The Colorado Rockies -- and their fans -- had a terrible, horrible, anxiety-inducing, nightmare-causing, embarrassment of a day on Wednesday ... but it is still early May.
There was no blaring hip-hop or sing-a-long rock anthems in the clubhouse after Game 2, just a cadre of befuddled ballplayers wondering in a palpable silence just what the hell is happening.
They seem to be inventing new ways to lose by the minute. In the first game of the doubleheader, Tyler Matzek pitched the most inefficient game -- in terms of strikes to balls -- in the last 15 years of major league baseball, at once exacerbating and symbolizing the rotation's already abysmal work this season in the department of not giving free bases to the opposition.
The Rockies did finally manage to score a little (seven runs) but none ever felt like they mattered. They lost 13-7.
In the second game of the doubleheader, the Rockies got a rare seven-inning start from Jordan Lyles who would only have been tagged for one run if not for a poor fielding play from Charlie Blackmon ... but they couldn't have scored if they had been batting off of themselves in Game 1. Well, they did get one run from the place you expect their RBI to come from; Michael McKenry. They lost 5-1.
But it is still early May.
Wednesday afternoon and evening were not standalone complexes by any means. The doubleheader from hell capped off (or sadly possibly not) a seven game losing streak in which the Rockies have been outscored 65-25, which amounts to an average of being beaten 9.29 to 3.57, as Matt Gross pointed out here on Purple Row.
The team's star and captain put it another way: "We've played some bad baseball," said Troy Tulowitzki bluntly. "[It's] kinda the method of losing. When we do hit we don't pitch and when we pitch we don't hit. The bottom line is we have to play better baseball."
When manager Walt Weiss was asked point blank if this was not a good team right now he responded succinctly and without hesitation, "I think that's fair."
Tulo agreed with that assessment but had another thought as well: "It's still early in the season, let's put it in perspective a little bit."
I think what he's saying is ... it's early May.
The team's dismayed star sat in the dugout long after it had cleared Wednesday night, searching for many of the same answers that we are. "That's not the first time I've ever done that, trust me. I can be in this clubhouse until midnight. And I probably will be."
Some will absolutely speculate that Tulo was (or is) contemplating his future -- and the possibility that it isn't in Colorado -- but I suspect with confidence that he was searching for ways to put out the dumpster fire and get this team playing baseball that they, and we, can be proud of.
The bench has been putrid, the bullpen has picked the worst times to implode, and for the first time this season, I found myself baffled by Walt Weiss' decision making -- especially his management of the bullpen during a twofer.
"No one is pointing fingers," says second baseman DJ LeMahieu, "and no one is making any excuses either. Everyone is frustrated. Everyone wants to start punching people, heh, y'know, just do something to help the team."
There is fight in this team. You may not have seen it on the field today, but the sternness in LeMahieu's face and the fire in Tulo's eyes say we will not quit on ourselves or each other.
Last fall, I traveled with my mother to Enid, Oklahoma for her high school reunion. On the trip, our radio listening of choice was whatever sports talk radio we could find and the topic of the entire week was how terrible the New England Patriots were. It was time to bench Tom Brady (and boy did my fantasy team agree) and Bill Belichick had clearly lost his touch.
The team was doomed, and it was time to start thinking about transitioning into the next era.
I can't remember; how did the Patriots do after that?
Am I arguing that the Rockies are going to win the World Series now? Of course not. But reaching any conclusions after such a small percentage of the season has been played is almost always remarkably silly no matter how terribly, horribly, embarrassing the trends are.
They play 162 of these things for a reason. If you believed the team would compete before this losing streak, nothing that has happened should change your mind ... and vice versa for the first eight games of the year.
The same people who would still be reminding Rockies fans not to get too excited -- or have too much fun -- if the team had continued a hot start and had won their last seven games are now using those same seven games as reason to give up on the season and the team ... it is still early May.
"We knew it wasn't going to be easy," says Tulowitzki, "Now we will see what we are made of."
Now we will. But we haven't yet. Not entirely. Baseball, like life, is oft about how we respond.
And it is, after all, still early May.