Gonzalez, Tulowitzki bail Rockies out after errors

April 11, 2011 | 10:40 pm | 28  

Carlos Gonzalez and Troy Tulowitzki helped the Colorado Rockies recover from pair of uncharacteristic errors, one of them Tulowitzki’s own, and take the first game of a four-game series Monday against the New York Mets, 7-6. The Rockies’ No. 3 and 4 hitters, who struggled with runners in scoring in their one road loss Friday night against the Pittsburgh Pirates, going a combined 0-for-11 with four strikeouts and three walks in the game, provided six of the Rockies seven RBI in Monday’s win.

The mistakes came in the fourth. After the Rockies tied the game in the top of the inning, Tulowitzki and Ian Stewart made back-to-back errors on the first two plays of the bottom half of the inning. Both runners let on base via the errors later scored on a Willie Harris double that put the Mets back up 4-2.

Gonzalez brought the Rockies back in the sixth with some defensive help from the Mets. With one out and the bases loaded, the Rockies, who went just 3-for-19 with runners in scoring position and left 12 runners on base, nearly let the Mets out of the inning when Jonathan Herrera bounced a grounder that should have turned into an inning-ending double play back to the mound. But Mets reliever Ryota Igarashi rushed the throw home, and while the Mets were able to get the force out, Herrera reached first and Gonzalez came up with two outs. The Mets infield then put on an extreme shift against Gonzalez, who punched a single past shortstop Jose Reyes to score two runs and tie the game 4-4.

In the bottom of the sixth, Gonzalez helped out in the field, throwing out Angel Pagan, who was trying to stretch a single into a double. Tulowitzki then partially made up for his error in the bottom of the seventh when, with two outs and a runner at third, he robbed Daniel Murphy of a base hit in the hole between short and third and threw him out at first to keep the Mets from scoring the go-ahead run.

Gonzalez and Tulowitzki put the game away in the eighth, again with some defensive help from the Mets. With Gonzalez up, Bobby Parnell threw a wild pitch that allowed Dexter Fowler, who singled and moved to second on a Herrera sacrifice bunt, to move up to third. Gonzalez then hit a dribbler back to Parnell, but the Mets reliever threw the ball away to allow Fowler to score the go-ahead run and Gonzalez to get to second. Up 5-4, Tulowitzki then completely made up for his error with a two-run home run to put the Rockies up 7-4.

Coming into the game Tulowitzki was 0-for-10 with runners in scoring position. He snapped that slump in the third with an RBI single that scored Herrera from third and then came through again in eighth with his home run while Gonzalez was standing at second base.


  • miketober | April 11, 2011 | 9:32 pm

    I can live with runners LOB and low BA with RISP as long as the team keeps fighting and getting guys on. I hate 1-2-3 innings.

    The Rockies are just going to have to live with the fact that road wins are usually going to be a struggle. That can be frustrating, but if you keep fighting you can come out on top, as the last 2 games proved. I love the fighting spirit. GO ROCKIES!

  • Steve Foster | April 11, 2011 | 9:39 pm

    Agreed. I don’t like seeing runners get left on base, but as long as the Rockies keep their strikeout totals down, especially on the road, good things have a chance of happening. Rockies struck out seven times, which is actually one of their higher totals of the season.

  • rockymountainhigh | April 11, 2011 | 9:52 pm

    1. Pitchers keep bases on balls, hit batsmen, and wild pitches to a minimum. B-minus: Did not give them an ‘A’ is too many fastballs over the plate making it too predictable.

    2. Keeping K’s to a minimum. B-minus: Not too many Ks, but Twiggy’s backward K with no out and Tulo on 3B. Stewart too many takes for strikes.

    3. After scoring runs early, keep the pedal to the metal against their bullpen. Grade B: A lot of traffic and we worked a high pitch count against the SP and then added more runs off their bullpen.

    4. Play small ball when needed. Grade D: Stewart couldn’t get the bunt down; Hammel laid a poor bunt which should have been a DP.

    5. RISP hitting. Grade D: 3 for 19; not good.

    6. Quality ABs with zero or one out. Grade F: Twiggy K and Stewart’s failure to lift the ball with Tulo on 3B and no outs.

    7. Avoid long losing streaks/win 5, lose 4 every nine games – consistency. Grade A: 7-2 on the season.

    8. One-run game results. Grade C: Getting better, now 2-2.

    9. Road record. Grade B-plus: 4-1 against bottom feeders.

    10. Intangibles: Grade F: Baseball IQ was severely lacking. Mets’ first run, Twiggy should have looked to home and thrown the ball there to get the third out without the run scoring. 2nd run by the Mets on sac fly – Hammel/Ianetta kept throwing FBs outside part of plate until Wright got the timing down. Got predictable – mix up the pitches. Betancourt in the 8th inning – all he threw were FBs for the first three batters and the Mets were ready and squared up. Mix the pitches more.

  • Al | April 11, 2011 | 10:05 pm

    This seemed to me like the kind of game that the Rockies would have lost last season. Glad to see them continue to push the Mets pitchers despite the number of runners left on early and the defensive mistakes. The team appears to be taking seriously the challenge of starting out strong in April. Won’t always be pretty wins, but the fact that they are battling on the road, and against teams they traditional play poorly against is a good sign.

  • Steve Foster | April 11, 2011 | 10:06 pm

    As for small ball, I’d give Hammel a bonus for the hit and run that moved Iannetta first to third in the sixth inning. But Rockies need to work on their bunting.

  • Mike Raysfan | April 11, 2011 | 10:26 pm

    The bottom line was another 1 run win on the road.

    I’m glad you mentioned the “3-for-19 with runners in scoring position and left 12 runners on base” in your story Steve. I find it a little disconcerting. Was it just me or did Jim Tracy seem a little defensive when asked about it? Although, I do agree with his “mind set” explanation. I’d also be willing to bet that if the Rockies were not 7-2 or 4-1 on this road trip and winning these 1 run games, there would be plenty of comments on here about it.

    As long as they keep winning I guess most will take some bad with the good. I will.

    It’s great they are winning these games especially when I think back to past performances involving the Pirates and the Mets and Pelfrey and Hammel.

  • dave in bayfield | April 11, 2011 | 10:53 pm

    Can’t argue with another road win…

    There may be a “mad” method by Tracy…having Bettencourt follow Belisle.

    Belisle is quick: “Let’s get it on, here it comes, try to hit it.”
    Bettencourt has to have the longest routine in baseball: “I might be ready to throw it in another 30 seconds or so.” It even ticks me off. Hope it does the same to opposing batters, but he got hit pretty good in the 8th.

    Nice to watch a game that ended before 9 o’clock with Tulo and Cargo highlights for ESPN.

  • dave in bayfield | April 11, 2011 | 11:08 pm

    Forgot to mention…very glad that the nearly very expensive “collision” between Tulo and Cargo was a near miss. I think I read Tulo’s lips saying “Sorry” to Cargo…

  • GARY | April 12, 2011 | 2:03 am

    Stewert K-LOOKING-inside corner-what are the odds?How did this guy get to the major leagues.If an old,overweight,nearsighted guy-ME-knows that pitch is coming for strike three-how can a major leaguer continue to look surprised,and helpless? Yes,I have decided to make Stewert this years Barmes.Give me 8 Jhonny Herreras and they will show all how to play the game right.And Bayfield Dave-totally agree on Bettencourt,although he is not as bad with no traffic.The more he struggles,the slower he pitches.

  • Robb | April 12, 2011 | 5:17 am

    Good point Al. This is s game they probably would have lost on years past. I thought Stewart was supposed move back from the plate this year to hit those inside pitches better? I have got to think AAA is in his future and hope he can fix his problems. They are a better team with him playing well. After a hot start Ianetta is falling back to the Mendoza line. Still early for all of these guys, both good and bad, but the bad better get going soon. I don’t think DOD will wait forever as this season could be special.

  • EdtheUmp | April 12, 2011 | 7:04 am

    I hope our season doesn’t come down to Iannetta’s performance. He seems more and more to be reverting to 2010 form. As long as we are competing we can “give him some rope” but it looks to be more than a slump.

    Am I imagining? Is the “book” on the Rox labeled…”except for Cargo and Fowler who always swing at the first pitch, the rest of the lineup always take a first pitch fastball strike.”

    We’re battling hard but I’m still a little uneasy. So far, so good.

  • Matt | April 12, 2011 | 7:25 am

    I’m hearing a lot of criticism for a team that is 7-2. The bottom line is that they are in every game when not playing their best and when playing their best they beat Kershaw 3-0 or dominate the Pirates on the road. Iannetta has been a beast behind the plate this year and the defense, despite the two errors last night, is as good as any other team in the league, hands down! Cargo and Tulo have made more plays to save runs than anybody should reasonably expect. The bullpen has been tough and the starting pitching has battled when not dominating. While the team has had pretty poor situational AB’s, base running errors, and haven’t hit with RISP for a darn, they are still 7-2. What do you think this team will do when they start clicking?

  • Wayne | April 12, 2011 | 7:29 am

    Gary, you and I can be the co-chairman of the “Stewart’s my whipping boy” club. It doesn’t seem like he has listened to a word that Lansford and Tracey are preaching. The wholes in his swing (which have been there for 3 years) are not going away. But as someone said in another thread, he is way too good for AAA.

    Ed, Iannetta sure does look like the 2010 Iannetta, and that is a shame. One because I want to see him succeed and he is playing the position better, and two because we have no adequate replacement right now.

    I’m like all of you, very frustrated with LOB and RISP numbers so far, but as long as they keep getting guys on eventually a clutch hit will occur. I agree Miketober, I hate 1-2-3 innings.

    Smith is hitting to all fields and also against lefties. Great to see that, and when Herrera starts he seems to fit nicely in the 5th spot.

    2 errors in a row. We may not see that again for a long time. It wasn’t anything more than 2 players being very nonchalant in fielding the balls, which I know won’t happen again to at least one of them.

    GO ROX!!!

  • Bill K. | April 12, 2011 | 7:40 am

    The positive: Hard to argue with 7-2, with the only two losses in extra innings. Add to that the fact that the Rockies aren’t hitting particularly well yet, and there’s a lot to be excited about here!

    The negative: Ian Stewart looks lost out there, and while I want to have faith, the lineup simply appears better with Lopez and Herrera in there. There’s no denying Herrera is a tougher out right now, and so far, it appears Lopez is also more of a threat. I’d love to see Stewart hit a single ball hard. Not to this point.

  • Phil | April 12, 2011 | 8:04 am

    As I watch this season unfold, it is apparent the Rockies (As good as they are doing need to make some changes. Ian Stewart needs to be sent down or released outright. All he does is strike out. Cris Ianetta still looks like last years version and now we do not have a decent back up like before. Wake up Rockies (Dan O’dowd)

  • Eric G. | April 12, 2011 | 9:00 am

    Bill, Stewart hit a ball hard to left field lastnight that went to the warning track. Off the bat I thought it was gone.

    Matt, I agree with you. Reading some of these posts (not all) it sounds like we’re 2-7 and not 7-2.

    It seems to me that Stewart isn’t picking the ball up out of the pitchers hand right now but once he gets it going he’ll be fine. On the sac fly by David Wright, Hammel was overpowering him on that outside corner. Why change it up? I would have stayed out there (which he did) but I would have elevated it a little more. The pitch Wright hit was thigh high on the outside corner. Other than that I liked Hammels approach on that at bat. On Hammel’s bunt, it wasn’t that bad of a bunt especially with 2 strikes on him. Wright was pretty much at home plate when contact was made on that bunt which made it easy for him to go to third. Yeah you can say “well Hammel should have bunted it to the first base side” but with two strikes on you, you just want to get the bunt down. Betancourt throws 90% fastballs. Always have and always will. It’s worked for him his whole career. Why change it? He just wasn’t hitting his locations lastnight like he usually does. It was a good win lastnight!

  • miketober | April 12, 2011 | 9:03 am

    I was reading about the game on MLB.com, and they claimed the Rockies had one of the best BA with 2 outs and RISP. Checking the stats (baseball-reference.com), the team is hitting: .246 with men on, and .221 with RISP. But they are hitting .292 with 2 outs and RISP.

    Here is another interesting (but not surprising) stat. They are hitting .212 when ahead, .279 when tied, and .347 when behind.

  • miketober | April 12, 2011 | 9:10 am

    Oh I forgot to add: that .292 with 2 outs and RISP, that is 14 hits in 48 AB, but 60 PA, so tack on 10 BB! Their OBP with 2 outs and RISP is .433 .

  • progmatinee | April 12, 2011 | 10:21 am

    I thought there was a lot of good to take from this game…the one in general is that in previous years, game on the road, errors made, a few bad at bats, a bad bullpen outing by a normally solid guy…those things used to mean a loss.

    This year we tooth and nailed it out. Maybe thats a sign of something special.

    On Stewart, while I hate giving up on a guy with so much potential, at this point I am hoping the Rox can find someone willing to pay for Stewarts potential rather than his actual performance. Find that buyer, Rockies.

    On Iannetta, he defense and game calling improvements this year have earned him some cushion. Its early, but those aspects of his game look to have really gotten better.

  • jaredean | April 12, 2011 | 12:21 pm

    This has got to be one of the best quotes ever:

    Tulo, when asked about CarGo’s throw to 2nd:

    “He can dominate a game. That’s why he gets paid a lot of money,” a smirking Tulowitzki said of Gonzalez. (DP)

  • catferret | April 12, 2011 | 12:28 pm

    I don’t know, I’ll take a .412 obp from my catcher.

  • Cameo | April 12, 2011 | 12:35 pm

    Stewart looks horrible there is no doubt about that, so I agree with you all there. But I don’t agree with you guys about Iannetta. Granted his average has slipped to .200 after a good first couple games, but his OBP is .412. If you are going to praise Herrera for getting on base, then you have to do the same with everybody else. Iannetta is definitely still getting on base which clears the pitcher, that is a good thing. Yes he has to hit better than .200, but right now all it takes is one good game and he his hitting .300 again. Iannetta doesn’t look lost at the plate right now in my opinion but Stewart definitely does. And I just don’t see improvement out of him either.

  • miketober | April 12, 2011 | 12:53 pm

    I am tired of hearing about how much talent Stewart has. Aren’t they all talented? Don’t all the FISSH have potential? Can someone please explain why Stewart is in this special class that we cannot trade him or send him to AAA or bench him when he is ice cold?

  • Wayne | April 12, 2011 | 1:04 pm

    He is in no class like that as far as I am concerned. My record of speaking to the “IOS” (Ills Of Stewart) are well documented.

  • Wayne | April 12, 2011 | 1:05 pm

    that should be “ILLS”

  • rockymountainhigh | April 12, 2011 | 1:35 pm

    I’ve stayed on the sidelines regarding the Stewart and Ianetta discussions that are all over the ITR. Nine games is still too small of a sample to make a fair assessment of them. Even smaller sample size for Stewart due to injury and illness. The only judgment I’m offering is that I’m more worried about Stewart than Ianetta. Ianetta’s defense/play calling has been superb and he still has a very high OBP. Stewart is still struggling to find his groove. Give him a few weeks.

  • Swam | April 12, 2011 | 2:18 pm

    I agree with Gary and Wayne about Stewart — and I think we all should at this point. His game is not at a major league level so whether he needs to go to the Springs or the DL, something has to happen. Our team is much better with someone like Tavares, Garner, EY2 or Blackmon as the 25th man. Stewart brings nothing to the team right now and there is no sign he is going to get hot. And it’s not just a nine game sample… we’ve seen him do the exact same thing for the past 2+ years, why would we think he’s somehow going to break out of his bad habits.

    As for Iannetta, I’m actually starting to see the good with him. He seems to be a great catcher and pitch caller. And he can work a count as well as anyone on the team.

    Pitching has been great though. Can’t argue with that!

  • Bill | April 12, 2011 | 5:07 pm

    I’m glad we won. Otherwise imagine the negative comments. It sure wasn’t pretty and if their were judges we might have lost.

    I don’t understand all the negativity about Iannetta. Batting average is the most overrated stat in baseball. OBP is much more important and he’s been doing that. Also been throwing out lots of baserunners including one in Pittsburgh where the ump blew the call.

    As for Stewart he needs to play, either here or in AAA. However tonight with a lefty pitching it’s probably a good idea to sit him. He needs some good at bats to get his confidence up.

    And I’ve never been a big Street fan, but he is beginning to turn me around.

    Hope they get to play tonight.