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Tuesday Rockpile: First Impressions and a Slap in the Face

Non-plussed Michael Cuddyer
Non-plussed Michael Cuddyer

After scrutinizing every aspect of the woman's profile, it is finally time to take the leap. You take the day off of work for your first date, completely unsure of what to expect but giddy and excited nonetheless. She's pretty enough, but before you sit down, she sneezes in your face. Then she orders the most expensive thing on the menu, spills red wine on your clothes, treats the waiter as if she has Tourettes, makes fun of your religion and bolts during a bathroom break.

In the Year of the Fan, that is pretty much the feeling the Rockies faithful got leaving their first impression of the 2012 Rockies. Worst first date ever.

And it was. There was no positive on Opening Day, a couple somewhat decent mopup innings by the sixth-string reliever aside. The pitching stunk...loudly. Prior to the Jeremy Guthrie trade, Jhoulys Chacin was to be the #1 starter. Instead, he pitched as poorly as his first MLB start. Almost as concerning as the wildness was a lack of velocity. After averaging 91mph on his fastball the last three years almost on the nose, he reached 91 just six times, never touched 92 and averaged 89.5mph. Not enough to be alarming, yet, but worth watching.

Meanwhile Barry Zito never threw faster than 85mph himself, and the Rockies were consistently well ahead of the lefties' offerings. Weak popups and weak ground balls were the norm. It wasn't as if the cagey veteran had the Rockies off-balance by being ahead in the count. Zito actually only started 11 of the 32 at-bats with a first-pitch strike. Really.

The defense, supposed to be a strength, was abysmal again. This time, it wasn't the catcher at third base or right fielder at first. It was the Gold Glover in left and Gold Glover at short.

Every aspect was at its worst. What stings the most is the lack of any type of adjustment by a veteran squad built to have good leadership. Ramon Hernandez' did not change his pitch calling or visit Chacin on the mound until the fan was caked brown. Each Rockies hitter still swung as if a 90mph fastball was coming. The focus on defense did not improve.

The Rockies are 1-3, tied with the Giants. We know nothing yet, really, but that game was sour. It doesn't matter if the second date is Hollywood-romance worthy - it will take a bit to wash that taste out. Maybe it is good there are 158 games left...maybe that's bad.

Other than Jeremy Guthrie, Juan Nicasio and Michael Cuddyer, everyone is disappointing. Todd Helton is hitting .083. Fowler .091. Tulo .214. Cargo .176. Scutaro .231. Nelson .000. Keep those numbers in mind when calling for a short leash for Fowler or Nelson. So the good news is it has to get better. That's all I've got.

Owner Dick Monfort remains confident these Rockies will be popular - The Denver Post

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