Well, that didn’t last long.
Obviously inspired by my last post, the Rockies roared out to a 5-1 start. After dropping a game they should have won in the season opener, the Rox reeled off five straight wins, matching their season-high from a year ago. They took two-of-three from Milwaukee before sweeping San Diego at home.
The offense pummeled the ball, but the most surprising, and hope-inspiring, aspect of the start was the performance of the rotation. In their first six games, Rockies starters turned in five quality starts, and the one game that wasn’t turned out to be a Colorado victory.
Clearly the team’s biggest question mark heading into the season, the rotation provided a glimmer of hope that maybe, just maybe, this season wouldn’t be another lost cause. All spring long, we’ve heard that they didn’t need to be great, merely good because of the tremendous lineup. We kept hearing that this year would be better because it simply couldn’t be any worse. After the first week, maybe the organization was right.
And then the Rockies had to go to San Francisco.
AT&T Park has long been a house of horrors for the Rockies. The only certain things in life are death, taxes, and the Rockies getting owned out by the bay. Obviously the Giants are good, having won two-of-the-last three World Series, but it has always been this way. Even the playoff teams of 2007 and 2009 sucked against the Giants.
Dating back to last season, the Rockies have lost nine straight games to their division rivals. That’s just sad. So while the start to the season was very encouraging, this series would be a serious test and go a long way towards determining whether this year’s team was going to be different.
The early returns were promising. The Rockies dropped the opener 4-2, but they were competitive and probably should have won the game. Jorge de la Rosa turned in a quality start, and the Rockies had their chances.
Game 2 was even better. Colorado rocked two-time Cy Young-winner Tim Lincecum for six runs and jumped out to a 6-2 lead. They were on the verge of getting yet another quality start from the rotation, and things were looking good.
Then the bullpen entered the fray.
Adam Ottavino entered the game and promptly gave up a three-run home run to Brendan freakin’ Crawford, of all people. Did I mention that it was his first of the season? No? Oh, and it was opposite field, too.
By the time the inning was mercifully over, it was all tied up at 6. Okay, the game’s not over boys. We can still win this.
[Cue up three-run San Francisco 8th inning]
Okay, maybe not.
Wednesday’s game was never in doubt. Jeff Francis proved he has a career throwing BP after he hangs ‘em up, giving up 7 runs in just 1.2 innings, the shortest outing of his career. Colorado’s hitters made Barry Zito look like the Zito of old, allowing the embattled left-hander to toss seven shutout innings. He also went 2-for-3 at the plate. Need I mention he only had four hits all of last season?
The bullpen was supposed to be one of the strengths of this team, yet they’ve already blown two games. Offseason acquisition Wilton Lopez has struggled mightily, and Ottavino is the early leader for Please God, Don’t Let This Guy Enter the Game.
On the bright side, the organization just traded newly-acquired Aaron Harang—deemed unnecessary because the team is SO rich in quality pitching—to the Mariners for an unnamed minor league reliever.
That should take care of everything.