The Coors Effect

April 22, 2010 10:06 AM

Rockies lose late to Nationals

So, this year's Rockies team has been a bit of a disappointment so far.

It's still early in the season, obviously, but a 7-8 start wasn't what most people had in mind for the Rockies this season.  This team was expected to contend, not hover around .500.  The Rockies, in fact, have finished every day this season save April 14 (when they were 5-3) within one game of .500.  Attendance for the opening weekend series against the Padres was solid; attendance for the second home series, against the Mets, was not.

Last night was frustrating.  The Rockies were playing the Nationals -- a team that wasn't supposed to be good, but finds themselves a game over .500 at this early point in the season -- and, after jumping out to a 3-0 lead, watched that lead disappear thanks in part to some poor defensive play.  The Rockies wound up losing 6-4, in what's been a pretty typical game for them: close, but no cigar.

The Rockies, actually, looking at their Pythagorean record should be 9-6, so it's no time to panic.  The offense is scoring runs; the pitching has some issues (specifically, with Aaron Cook and Jason Hammel both sporting ERAs north of 7), but generally has kept runs off the board.  While mid-April is far too early to jump to many conclusions, there are a couple of concerns that should be addressed.

-Jason Giambi is, well, pretty much done.  I hate to say it since he did play a key role in getting the Rockies to the playoffs last season, but Giambi just doesn't add anything to the Rockies.  Yes, 13 at bats is a tiny sample size, but Giambi has struck out in 7 of those.  Right now, Giambi is good at exactly one thing -- drawing walks -- and that simply isn't enough to justify a roster spot.  His defense is terrible, and his late surge in 2009 looks more like a temporary hot streak than any sort of rejuvenation; the Giambi that played in Oakland in the first half of 2009 is more like the real Giambi right now.  The Rockies have been through this before, with John Mabry and Steve Finley in 2007, and wound up cutting bait with both of them.

-With Melvin Mora, it's not obvious that he doesn't deserve a roster spot, and Eric Young is struggling in Triple-A right now so it's hard to justify calling him up.  But still, exactly what does Mora add to the team that the Rockies couldn't get from Young?

-While Huston Street is out, why not give Matt Daley a shot at closing?  He doesn't have typical closer stuff, but then neither did Brian Fuentes.  Ultimately, you want your best reliever pitching the ninth inning -- right now, that's Daley.

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