DENVER (CBS4) – After a great start it’s become a very rocky road for the Rockies. On Sunday they lost another series — this time to the last place San Diego Padres.
After starting by winning 11 of their first 13, the Rockies haven’t won a series yet in May.
Everywhere these days fans can see underachievers — players not performing to their capabilities. The Rockies is a team with the talent to win the West, but since the first two weeks of the season they haven’t played like it.
There’s still three-fourths of the season to go, so it’s a little early to panic. And their great start has the Rockies still in prime contention, but no one understands better than general manager Dan O’Dowd that some of his best players have to turn their seasons around, beginning with Ubaldo Jimenez.
For three months last season Jimenez was essentially unhittable. He was 15-1 at the All Star Break and started the All Star Game for the National League. But since then, he’s become a completely different pitcher. The Rockies have lost all six of his starts this season, and they know they need to find a way to get their ace back.
“This year has been a mystery to me and I’m as confused as anybody. You know, he’s physically 100 percent healthy,” O’Dowd said. “It’s a tough game to play. It really becomes difficult to play when you lose that little edge that you take when you compete at the elite level that these guys are at. He’s in what I consider to be a slump.”
O’Dowd said it’s just like an everyday position player and Jimenez will have to fight his way through it.
“I think his delivery is really messed up right now. Whether that’s mental or physical, I think he’s the only one who can answer that,” O’Dowd said. “The way we’re going to get him going is to continue to work with him.”
O’Dowd said he thinks Jimenez is trying to be a little bit too perfect right now, but they will continue to have him pitch bullpen sessions and keep putting him out there so he can try to work it out.
“Instead of trying to throw the ball in the black we need to try to get him to pitch in the middle of the plate and let it happen, whatever is going to happen.”
The Rockies two biggest young starts are also struggling. Carlos Gonzalez and Troy Tulowitzki have underachieved so far this season.
“I think they’re trying too hard. I’m not sure that the money is the focus of any of that. I think these two guys want to be great players and I think they feel a sense of responsibility for the team and they realize how important their performance is … so yeah, I think they’re trying too hard.”
O’Dowd said it’s a marriage through the long term and the stars will be playing through their struggles.
“Eventually, both guys, when we get them going, we’re going to be a much better team.”
O’Dowd said third base has been a “black hole.”
“It’s been frustrating. I think Ian (Stewart’s) case in particular is really perplexing and quite honestly disappointing. I’m not sure about the answer to that one either. Sometimes this game presents you with problems you’d like to have answers for, but sometimes you don’t.
“So far this year we’ve gotten no production out of a very important position in the lineup.”
Plenty of things have gone right for the Rockies so far this season. The starting pitching, with the exception of Jimenez, has done well. So has the bullpen. And clearly reports of Todd Helton’s demise were greatly exaggerated.
“He’s in a great place right now. He put the work in this winter and put himself in the position to have a successful season. All credit goes to him and the work he put in … knock on wood, if he stays healthy, he’s going to have a good year for us.”
The Rockies started the year 11-2, looking very much like the best team in baseball. Since then it’s been a struggle.
“We’re schizophrenic. I think we’ve seen ourselves at the very best we can be and I think we’ve seen ourselves at the very worst we can be.”