Saturday, May 21, 2011

Pauli-NO MORE

Rockies 6, Brewers 7, F/14

I try really hard not to be one of those fans who says unnecessarily disparaging things about the players on my team. I think fan support is really important for morale, and living in New York I've seen what can happen when people turn on their players. It's ugly. So that's why I keep defending Ubaldo Jimenez, Huston Street, Ian Stewart, and Chris Iannetta. I know what they can do, and I've seen them do it for us before. It would take a lot for me to stop being supportive of them. (I didn't turn on Franklin Morales until this season, if that gives you any idea.)

Well, Felipe Paulino, consider yourself officially out of favor. I might feel more inclined to give Paulino a break if he had played some good seasons, or even some good games, for us, but he has been nothing but a liability. He is the only pitcher on the Rockies staff with 4 losses, and he's a reliever. It's to the point where when he comes out, we all collectively groan because we know what's coming. I don't care where the front office puts him, but he must go. I would be happy to non-violently escort him to the Major League clubhouse of his choice myself. I don't wish him ill as a person, but I need him as far from my team's bullpen as possible.

The Rockies have got to win a game in extras. They just have to. Wins like that are a huge boost for any team, and I wouldn't say no to a boost right now. The Giants, by comparison, have 6 walk-off wins, while the Rockies have yet to win a game when they weren't already leading going into the 9th. The tough thing is that, in these losses, it seems like either the offense or the pitchers just give up after a certain point. The bats really stayed in this one. Four different times in this game, the Brewers either tied the score or went ahead, and the Rox battled back each time. Jason Hammel had a tough 1st inning, but only gave up 1 run. He got out of a bases-loaded jam in the 2nd, Then, he contributed the Rockies' first two runs by hitting a HOME RUN with Ty Wigginton on base! That's two games in a row where the Rockies have done something for the first time since 2004!

The Rox did a great job riding the Brewers' pitching. Zack Greinke, whom they disposed of easily when they played him as a Royal last season, was manageable for them this time, too. He got a 1-2-3 1st inning, but after that the Rockies reached base in every inning he pitched. After Hammel's home run, Jason Giambi hit one of his own in the 6th (maybe I was wrong about him - perhaps we'll see a homer from him in every game from now on). In both the 13th and 14th innings the Rockies took the lead again. In the 13th, Alfredo Amezaga and Seth Smith came through in a big way, hitting a double and a triple respectively with 2 outs. In the 14th, Ty Wigginton led off with a single and then Brewers' shortstop Yuniesky Betancourt turned a routine double play grounder off the bat of Chris Iannetta into 2 on with no out. Jhoulys Chacin, just about the only guy left on the bench at this point, hit a bunt that was fair but a little too close to the plate; Wigginton was tagged out at 3rd. Mr. Clutch Dexter Fowler took care of business by singling to left and driving in Iannetta. It was great to see the guys continuing to battle back instead of giving up.

But then there was the bullpen. Did you know that a team can have three blown saves in one game? They can. Ours did. It's got to be tough for an offense not to give up when they feel like any lead they get their pitchers is going to be taken away in the bottom of the inning. When Hammel left in the 7th, the Rockies had a 4-3 lead. Matt Reynolds struck out Prince Fielder to end the inning, but then Rafael Betancourt came in in the 8th and gave up a lead-off home run to Casey McGehee to tie the score. After four scoreless innings, the Rockies went ahead in the 13th and then Huston Street came in. He needs to stop giving up home runs. Especially to guys like Yuniesky Betancourt. But that's what he did. Score tied at 5. Rockies went ahead again in the 14th, and then it was Paulino's turn. He was the only pitcher left in our bullpen, and it felt like a foregone conclusion before he even took the mound. It's a real shame, too, because Matt Belisle, Matt Lindstrom, and new call-up Matt Daley were perfect, and one more inning out of one of them might have prevented this whole fiasco. But instead, Paulino walked Ryan Braun and then Prince Fielder hit a walk-off home run. The end.

Betancourt and Street are to blame for this loss too, but we've at least seen really good work from them this season. Paulino has done nothing to impress me so far. Obviously, when you get to the 14th inning you start putting in the ball boys, but to have an option like Paulino in the pen is as good as conceding the extra-inning loss, as we've seen. He needs his walking papers.

Tweet of the Game belongs to @TroyRenck, because I don't think he's ever said anything I agree with more than this: "If that isn't Paulino's last pitch as a Rockie, it should be ... Rox lose 7-6 in 4 hours, 35 minutes."

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