The eight-inning complete game is a tough little pill to swallow. I’d like to think that Jorge De La Rosa pitched so well last night that the Phillies didn’t even bother to use their turn in the bottom of the ninth. However, it was the Rockies’ offense that caused the statistical anomaly. They were completely dominated by the combo of Cole Hamels and Ryan Madson, wasting what was perhaps the best start by De La Rosa in a Rockies’ uniform.
When the Rockies signed Jorge to an extension, they were hoping that he would eat up more innings. However, while he’s been solid this season, he hasn’t been able to go deep into games. In eight starts prior to last night’s contest, DLR failed to get out of the sixth inning three times. So to see him go a full eight was very encouraging, even if the Rockies took the loss.
Obviously, Jorge’s performance was an infrequent occurrence, but most probably don’t realize just how rare the outing truly was. First and foremost, it was DLR’s first complete game as a Rockie. Yes, even though it was only eight innings, it still counts. Last season, Jorge pitched past the seventh inning just once. In eighty-four starts with the Rox, he’s completed eight innings of work only three times. All three of those starts were in the 2009 season. His start was a gem by anyone’s standards. Too bad it was wasted.
As I said before, Cole Hamels was dominant last night, but the Rockies didn’t exactly put their best foot forward. Once again, with his team playing in a huge game against one of the NL’s top teams, Jim Tracy made some very curious lineup decisions.
Jonny Herrera is small in stature. Nobody is going to argue against that point. However, it’s a bit absurd to assume he’s fragile because he’s short. In fact, Herrera’s career track record seems to suggest otherwise. In the minors he was always able to play every day. Jim Tracy’s attempts to coddle Herrera are off base and detrimental to the Rockies’ success. Jonny is a productive weapon on a team that often struggles offensively, particularly on the road. He needs to play as much as possible. Injuries happen in baseball, but you can’t let that control how the team is run. Obviously, Jonny’s going to need an occasional day off, but Tracy needs to plan better and make sure he’s in the lineup when the Rockies are facing a tough pitcher.
This brings me to Jason Giambi. Quite frankly, it’s time for the Giambino to go. I love him, but he can’t play defense, can’t run, and can’t hit. He is a waste of space on the roster, even if he is a great clubhouse presence. Yet, Tracy insists on using Giambi in high leverage situations. Last night in the ninth, the Rox were down one run with runners on first and second and two outs. All they needed was a hit to tie, but Tracy chose the guy that’s hitting .115 over the guy that’s hitting .282.
These kinds of decisions are inexcusable. A high school cheerleader would know that Herrera should’ve been hitting in that situation. Tracy reminds me of somebody’s grandfather. It’s like he’s been given a brand new high definition television, but he’s afraid to break the remote so he still watches the old tube that he purchased in the 80′s. It’s time for Dan O’Dowd to be a good grandson and force Tracy to adapt by removing the old television.
Tonight, the Rox go for the split. They have a favorable pitching matchup. Hopefully, Tracy will start his best lineup.