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Tuesdays With Mitch: Ball Four! Walks are killing the Rockies

ball four... ball four... ball four... ball four... ball four...

Justin Edmonds/Getty Images

Welcome to the fourth Purple Row edition (and 109th overall) of Tuesdays With Mitch, where the 3-0 pitch is not even close. That's ball four. Let's get into it...

The task of finding interesting things to say about the Rockies is proving difficult this week. In the last eight days the Rockies have played just 32 innings of baseball. That number alone is remarkably odd, but evidently the only thing more painful than no baseball is the brand of baseball the Rockies have played during their legitimately unwatchable nine-game losing streak. Zero of this week's 32 innings were awesome.

Indeed, things in RockieLand are about as bleak as I can ever remember at such an early point in the season. Matt Gross expertly outlined this yesterday, but I can't recall a stretch of baseball as awful as the last nine games the Rockies have played. The pitching numbers are staggering. Growing pains are inevitable with a mostly-young staff, but what's happening now truly boggles the mind.

The walks. The walks, you guys! THE WALKS!!!

My life has essentially devolved into this Simpsons clip if you replace "Moe" with "Ball Four".

ball four... ball four... ball four... ball four... ball four...

One of my preseason predictions for the Rockies this year was that even if/when the Rockies were bad, the infield defense would always be a treat to watch. Recently Rockies pitchers have proved this false and eliminated one of the team's strengths by literally removing their impact from the game. If the opposing team doesn't have to put the ball in play to get on base, it doesn't matter how good your defense is.

The scariest part of all this (except the nightmares I've begun having where I'm trapped alone in a room with a Rockies game on the TV and no way out and no way to change the channel) is that the Rockies have stayed mostly-healthy thus far. And throughout May they still have looked like one of the worst teams I've ever seen. If injuries start to hit... nope; never mind I can't even handle that thought.

ball four... ball four... ball four... ball four... ball four...

Last season the Rockies were playing good baseball heading into a series finale against the Giants on May 22nd. A win would have moved the Rockies to 27-21 on the year. That game was tied 2-2 in the sixth inning before it was suspended due to some crazy-ass weather. It was all downhill from there. The next day the Rockies embarked on their annual East Coast Road Trip That Effectively Ends The Season. Nolan Arenado was injured in the second inning of the first game of that trip and the Rockies went 2-7. Overall they would lose 14 of 17 games and fall from five games over .500 to seven games under.

This year the Rockies had won three of four games and were above .500 heading into a series finale against the Giants on April 29th. A win would have moved them to 11-8. That game was postponed due to bad weather. They've won one game in the 15 days since.

ball four... ball four... ball four... ball four... ball four...

Eerie symmetry aside, The Collapse isn't supposed to happen this early. And it's not supposed to happen at Coors Field. Then again, maybe The Collapse hasn't happened yet. After all, there are 134 games left on the schedule, which I can confirm is a lot of games. The thing is, I don't know if I'm supposed to react to that number with horror and dread or optimism and guarded confidence. It seems to be some strange cocktail of all four.

Things have to get better. They have to. My sanity depends on it. And they will. Because it's almost impossible for the Rockies to continue playing as poorly as they have since that Giants game was rained out. Deep down I know I will watch a game in which a Rockies pitcher goes six innings, gives up fewer than three runs, and walks fewer than 27 hitters. I can feel it!

So yeah, the Rockies' season will improve. Again, it's completely unrealistic for any Major League team to be this bad for much longer. And the Rockies' do have quite a bit of talent in certain places on the roster. But I think I've possibly, potentially, probably decided this team has no shot at contending for that second wild card spot late in the summer, which is what I considered to be a best-case scenario coming into the season. For the Rockies' to finish with a winning record they will have to go 71-63 or better from this point forward. That does not seem likely.

And while it's no surprise that we're declaring the Rockies to be a bad team, it really does suck that it's happening on May 12th. I would have liked to maintain my delusions at least through Memorial Day weekend.

A couple weeks ago I wrote that in the early season, it doesn't make much sense to analyze the standings and seriously worry about wins and losses. Enjoy the baseball, I said. Check the standings later. Well, the Rockies never made it to "later". It now looks like we'll have to maintain that "these games don't really matter but maybe we can find some positives" mindset for the entire season because the Rox aren't going to be considered contenders by anyone at any point this year.

ball four... ball four... ball four... ball four... ball four...

Now we proceed to the weekly departments...

Stud(s) of the week:

Surely you've seen this by now, but I'm including it anyway. One of the cutest, most heartwarming things I've ever seen at Coors Field.

In grown-up baseball news, Bryce Harper had himself a week, capped off with Saturday night's baller, badass walk-off.

People love to hate Bryce Harper. I am not one of them. He is awesome and great for baseball.

Ass of the week:

Replay officials reviewed this play for several minutes and determined that Charlie Blackmon was out.

Justin Edmonds/Getty Images

(Justin Edmonds/Getty Images)

That's either laughable ineptitude or outright collusion that completely defeats the purpose of implementing replay in baseball. What an infuriating joke. (Full story here if you're out of the loop.)


...uhhh,  nobody?


Some other stuff the internet had to offer:

We should probably start with the flurry of buzzer beaters from the NBA Playoffs over the weekend. Here's Derrick Rose from Friday night:

...Followed by Paul Pierce with an equally lucky bank shot on Saturday:

...Followed LeBron on Sunday:

And if those short clips are too long for you crazy millennials with your short attention spans, here's all three of them in one Vine:

The NBA Playoffs are slowly getting fun and interesting.

Simply hitting a home run in your first Major League at-bat is lame. Eddie Rosario did it on the first pitch he saw in the bigs:

How beautiful is this double play from the Pirates' middle infielders?

A couple links I enjoyed this week:

And finally, the latest in cool fan foul ball catches. Barehanded with a baby strapped to your chest is a pretty solid nominee.

Happy Tuesday, everybody. Thanks for readin'. See ya next week.


Comment on any of this stuff below, or email me at with post ideas, videos, or other media I should know about. Follow me on Twitter @TuesWithMitch.