Welcome to the 19th Purple Row edition (and 124th overall) of Tuesdays With Mitch, where we the playoff races are heating up... Just not around here. Let's get into it...
August has been a rough month for the Rockies. Yes, May and June and July were also rough, but something about the kind of baseball the Rockies have been playing for the past couple weeks makes it feel like the worst stretch we've seen from the local ball club... like, ever.
And that is really, really saying something. That 2012 team with its four-man rotation and pitch counts and piggybacking was a 98-loss debacle. Last year's team and its obscene number of killer injuries was a 96-loss disaster.
And somehow, this 2015 team might be worse than both of them and every other team in franchise history.
We've known this team was bad for a long while now, but I never expected it to land atop the pantheon of all-time awful Rockies teams. But unfortunately, these guys are staring 100 losses right in the face.
After last night's predictable loss in Atlanta, the Rockies are 49-74. TWENTY-FIVE games under .500. So, for the Rockies to reach that dubious (albeit somewhat arbitrary) 100-loss plateau, they would have to finish the year 13-26, recording exactly two losses for each win. The more levelheaded approach would suggest the Rox will come back to the mean a bit and win more than a third of their games, but I just don't know. This team looks destined to lose and lose and lose and lose. Indeed, I'm thinking the only reprieve from the crappiness will be when the season comes to a close in San Francisco on October 4th.
Look at the Rockies' records by month:
- April: 11-10 (.524)
- May: 11-16 (.407)
- June: 12-17 (.414)
- July: 9-15 (.375)
- August: 6-16 (.273)
Perhaps the worst part about all the losing is that it means we have to see tweets like this from some guy who hasn't watched the Rockies once all year, but follows them on Twitter, so he can see when they lose, so he can make a joke about 100 losses, so he can feel good about getting seven Faves and Retweet.
@Rockies Man, you guys just can’t catch a break. Hang in there though, I’m sure you guys will turn that corner any day now!— Peter Burns (@PeterBurnsESPN) August 25, 2015
Pretty clever stuff!
Anyway, we have another six weeks to see where the rest of the season takes this team, so let's focus on some of the specific crappiness we've witnessed in the past couple weeks.
After somehow winning that series in Washington, the Rockies are 2-12 in their last 14 games. They've gone from 15 games under .500 (which is really bad) to 25 games under (which is also really bad) in just two weeks. And those two weeks have been the most unwatchable of the season, narrowly edging out the 11-game losing streak of early May.
In those 14 games...
- We saw a stretch of really solid outings from the starters, followed by a parade of no-name guys trotting out from the bullpen with a gas can in each hand.
- We saw the Rockies score a total of five runs in four games in New York.
- We saw Rafael Betancourt get cut. Just straight-up DFA'ed. A fan favorite that battled back from Tommy John surgery to pitch at age 40 couldn't play out his final season. Rafa showed flashes, but the effectiveness just wasn't there. Now his career is likely over. I understand the move, but it makes me sad. He was awesome for several years, beginning with that playoff run in 2009.
- We saw Jon Gray get lit up for the first time in his career. He'll be fine. Rookie pitchers get lit up sometimes, especially at Coors Field, especially facing a lineup for the second time in ten days. But Gray Day is pretty much all I look forward to with the Rockies anymore, and that sucked to watch.
- We saw Chris Rusin, fresh off a complete game shutout at Coors, give up 9,000 extra base hits* in like two innings
- We saw David Hale throw 4,000 wild pitches* in like two innings.
- We saw Jose Reyes kind of say he wants a trade. (Honestly, I don't really have much of a reaction to this one. But it's still not the most positive publicity)
- We saw the Rox lose to the Mets by an embarrassing score of 14-9.
- And we saw Matt Harvey skip a start against the Rockies, only for some guy you've never heard of to give up just one run in eight innings at Coors field in his only start of the year.
Now we proceed to the weekly departments...
And, most everyone surely shared that tingle of anticipation when you walk toward the dark, shadowy gates, down the drab gray hall and then there, suddenly, is the gleaming green of the infield. And you realize there's no place on the planet you'd rather be, and you wonder about those people who don't "get" baseball because, at this moment, even if they lived on your block, they're foreigners for sure.
A stranger, strange and strong, put her arm around my neck and bellowed: "I've been at this since about 8 this morning!" Hip-hop and techno music blared from the ViewHouse across the street, including the Lil' Jon song with the hook: "Shots! Shots! Shots! Shots! Shots!" Like anyone needed encouragement. At 1:35, the sun punctured the overcast sky, as if Mother Nature got last-minute tickets to the game.
There are certain things I can’t help but remember. My walk-off homerun ranks as one of my top individual memories, but also the most bittersweet in a year where I lost my mother and my starting job. I remember sprinting around those bases and screaming for the Giants to "get the F$&@ off our field!" It was the excitement at winning a very important game, but also the emotion of a difficult year filled with new life and death.
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