"This is unacceptable," Rockies third baseman Nolan Arenado said. "This is a thing you can't let happen. We need to play better better baseball, I need to play better baseball."
After a blistering hot spring that saw him hit at a .542 clip in the Cactus League, Arenado is just 3-for-19 in the first five games of the regular season, though he has walked three times and struck out just once. He was 0-for-3 with a walk on Saturday.
"We need to make sure we nip this in the bud and stop having games like this," Arenado said.
However, the real issue for the Rockies Saturday and throughout the first week of the season has been pitching. On Saturday, it was Jorge De La Rosa who struggled for Colorado, lasting just four innings and allowing seven runs, all earned, on seven hits with five walks and three strikeouts. He threw 97 pitches in his four innings of work, 54 for strikes and allowed three home runs.
"Those guys have faced him a lot," Rockies catcher Nick Hundley said about his battery mate. "We were getting behind in counts, working way harder than we needed to."
The Rockies were counting on De La Rosa, a key part of their rotation for the better part of a decade now, to pick up the slack after Jordan Lyles lasted just 3⅓ innings in Friday's home opener.
"You've got to get more than three and four inning starts," Rockies manager Walt Weiss said. "The pen's definitely been stretched already."
That stretched bullpen did not help matters after De La Rosa's departure, as Jason Gurka allowed three runs on six hits in his two innings of work and veterans Chad Qualls and Boone Logan combined to allow six runs in the ninth. Hundley, who worked all nine innings behind the plate on Saturday, said that while the pitching has not been to par yet in 2016 there are plenty of small things that can help fix the problem.
"A lot can be done," Hundley said. "We can call better pitches, we can execute locations better up and down the staff and throughout the bullpen."
One specific Hundley pointed to was pitchers getting ahead in counts as right-hander Tyler Chatwood did in Wednesday's 4-3 win in Arizona.
"The best start we've had was (Chatwood's) and it seemed like he was ahead in every count, that's what we need to continue to preach, continue to execute," Hundley said.
One bright spot on the mound Saturday was 21-year-old reliever Miguel Castro, who retired all six Padres he faced, four by strikeout, in his two innings of work. Hundley said the Rockies are trying to take positives from performance's like Castro's and solace in the fact that things are still in the early going of the 2016 season.
"It's early and we have to stay positive," Hundley said. "You can't go and hide your head in the sand, it's April 9th."
The biggest positive of the first five games for the Rockies has been the performance of rookie shortstop Trevor Story, who hit six home runs in the first four games of 2016 before going 1-for-5 with three srtikeouts on Saturday. Story said that while he was pleased with his start to his career, he wants more than the team's 2-3 record.
"Personal achievements are cool and everything, but that's not why we're here. we're here to win," Story said.
More than anything, the Rockies are trying keep in mind that while the two losses to San Diego currently constitute 40 percent of their season, they are but a small sample in the 162-game grind that is to come over the next six months.
"It's only two games that have been really bad, and yeah we can fix this easily," Arenado said.