BY LESLIE MONTEIRO
The Rockies knew they were in for a tough day yesterday when Carlos Gonzalez had to leave the game after he was hit in the left foot by a foul ball in the first inning.
It carried over in the third inning when Dexter Fowler was hit by a pitch that caused him to leave the game.
Then, Troy Tulowitzki had to leave the game after he injured his rib by attempting to dive for a groundball out in the eighth inning. That was the same inning that the Nationals took the lead and went on to take a 5-4 victory against the Rockies.
The loss was nothing when the Rockies found out that Tulowitzki has to go on the disabled list with a broken rib. He will miss 4 to 6 weeks.
At least, Gonzalez and Fowler won’t miss time.
This does not make the Rockies feel better, though.
They are losing a MVP player for a good amount of time. That means he will be playing at the end of July if he can recover from the rib injury.
By then, who knows how the Rockies are going to do in the standings? Who knows if he can be the same player he was this season after he comes back from the disabled list?
They are playing the Giants at the end of the month at Coors Field, and they will play the Dodgers twice along with playing the Diamondbacks and Padres to start the month of July.
This is where the Rockies are going to need Tulowitzki for them to beat those teams.
It’s hard to replace Tulowitzki. There’s no getting around that.
No one can duplicate a hitter that is hitting .347 with a 1.048 OPS, 16 home runs and 51 RBIs in Tulowitzki.
No one can make plays that Tulowitzki does when he plays shortstop. He can be relied on to make a great play every game.
There is no question Carlos Gonzalez will be affected. Pitchers will intentionally walk him with Tulowitzki not playing unless Wilin Rosario or Nolan Arenado can offer protection by hitting.
Good luck to that. Rosario and Arenado are going to be inconsistent as young players. They are learning on the job, so odds are Gonzalez will be getting many intentional walks in the near future.
It’s up to Rosario or Arenado to figure out a way to get hits.
As for Tulowitzki, he is frustrated that he is hurt.
He is having a MVP season, and he was on his way to play in the All-Star Game in New York in July. Being on the disabled list was the last thing he needed.
It’s something Rockies fans fail to realize.
There are fans that rip Tulowitzki for not playing through injuries, and there are fans that are upset he gets hurt every year.
It’s understandable why they would feel that way. He is the difference between winning and losing, and Rockies fans found out last year when the Rockies lost 98 games with him being out for the year with a groin injury.
When a guy is injury-prone like Tulowtizki is, fans are not going to be happy.
There are going to be questions if Tulowitzki’s body is fragile to play Major League Baseball. It’s something the Rockies shortstop has to think about it sooner or later.
Here’s a long list of injuries about Tulowitzki:
He torn his tendon in his left quadriceps in 2008.
He injured his palm in 2008 after he slammed the bat in frustration.
He missed last year with a groin injury.
He sprained his shoulder on a slide.
His leg was hurting this year.
Now, his rib hurts.
It’s one thing or another with Tulowitzki. One can’t help, but feel bad for him.
No one puts his time at his job than Tulowitzki. He is out there early at batting practice, and he stays late. He will always sacrifice his body to get on base or make a play. There’s why the Rockies like him, and that’s why he is a winner.
None of this means anything when he gets hurt every year. Rockies fans talk more about his injuries than his play.
That’s unfortunate. One should feel empathy for Tulowitzki. This is not easy for him to go through.
All he wants to do is play baseball and lead the Rockies to a championship.
Instead, he has to answer questions again about why he is injury-prone.
When Tulowitzki comes back, there are going to be people betting the over and under about him being hurt again.
Even the Rockies have to be asking themselves that question.
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