Monday, October 15, 2007

You're killing me Smalls

Jesus Mary and Joseph. This NLCS is so frustrating. It's as if both teams have forgotten how to hit, and don't tell me they’ve had stellar pitching, because they haven’t. There have been a myriad of opportunities for both teams to take advantage of and they haven’t answered the call.

Both squads look indecisive at the plate. I don't care if you strikeout, but striking out looking is inappropriate, especially with runners in scoring position; I’m looking at you Chris Young and Mark Reynolds. The Rockies, who are supposedly winning this series are hitting .231 as a team and the Dbacks aren't much better at .248. Don't regurgitate that small ball propaganda to me about "all you need is timely hitting.” If you get runs in the first place, then you don’t need clutch hitting when the game is in dire straits. In the next round, the Rockies will need to strike early and strike often to win and even then I don’t guarantee it. I don’t think they can do it.

Seriously, these games are offensive futility at it's best. Every single hitter is fooled on every pitch. Even the pitch that Holliday hit out of the park was a bat flick that he barely managed to reach on the outside corner. The at-bat from Torrealba that won Game 3 was hideous. During the AB he flailed at a pair of 60-mph curveballs before he guessed correctly to hit the fastball. The only reason he hit the homerun was because he had decided to swing before Livan had come set; he guessed correctly, but that won't work again.

On the other side of the diamond, the Dbacks are getting worse and worse. Where they looked rusty and timid in the first two games, they now look unprepared and baffled. They have no approach at the plate, or any general idea of what the opposing pitcher is trying to do to them. What makes their floundering worse is the inability to change or adapt to their previous at-bats. Their mindset stays stagnant making the same mistakes and taking the same swings over and over again. You can't win this way. You have to change your approach as the situation dictates. A batter has to get smarter every single time they come to the plate.

Let me make this clear before the bandwagon gets out of control; If the Rockies play like this against the Indians or the Red Sox they will lose. The NLCS has exposed their offensive weaknesses. Mediocre pitching has, in essence, shut down both teams. What do you think will happen when they go up against guys that actually have a dominant pitch? Doug Davis, Livan Hernandez, Brandon Webb, Josh Fogg, Jeff Francis - these guys use trickery in the form of sinkers and cutters to induce contact and keep batters off-balance, and while they are good at it, it's nothing compared to truly overpowering pitches. If they have the same approach and the same at-bats against Carmona's splitter or Beckett's gas, they will look utterly lost and fail. And don’t think the Indians' or Red Sox's batters are going to take pitches, miss opportunities and let them hang around. The Rockies have to find some offense.

I'm bitter. The Rocks will sweep my boys tonight. I don't care what the score will be because neither team has played like they deserve it. All I have to say is the Rockies better start watching some film or start popping steroids because it's gonna be a show if they walk into Cleveland playing the same hodgepodge clown ball they’ve been throwing together thus far. I don’t see a confident strong ball club, I see a scared weak façade of a real champion. Welcome to Varsity Rockies, you better find an A-game.

- The Hokie

7 comments:

The Tar Heel said...

While I agree with some of your points, I can't help but deciphering the not-so underlying tone in this post and it sounds a little something like this: "My team is getting swept and I don't like it one bit. I guess I'll just throw the whole series out as single-A ball and pick whoever comes out of the AL to beat down the Rockies. Maybe that will make me feel better. If my team can't win, the team that beats them sure as Hawpe v. Webb won't win another game. Harumph!"
Seriously, need I remind you what our old friend Herm Edwards so poignantly pointed out in one post game press conference? YOU PLAY TO WIN THE GAME! It's not about style points - though double plays, acrobatic diving catches in the outfield, very consistent pitching and timely hitting all rank highly in my book - it's about coming out on top and living to play another day. The Rocks have been playing like each game was their last for over a month now and until some team shows they can match that level of intensity for a full nine innings, I like their chances.

The Tar Heel said...

Or maybe Holliday actually read the blog and set out to prove you wrong and me right. With his 3-run jack, the Rocks just put up a 6-spot in 4th (which isn't even over yet). Time to get out the brooms kids.

DMG said...

Consistent pitching and overwhelming intensity seem to be a bit at odds to me. Baseball is very different from sports like football, hockey and soccer - you can't give this big time Knute Rockne speeches and get your guys all riled to play with intensity. It requires more planning and patience than other sports.

Bonus points for the use of 'Harumph!' though

The Friendship said...

I am a little bitter, no doubt. But the intensity that they so clearly displayed against the Padres and the Phillies has not shown itself in this series, on either side of the diamond, Dbacks or Rockies.

I believe you are buying too much into hype, though. Streaks and superstitions are a mirage, fairy dust. They play good solid baseball but at some point solid baseball won't cut it. I just expected this to be a better played series from both teams and they have not delivered. And I'm not talking about defense or hustle. They've had that. I'm talking about hitting and hitting alone.

Before Game 4, these two teams had combined for 50 strikeouts. That means that each team has left almost an entire game in the batters box. That's not good baseball.
And you've watched these pitchers, they aren't blowing people away. They are contact pitchers. The hitting has been subpar at best.
Defense in this series has been a wash. Rocks have 1 error, the Dbacks have 2. Rocks have a .992 fielding percentage, Dbacks have .982. The Dbacks have a .714 defensive efficiency rating, the Rocks have a .695. The Rockies have 87 putouts, the Dbacks have 84. These statistics are just major league players making plays, neither team flashier than the next.

As I'm writing this they are taking it to Micah Owings... that is a reassuring sign but don't go to sleep on how silly Dice-k and Westbrook looked tonight and that's the third tier of the AL. The Rockies need to keep getting better. And beating up on a Rookie may instill confidence but it doesn't keep you sharp.

We'll have to wait and see, Maybe they'll prove me wrong, maybe they will live to play another day. But the Diamondback colored glasses have been removed from my eyes, and I'm looking at the World Series as a realist.

Also, might I remind you, you are a Braves fan looking down at me from your bandwagon. I wouldn't judge too hard, the fall could hurt.

The Friendship said...

Oh, just to clear something up as well. I think Holliday is a beast. He's an absolute monster and I've said in previous posts that he's the best hitter in the League. That's all.

DMG said...

Where are you finding these stats, B.P.?

The Friendship said...

I found all the stats on MLB.com. They have breakdowns for each team and each stage of the playoffs. Pretty good stuff.