BY LESLIE MONTEIRO
With Troy Tulowitzki on the disabled list, this road trip would present a challenge for the Rockies.
They are in the East Coast for nine games as they are playing three good teams in the Blue Jays, Nationals and Red Sox.
So far, everything has gone wrong for the Rockies in this trip. They haven’t played well, and they are winless in this trip after taking a 2-1 loss to the Nationals last night at Nationals Park.
From watching the Rockies this week, it’s clear they miss Tulowitzki.
The offense has been scuffling in this road trip. They scored a total of seven runs, and they scored a total of two runs in the last two games.
The Rockies are taking poor at-bats, and they are not creating a big inning when they are hitting. The hitters go down meekly once the other team is taking a lead.
The Rockies have stranded 35 men on base, including 10 on Wednesday night and eight on Monday night.
It’s been tough to watch. It shouldn’t be surprising this is happening when their best player is not playing.
Carlos Gonzalez is supposed to lead the way, but his struggles summed up the Rockies’ problems in this trip. He has three hits, and he has one home run and one RBI.
Nolan Arenado and Wilin Rosario were supposed to pick up the slack with Tulowitzki being absent. That hasn’t happened.
Arenado has two hits with no home runs and one RBI in 19 at-bats this week.
Rosario has three hits with no home runs and one RBI in 14 at-bats.
It’s hard to win games when the offense can’t make it happen.
This road trip certainly showed why Tulowitzki is valuable for a reason. That’s why fans get frustrated when he is hurt every year.
Tulowitzki is one guy that embraces pressure. He always gives it his all when he is out at the plate or when he is fielding.
The Rockies shortstop is such a great hitter. He makes everyone around him better. He does things that no one can teach.
Tulowitzki is a difference maker at the plate by hitting .347 with a 1.048 OPS, 16 home runs and having 51 RBIs. He is hitting .333 with runners in scoring position, and he is hitting .302 with eight home runs and 26 RBIs on the road. Those numbers play a role in the Rockies scoring 4.89 runs per game.
He always makes plays at shortstop. He is a guy that will make the pitchers work. His job makes Gonzalez’s job easy as pitchers can’t pitch around him. This also does not undue pressure for the Rockies outfielder to perform.
From reading Fangraphs, he is listed as the best shortstop in the National League, and for good reason.
It isn’t a coincidence the Rockies are 117-151 without Tulowitzki.
It was wishful thinking to think Arenado and Rosario can do what Tulowitzki is doing.
As good as those two are going to be, they have so much to learn to be good players in Major League Baseball. It’s been obvious in this trip by their poor at-bats.
Maybe they can get it going in the next few weeks, but that remains to be seen.
Gonzalez, Arenado and Rosario have to start stepping up sooner or later. They have to deal with it since Tulowitzki will always be hurt every year.
It’s a shame the offense is struggling. The Rockies are getting good pitching performances from Jorge De La Rosa, Roy Oswalt and Tyler Chatwood in this trip.
Anytime a starter is throwing well, that performance can’t be wasted due to poor offense.
The only way the Rockies can make folks stop thinking what could have been if Tulowitzki is healthy is if Gonzalez, Arenado and Rosario produce offensively.
This road trip has given a glimpse how bad it could get while Tulowitzki is out for a while.
The Rockies are playing the Giants and Dodgers at Coors Field after the road trip, and they finish the pre-All-Star break by going on a 10-game road trip to play the Diamondbacks, Padres and Dodgers.
It could get ugly soon if the hitters can’t figure out how to do well without Tulowitzki.
With the way things are going, it’s going to get worse before it gets better for the Rockies.
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