Sometimes late score changes are a burden for the bloggers of the world, other days, not so much. Had the Rockies held on to their late lead over Arizona and won this game, I think the same topics would be on my mind now. What was supposed to be an improved offense is quickly turning into an even more painful perfected version of the baserunner-stranding machine that was last year's Colorado hitting attack. The team's fundamentals are not good, particularly defense and baserunning. It seems almost beside the point to mention the fact that it was LaTroy Hawkins who lost the game for the Rockies (again), because believe it or not Hawkins is not the Rockies' biggest problem.
How can you score only four runs off of ten hits and seven walks (and one reached on error)? It takes some doing. Colorado is struggling with slow starts from players at the top of the lineup (Willy Taveras) and the bottom (the Chris Iannetta/Troy Tulowitzki combination has yet to arrive), but Holliday, Atkins, and Hawpe have looked like different hitters with runners on in front of them. Maybe they look across the field and see Hawkins getting loose in the Rockies bullpen and they figure why bother.
As for the fundamental issues, I don't know what to make of that. I can understand why Taveras and Kaz Matsui are having some adjustment issues in the field getting used to new teammates at the surrounding positions, but with the bad baserunning it's been guys like Jamey Carroll and Todd Helton who have been just as likely as the kids to make bad outs trying to take the unnecessary extra base. I don't recall the Rockies being this bad at the small stuff last season. I blame Clint Hurdle's new-contract complacency.
But also, there is more at stake this year. We've seen most of the teams in the NL West now (with the Giants coming to Denver at the beginning of next week), and none of them are particularly good. The Rockies lost a lot of games last season because they weren't as good as the team they were playing. I don't think that's been the case in any of the series so far. The team is already establishing a knack for not doing the little things necessary to win close games, a problem that unquestionably starts with the bullpen but can spread to the mentality held by hitters and starting pitchers alike.
Given the condition of their starting rotation when the season began, I'm a little surprised that the Rockies have been in every game so far. I figured we were due for one or two outright pastings by now. Byung-Hyun Kim will get a spot start tomorrow in place of Rodrigo Lopez (elbow), so maybe here it is. It'd be a fitting end to the first NL West road trip of the year, one that like so many west coast swings past began with promise and then went south scary quick.