For the seventh consecutive time, the Rockies failed to follow up a win with another win. The team has now not won back to back games since their eight game winning streak came to an end nearly a month ago against Arizona.
Let's start with the positives since those will be easy to cover.
A) Nobody got hurt.
B) The Rockies didn't get shut out thanks to a Josh Rutledge solo home run in the 9th.
Just about everything else tonight was garbage from a Colorado perspective and isn't really worth rehashing either, but I'd like to focus on two specific aspects of this game and discuss how they relate to the bigger picture.
1) Juan Nicasio was battered from the get go. Alfonso Soriano launched his fourth home run of the year for a two run blast in the first, and Travis Wood and Starlin Cartro each had RBI doubles in the second to make it 5-0 cubby bears. (That would prove to be more than enough with the way the Rox offense is handling things but we'll get to that in a moment) Nicasio did retire the final seven batters he faced to get through six innings (tying his longest outing of the season) and saved the bullpen some work, but there was no salvaging this start.
When Juan Nicasio was first called up to the Rockies in 2011, his blazing fastball command was his greatest asset. Maybe the neck injury destroy this ability, maybe he's just regressed as a pitcher, but either way he's now just an inconsistent arm with no secondary stuff to get by. All eight of his starts have been at least somewhat disappointing for one reason or another and tonight's dreadful performance against an underwhelming Cubs lineup may be the last straw. If the Rockies are serious about contending this season, this sign almost has to be in Nicasio's immediate future.
Then we have the offense which has been shockingly awful recently. After scoring at least two runs in 32 of the first 33 games this season, the Rockies have now failed to score two runs in four of their last five games, including getting shutout in back to back games on Friday and Saturday. Some of this can be chalked up to running into a string of outstanding opponents, but the offensive output for this team has been ridiculously poor recently any way you slice it!
One possible theory is that they are swinging for the fences too much. Usually I hate trying to speculate this stuff, but the numbers certainly show that the Rockies have almost exclusively used the long ball to score their runs as of late. In their last eight games, Colorado has scored just four runs from sources other than the big blast, and three of those were Sunday in St. Louis after they were already up 5-0 - So if you're looking for a rally where they strung meaningful hits together, you will only find one over the last nine days. They have not scored a meaningful run after the 6th inning of a game in more than a week! That's pathetic when you consider the depth of this lineup!
I have no idea what the solution is right now. Almost every position looks solid offensively on paper, but for some reason it's just not translating to the field. Hopefully everybody's just in a slump at the same time and most guys will break out of it in a big way when they play the Giants and D'backs from the 16th to the 26th, but it's also possible that the Rockies lineup is just going to arrive at solid offensive numbers in large sample size through booms and busts all season. If this is the case, it's going to be a very frustrating summer because that's not a very good way to maximize your offensive output.
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Games Behind: 3.0
Games Left: 124
Record needed to beat Keith Law's prediction: 34-90
Record needed to beat 2012: 45-79
Record needed to beat the Vegas Over / Under Number: 52-72
Record needed to finish above .500: 62-62
Number of Home Runs needed for Cargo, Tulo, and Rosario to combine for 100: 78
* * * * * *
Game 2 of this series gets underway tomorrow at 6:10 MT and will feature another unfavorable pitching matchup for the Rockies; Jeff Francis (1-3, 6.90) vs. Carlos Villanueva (1-2, 3.02)