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Ah…Small Ball

By Chris Jacobson

“Situationaly, it seems that more and more the Rockies hitters are trying to get things going with the long ball and not the small one.”

Chris Jacobson, June 20. 2010

Ah what a difference a week makes. Just a week ago the Rockies seemed to be trying to assassinate the ball at every at bat. Carlos Gonzalez had transformed himself from a “lead off hitter with power” to a “power hitter batting first”. Clutch hitting consisted of chocking down and letting it rip. Games not won with the long ball were simply not won. After taking two of three from division leading San Diego the Rockies were dismantled by the Padres in their series finale and the team returned to the friendly confines of Coors Field. Upon their return they where rejoined by a familiar face fresh of a tour of the minors, Dexter Fowler.

Dexter appears to have taken his stint in the minors very seriously and looks hungry to help the Rockies compete for the very winnable NL West. In the two games since his return Fowler is six for eight with a double, two triples and a couple of stolen bases against division rival San Francisco. It seems pretty obvious that with Fowler in the line up the Rockies are happy to get speed on the base paths and then use situational hitting to score their runs. The Rockies are talking more about manufacturing runs and suicide squeezes than swinging for the fences and complimenting opposing pitchers for “nice outings”.

In addition to the rebirth of small ball, the Rockies have also been winning with pitching. The last couple of weeks has seen another return to the lineup as Huston Street as come back from injury and looks to permanently regain his closer position. Street has only given up two runs in his six appearances and those were both against a good Boston team. He is yet to surrender a walk and is averaging about a strike out per inning pitched. It’s still early in Huston Street’s season, but he appears to be just what the Rockies needed to get over the hump.

What was supposed to be a crippling loss to the Rockies in Troy Tulowitski, has been mitigated by superior performances by veteran Melvin Mora and suddenly hot Clint Barmes. Barmes has come through with both his glove and bat since Tulo’s move to the DL and Mora has played a very good third base highlighted by a fantastic stab of a line drive at the end of the most recent Giants game.

Early in the season the Rockies touted small ball, fielding and pitching as the way to win the West, and finally, at the beginning of July the Rocks appear to be living up to their promise. The post All-Star break run should be a good one if the Rockies and Jim Tracy just stick to their game plan.

1 comment:

  1. Small ball also encompasses good pitching and good defense. The pitching has been superb and the defense measurably better after a poor first month. I look forward to the return of EY Jr. to help the speed/small ball approach. I do believe the Rocks need much better power numbers from their corner infield spots