Rockies enter break on four-game skid
Rocky Mountain News
Vail, CO Colorado
The Rockies cannot complain about the All-Star break taking away their momentum.
They don’t have any.
In a season in which they have clung to hope because the rest of the National League West has been bad, the Rockies stumbled into the break Sunday, suffering a 7-0 loss to the New York Mets.
It was the Rockies’ final scheduled game at Shea Stadium, where they were three-hit by Dwight Gooden in the first game in franchise history, on April 5, 1993.
The Mets will move into a new ballpark next year.
Participate in The Longevity Project
The Longevity Project is an annual campaign to help educate readers about what it takes to live a long, fulfilling life in our valley. This year Kevin shares his story of hope and celebration of life with his presentation Cracked, Not Broken as we explore the critical and relevant topic of mental health.
The Rockies are looking to renew their season right now.
“We’ve got three days to feel better ourselves,” manager Clint Hurdle said. “We have to come back and play with a sense of urgency.”
The Rockies go into the break on a four-game losing streak, 81/2 games back of first-place Arizona and 18 games below .500 (39-57).
Only twice in franchise history have the Rockies been further below .500 at the break – 31-56 in 2005 and 22-54 in 1993. And only twice in their previous 15 years have the Rockies cut games off their deficit in an attempt to get to first place after the break.
They went from 8 1/2 to seven games out in 1997. And last year, when the Rockies won their first NL pennant, they went from 5 1/2 games out at the break to one-half game back of division-winning Arizona. That required them to win 14 of their final 15 regular-season games.
“We need to make a statement a lot quicker than that,” Hurdle said.
The Rockies were silenced in the series by the Mets, who allowed them one run – a Brad Hawpe home run – and 10 hits, holding the Rockies scoreless for the final 22 innings. The Rockies scored only twice in their four-game losing streak.
And to think, five days ago they were feeling good about the future. They started July by winning seven of nine games, scoring 68 runs and hitting 19 home runs.
It is similar to late last month, when the Rockies lost eight in a row, rebounded to win 12 of the next 15, then went on another eight-game losing streak to end the month.
“We’ve constantly gotten in our own way,” Hurdle said. “What’s behind us is behind us. We can’t change that. What we can do something about is what is ahead of us.”
Mark Redman, given a second chance to prove he belongs in the rotation, would like to forget his 3 1/3-inning effort against the Mets in which he gave up five runs.
Carlos Beltran provided the early stagger with a three-run home run, only the second he has hit off a left-handed pitcher this season.
Meanwhile, Mike Pelfrey allowed six hits in eight innings, continuing what has been as good a roll as any pitcher has been on in the past month.
He has won his past six starts, two against the Rockies, who have been held scoreless in 13 1/3 innings by him.
The Rockies are at the opposite end of the spectrum. Their season has been filled with unmet expectations, punctuated by injuries to key players, including currently disabled first baseman Todd Helton, left-handed starter Jeff Francis, shortstop Troy Tulowitzki and outfielder Ryan Spilborghs.
“It’s good to get three days right now to take some time for the guys who are dinged up to heal, and the guys who are hurt to get closer to coming back,” Hurdle said.
It’s also a time for a realignment of the rotation, which won’t be easy. All-Star Aaron Cook and Ubaldo Jimenez are set. Glendon Rusch, who allowed one run in six innings Wednesday in his first start since being called up from Triple-A Colorado Springs, has perked interest.
But left-handers Redman and Jorge De La Rosa are in limbo. Redman allowed 11 earned runs in 14 1/3 innings of three starts since returning from the minor leagues. De La Rosa has allowed 18 earned runs, 31 hits and eight walks in 18 1/3 innings his past four starts.
Other than the hoped-for return of Francis – which will require De La Rosa or Redman to make at least one more start – the Rockies’ only other option is Kip Wells, who has struggled to get out Triple-A hitters on his medical rehabilitation assignment at Colorado Springs.
He is 0-3 with an 8.84 ERA for the Sky Sox, but Hurdle has said Wells will get a chance in the major league rotation after one more start, with Double-A Tulsa on Thursday.
“We’ve got some issues to address and decisions to make,” Hurdle said.