.  The only question is whether it is too late.

After the team meeting in Philadelphia, there was one word written on the board in the clubhouse:  focus.  My take at the time:  

Message written on board is simple: FOCUS
Message read from board is simple: PRESS

There is a myriad of problems with the Rockies offense right now, and pressing is in the center of it.  Their leadoff hitter, Dexter Fowler, hit a home run on July 7; Dan O'Dowd believes it has damaged his swing.  The Rockies don't need Fowler to hit home runs - they need him to hit singles, yet he has managed just two since that home run.  I'm not as critical of Don Baylor as most, since he isn't taking a swing, but that's an egregious error that is three weeks past time to correct.

But moreover, the entire team really is pressing.  You can see it in Miguel Olivo's whirlwind strikeout in the ninth last night.  Or Ryan Spilborghs' inane out at third trying to stretch a leadoff double into a triple down two.  Or in the multiple instances of batters pulling outside pitches on the ground.  There's no trust within the lineup, and everyone feels the need to get a big hit, rather than playing the game fundamentally well.

The team has two games against the Pirates.  If they lose both, you can bet O'Dowd will have a dozen GM's asking for our players.  Winning both might be the only chance to stay afloat.  Either way, I'll be watching.

Twitter / Ken Rosenthal: Ken Rosenthal tweets that the Giants have stepped up for Jorge Cantu.  Granted, the Rockies were reported to have "stepped up" for Cantu just yesterday, so who really knows?  The Marlins want a lefty pitcher, though Brian Sabean isn't foolish enough to send Madison Bumgarner.  The Giants' only other top prospect southpaw is Dan Runzler, who is in their bullpen now.

Cook, Cubs' Theriot part of trade winds - The Denver Post - The Rockies seem hot after Ryan Theriot, he of the .318 OBP (that's 21 points WORSE than Fowler).  But as Dave Krieger says, if the Rockies don't win in coming days, acquiring Theriot or Cantu don't make much sense.

In case you missed the good news yesterday, Huston Street is okay.  He is day-to-day with an abdominal contusion and does not appear headed to the disabled list.  The Rockies are not going to make a move to call up a reliever. 

Lastly, an interesting tweet from Peter Gammons:

Teams that know they have to sign draftees above slot are told by Commish Ofis to wait until Aug. 10 to begin negotiations. Chaos ahead?

Kyle Parker was a special case due to his football commitment, but this directly applies to sandwich pick Peter Tago.