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Friday Rockpile: No One Safe From the Blame Game

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When you play a game like yesterday's in a season like this year's, there is plenty of blame to go around.

Despite allowing just one run on two hits with seven strikeouts, Juan Nicasio was such an infrequent acquaintance with the strike zone that he couldn't get out of the fifth inning. That is job number one of a starting pitcher. Blame to the starter. In 4.1 IP, six relievers combined to allow 8 runs on 11 hits, 4 walks and a wild pitch. Yeah the pen didn't hold up their bargain.

Offensively, the lineup gave more than enough, but Ramon Hernandez managed to swing at the first pitch with one out and the bases loaded in the eighth inning....and the ninth inning, both frames in which Arizona's reliever was experiencing wildness of his own.

Jim Tracy wasn't shy about showing his displeasure with the pitching:

"You can't pitch any worse than that. It's just that simple. We did not pitch well from the first inning on...We should have won this ballgame. It's that simple. You have to understand that this is what's holding us up." - Jim Tracy

It isn't really that simple, as blame can truly be pointed at almost everyone in a Rockies uniform, even especially Jim Tracy. Jonathan Herrera was double switched into the game with two outs in the top of the 8th inning, then he was pinch hit for in the bottom half by Jason Giambi, who was then pinch-run for. It would not have been so critical to burn three bench guys in one at bat, but Tracy not double switched in the 7th inning, then had to use his remaining benchman, Wilin Rosario, as a defensive replacement for Eric Young Jr. The bench was barefor pitcher Alex White to pinch hit in the top of the 9th inning, with the bases loaded and no outs, 80% due to that one spot in the order in the 8th inning.

All JJ Putz had to do was throw three strikes out of seven pitches, and a critical out was gift-wrapped. By WPA, the Rockies' chance of winning that game decreased from 53% to 35% in the White flag at-bat. So, no, not quite as simple as just pitching failure, especially when the bullpen has been strong most of the season.

Dexter Fowler

Other than Carlos Gonzalez, Matt Belisle and Jamie Moyer, just about no one is reaching the expectations or hopes we have for them. In large part due to sample sizes, certain players get more criticism early and it follows them in spite of marked improvement. Ironically, one of the better hitters for the Rockies overall this season is Dexter Fowler, who seemingly has a lynchmob constantly following him.

While several want Tyler Colvin to replace Fowler, the case just isn't there. Colvin has more power? No, not really. While Colvin is 3rd on the team in ISO, Fowler is 4th, just five points back. Fowler doesn't get on base enough? Actually, he gets on base 5% more often than Colvin this year. Fowler doesn't get the ball in play enough? He strikes out 7% less than Colvin. You want to play the more productive hitter overall, BABIP be damned? Fine, but Fowler has the better wOBA, OBP and wRC+ even with that 100+ BABIP disparity.

It is odd that with enough blame to go around to nearly everyone in the Rockies' dugout, the most has gone towards a guy currently having the best season of his career. Thanks for that, batting average.


Bees, fan ejection highlight D-backs' odd day - An Arizona fan was ejected for throwing a home run ball back on the field. The Diamondbacks' TV broadcast vowed to get him free tickets to a D-backs game, but really, that rule is familiar to anyone who has been to Coors Field prior to the national anthem. Perhaps the fan was just late, but rules are rules.

Rockies' Jhoulys Chacin regrets pitching through pain during spring training - Jorge de la Rosa did it. Jeff Francis did it. It rarely works to ignore pain, hoping increasing symptoms of a problem will disappear when continuously repeating the action that caused the pain in the first place. It sure is commonplace though.

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