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The Coors Effect


July 26, 2010 2:16 AM

What the hell is going on with the Rockies?

Well, this has just been one hellacious road trip, huh?

Things were looking up for the Rockies heading into the All-Star break.  An 8-2 homestand to close out the first half had the Rockies two games behind the Padres in the West, and tied with the Dodgers for the wild card lead.  I boldly predicted that the Rockies would come out in the second half and take the division.  Yeah.  I was that optimistic.

And then the Rockies hit the road to open the second half.  And by "hit the road," I mean that the Rockies proceeded to take my hopes of winning the division for the first time in franchise history and spit in my face about the whole thing.  And suddenly, after a 2-8 stretch, the Rockies are 7.5 games back in the division, 4.5 games behind the Giants (who have suddenly gotten very hot) for the Wild Card, and coolstandings.com pegs the Rockies' playoff odds at a paltry 7.1% -- and the odds of winning the division at 2.3%.

Okay, so the team's playoff chances aren't completely shot, but, ahem, they're not looking too terrific.  We can blame Jim Tracy for tinkering with the lineup too much, but that's too simplistic.  I mean, you can blame Tracy for not letting any of these guys get into a groove, but right now Tracy is probably thinking something along the lines of "okay, none of these guys except for Ryan Spilborghs are hitting, but I need to put three outfielders out there.  Where's my damn dartboard?"  Tracy evidently wants his players to hit, and earn their playing time, but basically the entire outfield has taken the current road trip as an opportunity to suck, so... ummm... that strategy's not working.  I'm all for picking your guys and sticking with them, but when Brad Hawpe has a .259 OPS since the break, you can't really justify starting him, though it's also difficult to bench Hawpe in order to get Seth Smith's .658 OPS in there.

That's what makes the Rockies so hard to figure out.  It definitely seems as though the Rockies are extremely prone to team-wide hot streaks or team-wide slumps.  You can weather one or two hitters going through a rough stretch, but when almost everybody is slumping at the same time, you're not going to win too many ballgames.  That said, aside from Ubaldo Jimenez evidently forgetting how to pitch and the obligatory Bad Jorge start, the pitching hasn't really been that bad; they just can't cover the shitstorm that is the Rockies offense at present.

Anyway, it's tough to figure out just what happened to this offense.  Yeah, they're usually not as good on the road, but they're normally not this bad, either.  Hopefully returning to Coors Field and facing the Pirates and Cubs is the answer, though after the current five-game losing streak, it may be a little too late for that.

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