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Rock Mining, Week 7: Exorcising the baseball demons

A Saturday look at the past week of Rockies baseball, going beyond the box score to find the good and bad trends of the Colorado Rockies.

Rockies trying to breath easy after difficult first two games against the Giants
Rockies trying to breath easy after difficult first two games against the Giants

After writing last week about the Rockies sudden offensive power outage, I was able to go to my first Rockies game on Mother's Day in St. Louis with my wife and kids. I was apprehensive, knowing that the team had just lost its last two games by a combined score of 6-0. I would like to think my presence at the game helped, as the Rockies had an impressive 8-2 victory for which I made the family stay until the final out. Unfortunately, the Rockies couldn't keep this going as they headed into Chicago, but I remained hopeful that they had figured something out. Then came Thursday night.

As Jay Tymkovich wrote after the Thursday game, the baseball gods have been surely in favor of San Francisco. When the Giants started off Friday night with a four run lead, I decided to take direct action and provide a sacrifice to these baseball gods that Jay mentioned. Without a Giant handy, I had no choice but to sacrifice a panda and hope that this would be enough. It was an expensive undertaking but proved to be worth it as it was just enough to help the Rockies come back and win the game. How else can you explain Pacheco hitting his first home run of the year as a grand slam? Or the Giants' four errors in one game? Or the fact that the Rockies won a one-run game for the first time since April 24 (0-3 since then)?

Just so all the animal lovers out there don't yell at me, what I sacrificed was some Panda Express (some Chinese fast food, not an actual panda). So it was not all that pricey but it looks to have done the job. I hope that the baseball gods do not need more from me next week, because I really don't like the taste of rattlesnake. Seriously though, the Rockies needed this win. 10 consecutive losses to a division rival had the team playing scared. It showed in Thursday night's game, it showed in San Francisco earlier this year, and it showed in their all-or-nothing swings toward the end of Friday's game. Hopefully they will be able to calm down now and approach the next two games with patience and purpose. Two more wins or even splitting the series would give the Rockies a good way to prepare for the D-Backs. Cargo has been hitting the ball really well of late, and Dexter Fowler has quietly gotten some hits after a horrible beginning to the month. If Rosario can capitalize on his strong performance last night, this team could start running on all cylinders again on offense.

Now it seems that it is the pitching staff's turn to struggle. Giving up eight runs two nights in a row is tough and with Francis down, it will be interesting to see if Chatwood comes up and continues to do well. After I praised the bullpen last week, they began struggling while everyone in the rotation benefited from at least one strong start. Not a whole lot of analysis this week for all of you Rowbots, but it's time for the good, bad and the ugly.

The Good: The Rockies' position

While I would much rather them have a 10-game lead in the division at this point, the Rockies -- even after going 6-9 to start May -- have put themselves in a good position to be successful this year. They have five games against the Giants and three against the Diamondbacks before a four-game, home-and-away series with the last place Astros. I don't mean last in their division Astros, I mean last in baseball. As I said above, a strong week here and the Rockies will create a lot of buzz around baseball. Even without an average week, Colorado can ensure it is in contention going into June. Hopefully the demons are exorcised and the Rox can play normal baseball now against the Giants.

The Bad: Adam Ottavino with inherited runners

Someone else mentioned this stat, so I don't take credit nor have I validated it, but Adam had allowed six of his last eight inherited runners to score. Some players just need to come in to a fresh new inning and maybe he is one of them. Inherited runners do not show up in Ottavino's ERA but they are a big deal. Perhaps Walt Weiss can look at using someone else to put out the fire and let Adam and his 2.21 ERA take the long role starting at the beginning of innings.

The Ugly: The number 2 spot in the order

I know I have touched on this several times, but this still continues to be an issue. Batters not named Jordan Pacheco only hit .208 in the number two spot, with Dexter Fowler batting .235 and Josh Rutledge worse at .143. Josh simply needs to bat sixth or seventh in the lineup, where his OPS is 300 points better. And with Eric Young Jr. struggling, Dex needs to move to leadoff as he snaps out of his slump. This leaves the two-hole, well ... a hole. Pacheco can fill this on days when he plays -- and who knows, maybe Michael Cuddyer can step in when he returns -- but for now, it is likely to remain a problem. Pacheco has shown great ability hitting second this year, with a .370/.433/.481 line from the spot (albeit with a small sample size). Despite some negativity thrown his way here on the Row by commenters this week, Pacheco has shown himself capable and may even be growing in strength to be a better power hitter. It will be interesting to see.

Have a good weekend, and as always, GO ROCKIES!!!