Where is Jim Mora when you need him?

Wednesday night would be a perfect chance for his famous “playoffs, playoffs?” press conference.

A team that seemed to be destined to win their first-ever National League West title, the Rockies look more like the team of the early 2000’s that struggled to win 70 games every year.

The Rockies dropped a 10 inning pitchers duel 6-2 after Matt Belisle gave up a no-doubt grand slam to Carlos Lee. Belisle will see his name in the loss column for the second straight day, but he should not hang his head for too long.

The righty reliever has been tough as nails all year long. The 30-year old has already logged 38 innings in 27 games. He has been due for a setback for quite a while with his long innings and few breaks. He has been used in nearly every situation. He has been a mop-up man, he has been a middle reliever, and he has finished six games.

As has been the case all season long, this loss falls on the shoulders of a miserably performing offense.

It may sound harsh, but the fact is, the failures of this offense absolutely cannot be understated.

In a game in which the 2008 Aaron Cook finally showed up at Coors Field, the same-old typical 2010 batting lineup showed up once again.

In a move that reeks of desperation, manager Jim Tracy juggled the lineup. He gave Melvin Mora his first career start at first base, inserted Jonathan Herrera at second base for Clint Barmes, had Chris Iannetta behind the plate and put Seth Smith in the six hole for the first time all season long.

The move, like so many others so far in 2010, did not work.

For his part, Cook pitched seven innings of baseball that were vintage Aaron Cook. He gave up two runs on five hits, while walking one. He did not strike out a batter. Cook limited the Astros to just two runs after loading the bases with no one out in the fifth inning.

Frankly, there are no words to describe a pathetic offense that is playing so far below it’s ability. For Rockies’ fans, it may have been easier to stick with the team in the early 2000’s when the only player worth paying to watch was Todd Helton. At least those teams weren’t expected to be good. When they blew a game like the Rockies did on Wednesday, it was simply another loss.

Now, when the Rockies drop their second game in a row to the lowly Astros, scoring just two runs for the second straight night, Rockies fans get the privilege of going to bed with a sick feeling in their stomach.

Many players, including Chris Iannetta in his postgame comments, continue to point to the fact that the Rockies are slow starters. Iannetta went to the point of saying that they are actually ahead of the game from where they have been the last few years.

Are they that delusional? Does that make them sleep better at night? Do they forget that when they had to pack six months of wins into four months in 2009 that they hit the playoffs running on fumes?

The fact is, it is not early anymore. School is out for the summer. The temperatures are in the 90’s, they have a pitcher who has already collected 11 wins, and every team in front of them in the standings continues to win.

Attitudes like Iannetta’s may be one of the reasons that everyone paying attention to the Rockies, except for the players, sees the importance of winning games against bad teams.

Baseball is a team game, and no player is responsible for a win or a loss, but to pick on Iannetta, the Rockies record with him behind the plate is a dismal 3-9. While stats can be used to say that he is a beneficial player, at some point it has to be acknowledged that sometimes when a player plays with emotion and fire the way Miguel Olivo does and the way Yorvit Torrealba did before him, it helps a team get into a game.

Obviously singling out Iannetta is not fair. There are 24 other guys in the Rockies clubhouse, and one sitting in the manager’s office, who deserve their fair share of the blame. Every player not named Ubaldo Jimenez has moments in their season that have cost the team games.

The fact that this team sits just one game over .500 59 games into the season is awful. Maybe it’s time to lower the expectations on this team. Maybe they are simply not as good as everyone expected.

The only problem is everyone knows that they are better than they are performing. They have all the talent to be 10 games over .500 right now, but are just one game over, and frankly, they are lucky to be that good.

As early June turns to mid-June, and in the midst of playing 13-out of-16 at Coors Field, the Rockies have a just a few precious days to turn their season around.

If they play like they have been, they may as well start planning on what they are going to focus on at spring training in 2011.


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