This is going to counter what I wrote a few days ago when I tried to defend Jim Tracy. In that piece I said the guys have to be accountable for their play on the field and Tracy cannot be held accountable for poor effort.
As pointed out by many of our astute readers the Manager should hold players accountable for their lack of effort on the field. If Carlos Gonzalez mis-plays two easy fly balls in Pittsburgh he probably should have been sat down the next game. If a player doesn’t hustle down the line he should have his playing time immediately impacted because of his lack of effort. The precedent has been set many times over.
All too often recently it seems the Rockies players are not in the game mentally. They are seen often not hustling with a few exceptions (Michael Cuddyer and Eric Young Jr. jump to mind).
And last night this was evident again when Jordan Pacheco slacked off on the base paths.
In the fifth inning Pacheco doubled off of Tim Lincecum with one out in the inning. I got out my handy Android which happens to have a stop watch app on it to time my workouts and I timed how long it took Pacheco to get from the batter’s box to second base on his double: just under 8 seconds. I timed it at 7.6 seconds from the time contact was made to the time his foot hit the bag and beat the throw from Melky Cabrera from left field.
After Jeremy Guthrie struck out Tyler Colvin stepped to the plate. There are two outs, mind you, and the count was full and what has every coach since little league taught players when there are two outs and a full count? Run hard as soon as the
pitcher delivers the ball ball is batted (thanks to David and Eric for the catch). Colvin popped up a lazy infield fly to third base and most would assume a big league player would catch that ball** but Emmanuel Burriss did not. I timed this event, too. From the time Colvin made contact with the baseball until Brandon Crawford picked the ball up off of the ground behind Burriss was 7.2 seconds.
Pacheco had a walking lead at second base and it is pretty safe to assume that he could go from second back to home in less time than it took him to go from home to second. As opposed to 180 feet from the plate to the bag it would have been about 170-175 feet with a walking lead and he should have been running as soon as Lincecum threw the ball. He should have been crossing the plate by the time Crawford picked up the baseball!
Instead he was standing on third base with an open mouth look that can only be described as Simpsonian (you know, like Jessica Simpson stupid?). I think he realized very quickly that if he had been hustling he could have scored. If he did what he was taught since he first stepped onto a baseball diamond and hit the ball off of a tee he would have scored.
The Rockies eventually won the game, but that isn’t the point. Athletes and this team need to focus on the process, not the results. With a team struggling to score runs they cannot give up bases and leave bases on the field. Pacheco needed to run and score.
Don’t try to tell me that if EY2 would have been standing on second base that he wouldn’t have been in the dugout by the time that ball hit the grass. And that is just another reason why I won’t mind at all when the Rockies activate EY2 later today and send Pacheco back to AAA.
At the very least Pacheco shouldn’t be starting the game tonight and most likely he should have been pulled immediately after that inning for not hustling. At the time the game was tied 1-1 and with Lincecum on the mound the Rockies needed to score runs. Tracy knows this and he must know that Pacheco cost the team a run and he must learn that he can’t be everyone’s best buddy, he needs to discipline.
The fear of course is that Tracy knows none of this.
**When they were showing the replay of the dropped ball on Root Sports one of my favorite old-school-baseball-cliché-throwing-idiots George Frazier says that Burriss is used to playing second base and that could be why he missed that pop fly. Don’t bring that crap to my TV! It’s a pop fly. Any big league baseball player should be able to position himself under an infield pop fly. If Burriss was standing in the parking lot he should make that catch. Burriss had to move a total of maybe 10-15 feet to catch a ball that was in the air for nearly seven seconds. Whether that occurs near second base or 90 feet away at third the premise is the same: get under the ball and catch it. Just another reason in a long list of them not to listen to Frazier. If he wants to talk about how to throw a curveball, I’ll listen, otherwise keep him off of my TV.