Tagged: Juan Nicasio

Rockies finally have starting rotation that sticks

BY LESLIE MONTEIRO

The Rockies celebrated their 20th season of playing Major League Baseball this season.

This season is significant not only because of the milestone, but they finally found a starting rotation to build around.

It’s hard to believe, but that’s the case when the Rockies could have four starters achieving 10 victories this season.

Jhoulys Chacin earned his 13th win of the season last night after the Rockies’ 5-4 victory over the Giants at Coors Field. He pitched well again by giving up a run and a hit in seven innings.  He struck out nine, and this was the fourth start in a row he threw over 100 pitches.

With the way Chacin pitched since June, he is on pace to win 17 games. That’s impressive when a starter reaches that mark. That’s where he enters elite territory.

Jorge De La Rosa has 14 wins this season, and he is on pace to get 18 wins. If he had run support this season, he could have had 16 wins with a chance to have a 20-win season.

The Rockies knew Chacin and De La Rosa had the stuff to be effective. They were banking on them to anchor the staff. Still, no one knew they could pitch like elite pitchers. They certainly have by overpowering hitters.

For couple of Rockies to reach that number of wins, that is an accomplishment. It’s rare that the team has a pitcher having 15 or more wins. It’s something to be proud of for a franchise that has had a hard time developing pitchers.

It’s not only De La Rosa and Chacin that are doing well.

Juan Nicasio is on pace to win 12 games if he continues to throw quality starts as he has done since his start against the Dodgers on July 12. It would be surprising if he does not win at least 10 games when the season is over. He is good enough to get it done.

He always had the talent to pitch well. He can get hitters out by throwing fastball, but he is now throwing sliders, curveballs and breaking balls to get outs. He has been consistent in throwing secondary pitches since his start against the Dodgers.

He has been a great story, and if he keeps it up, he could be a mainstay in the rotation for the next few years along with De La Rosa and Chacin.

Tyler Chatwood has 7 wins, and with him being activated from the disabled list on Sunday, he has a chance to get to 10 wins as long as he is not affected from the injuries he had this season.

He was on track to get 13 wins this season before he was on the 15-day disabled list with right elbow inflammation several weeks ago.

Ever since Chatwood was called up from Triple-A Colorado Springs on May 18, he allowed two earned runs or less in 12 of his 14 starts. He also has won six starts during that period.

Like Nicasio, Chatwood figured out how to throw secondary pitches such as curveballs, breaking balls and sliders to get guys outs. That’s why both starters have been consistently good.

As good as those guys are, it’s about maintaining consistency for the next few years. That’s something the Rockies have to find out. It’s a challenge those guys have to deal with. Plus, those guys need to avoid having arm problems.

De La Rosa has been good for awhile. For him, it’s about staying healthy.

Chacin always had good stuff, but this is the first time he has taken the next step of being an elite starter after being inconsistent in recent years.

Nicasio and Chatwood need to sustain their success.

If Chacin, Nicasio and Chatwood can duplicate this season’s success, the Rockies are in good shape with their starting rotation for years to come.

Finding starters have been a challenge for the Rockies since they were born in 1993. Most of them never panned out. Free agents flopped, and young starters never had the confidence to pitch at Coors Field.

The Rockies finally found guys who know how to pitch at Coors Field. If nothing else, this should end the myth that it’s hard to pitch at Coors Field.

From watching De La Rosa, Chacin, Chatwood and Nicasio, they showed a pitcher can get hitters out by being crafty out on the mound. They don’t need to overpower hitters or bank on a call to get hitters out. They don’t need to overthink. They have to pitch.

It’s refreshing what these guys can do after years of watching pitchers fail for the Rockies since they did not have the confidence to pitch.

It’s safe to say the Rockies solve their riddle of fielding a good rotation.

It only took 20 years.

Contact me or follow me on Twitter: @TalkinRockies

Credit Nicasio for making improvements

BY LESLIE MONTEIRO

Juan Nicasio throwing on the mound (AP Photo/Barry Gutierrez)

Juan Nicasio throwing on the mound (AP Photo/Barry Gutierrez)

No one figured Juan Nicasio would be in the rotation for extended amount of time after he filled in for Roy Oswalt by making a start against the Dodgers on July 12.

Nicasio used that start as an audition to be the starter the rest of the season, and he made the most of it by pitching a 3-0 shutout against the Dodgers. He used that performance as a springboard to his success in his next few outings, and the rest is history. This is why he has established himself as the fourth starter in the rotation.

Nicasio continued his good run of quality starts by allowing no runs and four hits in six innings in the Rockies’ 6-1 victory over the Giants last night at Coors Field.  He matched his season-high nine strikeouts in that outing.

This is a different pitcher than the one the Rockies saw from Nicasio earlier this year. He knows how to pitch out of jams as he demonstrated in the first inning last night with the bases loaded. His command is much better. He is using secondary pitches such as throwing curveballs, sliders and breaking balls to get hitters out rather than relying solely on the fastball.

His improvement has created confidence for him as a result. It shows when he has a 3.38 ERA in nine starts since his start against the Dodgers.

There’s no question Nicasio can pitch. He’s a battler, and he knows how to throw strikeouts. Those are two important attributes for a starter to be effective.

The problem with Nicasio in the first few months was he never had any secondary pitches to get hitters outs. He relied on the fastball too often, and hitters figured him out. It was a recipe for disaster, and that’s why he struggled to get hitters out when he faced them for the second straight time.

Now, it’s a different story. Hitters don’t know if he is going to throw a fastball or curveball.

The Rockies sent him to Triple-A Colorado Springs several months ago to work on another pitch to get hitters out, and it has paid off for him.

Nicasio was confident he figured out how to throw curveballs, sliders and breaking balls before he made his start against the Dodgers, and he backed it up by getting the Dodgers out by using all of those pitches. From there, the Rockies realized he finally knew how to pitch.

It took a long time for Nicasio to figure it out, but give him credit for finding a way.

This speaks well of his work ethic, and this speaks well about pushing himself to be a better pitcher. There’s no question he has the talent. It’s about how bad he wanted it, and he answered that question by his work in the minors.

Nicasio’s performance should help him solidify a spot in the starting rotation next year. He is good enough to be a fourth starter. He is an innings eater, and he will battle often times than not. The Rockies can do much worse than him.

With his stuff, he is good enough to win 10 games. That’s good for a fourth starter, and it’s something any team would be happy to accept.

The Rockies are happy he figured it out. This lessens the pressure on them to make a trade for a starter this offseason.

The Rockies are in good shape when it comes to their starting rotation in 2014. They have a good starting rotation in Jorge De La Rosa, Jhoulys Chacin, Tyler Chatwood and Nicasio.

It was imperative they developed a rotation this season, so they can build around their rotation for the next few years. It’s hard to make trades when it comes to getting a starter. Even if they do get a starter, there’s no guarantee he would pan out at Coors Field. It takes a special pitcher to pitch at Coors with the altitude.

Free agency is not the answer. If a pitcher is available as a free agent, it means he is not good enough for his previous team to keep.

Winning with castoffs does not work out in the long-term. He could have one good year, and that’s it.

That’s why Nicasio doing well is important for the Rockies moving forward. It changes the Rockies’ plans of what they want to do to improve in the offseason. They can focus on getting hitters rather than finding a starter, which they tried to do with futile results.

Watching Nicasio become a different pitcher has to be up there when it comes to positives in this 2013 Rockies’ campaign.

Anytime a player can improve, it shows how good a team is in developing players.

The Rockies have taken hits for not developing pitchers, but Nicasio’s success should make the organization feel good about themselves.

For Nicasio, he has to feel good about himself for figuring out how to be an effective starter.

It’s safe to say the Rockies found a keeper in Nicasio.

Contact me or follow me on Twitter: @TalkinRockies

Crunch time for Rockies start now

(David Zalubowski/AP Photo)

(David Zalubowski/AP Photo)

BY LESLIE MONTEIRO

It’s not early anymore.

It’s starting to get late.

There comes a time when the Rockies have to make a run in the NL West standings if they want to be taken seriously as a contender in the division.

Now is the time for the Rockies to take advantage of a homestand featuring three awful teams in the Cubs, Marlins and Brewers.

It’s now or never. It’s hard to believe the Rockies can recover if they have a bad homestand, especially with them playing 20 of their next 26 games on the road. If they can’t beat these teams, it’s hard to feel confident about the Rockies beating teams in the division.

It was bad enough the Rockies played awful Friday night when they mustered only five hits in their 3-1 loss to the Cubs.

It’s easy to wonder if they have it in them to do well in this homestand if they lost last night.

After the Rockies struggled to get anything going against Carlos Villanueva in the first few innings, they finally got to him in the middle of the game, and they went on to a 9-3 victory over the Cubs last night at Coors Field.

Everything went so right for the Rockies in this game that the fans received free tacos from participating Taco Bell locations in Colorado after the Rockies scored their seventh run, which is always the case after the Rockies score seven runs.

It was a night the team could enjoy.

It has been a tough stretch for the Rockies this month. They were last in runs scored. They scored only 37 runs overall in their last 14 games. They grounded into so many double plays rather than creating a big inning.

There’s no question the guys are frustrated. The losses and offensive woes wear on the guys after awhile.

Last night was a relief for the Rockies. Maybe it will get them going the rest of the homestand.

The fourth inning was what started it all for the Rockies.

The Rockies grinded out some good at-bats in that inning, and that resulted to Todd Helton hitting a single and Wilin Rosario hitting a double.

Nolan Arenado tied the game at 1 by grounding out to first, scoring Helton from third.

With Rosario at third and Juan Nicasio working out a walk, the onus was on Dexter Fowler to give the Rockies the lead with a base hit with two outs in the inning.

Settling for a tie was not good enough. Not when Villanueva was struggling in the fourth inning. The Rockies could not bail him out when they had the opportunity to break the game open.

Fowler came through with a triple that gave the Rockies a 3-1 lead.

That was the turning point of the game. The hitters relaxed, and there was no more pressure about coming through in situational hitting. The guys could play instead of thinking about failure or trying to do too much.

That’s why Fowler’s hit was important. From there, everyone followed his lead.

Carlos Gonzalez led off the fifth inning by hitting a home run that extended the Rockies’ lead to 4-1. Overall, the Rockies had five straight hits in that inning.

The Rockies scored four runs in the fifth inning to extend their lead to 7-1.

That inning went the Rockies’ way to the point Villanueva was out of the ballgame.

When a pitcher is taken out of the game, it’s a sign the hitters did their job.

The Rockies added two more runs in the eighth inning to maintain their lead over the Cubs to 9-3.

It was a night the Rockies needed. They had to get it going on offense, and they had to win the game. They can’t keep blowing winnable games and having games like Friday night where the offense was not there.

The Rockies could not be in a position to get swept by the awful Cubs this afternoon.

There was so much on the line in this game. They can’t start the homestand by losing two straight. If that was the case, this homestand could spiral out of the control by which guys would start doubting themselves.

The Rockies have been resilient overall, but now, they have to show their mettle at a crucial juncture.

If there is a bad homestand, the Rockies can call it quits for this season. It’s going to be tough for them to recover, and it would be hard to take them seriously.

This weekend is a referendum for the Rockies to show they can be in this race. It’s going to come down to their hitting.

They executed well in the nick of time.

Now, they have to do it again today and the rest of the homestand.

Their season depends on it.

Follow me or contact me @TalkinRockies on Twitter.

Winnable division is doable for Rockies

BY LESLIE MONTEIRO

It does not look good at first glance.

The Rockies finished the pre-All-Star break with a 46-50 record.

Despite being 4 1/2 games out, it would be hard to take any team with a losing record seriously as a playoff team.

That’s what logic tells us anyway.

With that said, the NL West is a mediocre division at best. Not one team stands out. That’s why the Rockies are contenders in spite of themselves.

It’s on the Rockies to take advantage of the opportunity to win in a division that is weak. They don’t get opportunities like that often. It’s hard to think this is going to be the case every year. The Giants, Dodgers and Diamondbacks are not going to be mediocre year in and year out.

Shame on the Rockies if they don’t win the division. This season would be a failure if they don’t win it.

The talent is there to win the division.

The Rockies have three good starters that produce quality starts in Jorge De La Rosa, Tyler Chatwood and Jhoulys Chacin. That’s a good foundation to win the division.

They are not in the class of Clayton Kershaw, Matt Harvey and Adam Wainwright, but they are efficient. Efficient can do this season in winning the NL West.

De La Rosa is 9-5 with a 3.21 ERA.  He could have won 12 games if he had run support this season, and if he had 12 wins, he would have been an All-Star.

De La Rosa has been consistent all season when it comes to throwing strikes and putting on a good performance. He makes pitching at Coors Field easy by getting out of jams and getting ahead of the count. He finds a way to get outs when he is in a jam.  He uses all of his pitches to get outs such as fastball, slider and curveball. He knows what he is doing out there.

Chatwood has been a revelation since he was called up in May. He pitched well in eight of his last 10 starts, and that should be enough of a sample size to say he is a legitimate starter.

He averages six innings a start, and his command has been a difference in him being a good starter. He worked on developing his slider to help him throw strikes, and it paid off for him this season in getting guys outs in the majors. He knows how to mix in a slider with a curveball to get hitters out. The 23-year-old starter has finally found the confidence and stuff that turned him into a better pitcher.

After a rough start, Chacin turned his season around by pitching well in his last seven starts. He figured it out after a June 11 start against the Nationals where he threw strikes to get the Nationals out after he gave up a 2-0 lead. Since then, he found a way to throw strikes and not create a big inning. He is working faster, and he knows how to protect leads.

If Juan Nicasio or Drew Pomeranz can get it going, the Rockies are going to be in great shape where they can trot out four good starters every fifth day.

Good starting pitching sets the tone in winning games, and the Rockies have that.

They also have a great bullpen where they can protect leads after the sixth inning. The Rockies expect their starters to go six innings, and after that, they give the ball to Matt Belisle, Rex Brothers and Rafael Betancourt.

Belisle, Brothers and Betancourt have been reliable in protecting leads. They throw strikes, and they throw zeroes when they are on the mound. It’s a good feeling for Rockies manager Walt Weiss to have.

Pitching may have been the Rockies’ bugaboo for a long time, but this is not one of those years. This is actually their strength.

The hitting has been up and down for the Rockies, but the talent is there to win games.

As long as Troy Tulowitzki is healthy, the lineup should be good.  Michael Cuddyer and Carlos Gonzalez will benefit with the Rockies shortstop being in the lineup as they will see more pitches to hit. That wasn’t the case when the Rockies All-Star was on the disabled list.

Nolan Arenado and Wilin Rosario have to play better than they have showed. They have done okay, but okay should not be good enough for those two that are capable of being great hitters.

The Rockies are in the top 10 in runs scored as they are ranked 10th in runs scored by scoring 426 runs. Still, they can do better. They have to stop making inferior starters look better than they are as they demonstrated against Chris Capuano last week.

The lineup is good enough to perform. The output can be better. The Rockies are banking Tulowitzki’s return will be the difference.

Not only do the Rockies have talent, but their competitors are not good.

The Diamondbacks leave a lot to be desired with their pitching. Their starters have not pitched well, and their bullpen leads the majors with 19 blown saves.

The Giants have struggled to score runs, and their pitching has been inconsistent.

The Dodgers have played well, but their pitching is a question mark outside of Kershaw.

The Padres are not good enough to win the division. Their pitching is a question mark, and their hitting is nothing to write home about.

When comparing the Rockies to other teams in the division, it would be a shame if they fail to make the playoffs.

Follow me or contact me @TalkinRockies on Twitter.

Nicasio must make most of his audition

(AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

(AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

BY LESLIE MONTEIRO

Last night proved Yankees radio announcer John Sterling’s point about how no one can predict baseball.

Not only did the Rockies score runs against Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw, but they received a great pitching performance from Juan Nicasio last night in their 3-0 victory over the Dodgers.

It was something no one expected. Not even the Rockies thought this would happen if one puts a truth serum on them.

Nicasio was the only one that expected to pitch a great performance.

Obviously, something clicked when he made his two starts for Triple-A Colorado Springs. He figured out how to throw strikes by hitting the corners, and that’s why he knew he was going to pitch well when he made his start against the Dodgers.

Nicasio applied what he learned from the minors in last night’s game. He was ahead of the count, and that helped him avoid being in jams and minimize his pitch count. It was good enough for him to pitch seven innings of shutout baseball while giving up three hits against the Dodgers.

From watching the game, it was like watching a different pitcher.

Nicasio pitched with a purpose, and he gave a good feeling that he was going to put on a great performance after watching him in the third inning.

To say this was his best performance of his career is an understatement.

If nothing else, Nicasio gave the Rockies something to think about.

There’s no question he is going to make his next start with Roy Oswalt being on the 15-day disabled list.

If Nicasio does well in his next three starts, he is going to be in the rotation. There is no question about it.

For all intents and purposes, this is an audition.

The Rockies should hope Nicasio keeps this up. He is an upgrade over Oswalt and Drew Pomeranz.

The Rockies thought Oswalt would make the starting rotation better, but that hasn’t been the case. He is 0-4 with a 7.64 ERA in four starts. He gave up 29 hits, and he has only gone past the fifth inning only once. He basically has nothing when he is pitching on the mound.

It is hard to be optimistic about Oswalt pitching well when he hasn’t showed he could.

It was too much to ask for Oswalt to do well. He is not the pitcher he was in his prime during his Astros days. His fastball has no bite anymore, and he has been hittable. He has been on a decline for the last two years.

The Rockies can’t trot Oswalt as they move forward.

Pomeranz has been underwhelming in his three starts since he was called up from Triple-A Colorado Springs. He is 0-3, and he has given up 12 runs and 19 hits. He continues to display command problems on the mound. He has not gone past the fourth inning at all.

He is so bad that Nicasio is an upgrade over him. That speaks volumes when one realizes Nicasio has not been good prior to last night’s start.

Fortunately for Pomeranz, the Rockies will have him start, so that they can see if he gets better as the season progresses. They have to find out if he is in their long-term plans.

For Nicasio, he feels he is better than Oswalt and Pomeranz. He should feel that way considering his fastball is much better than anything Oswalt and Pomeranz throw.

One thing about Nicasio is he will battle. He has the moxie to get out of jams when he has to.  What he has to do is find a way to go deep in games. That has been his problem as he is done once the fifth inning starts.

Last night should be encouraging for Nicasio. He can build from this performance. Pitching is all about confidence, so if he continues to apply what he did in the minors, he is going to be in good shape.

If he reinvents himself, the Rockies have another reliable starter.

The Rockies are going to have a hard time getting a starter in the trade market. They have nothing to offer from their farm system, and they are not willing to pick up a salary of an expensive pitcher.

That’s why the Rockies are hoping for Nicasio to finally figure it out. That’s why they hope last night is a start of something good.

If Tyler Chatwood, Jhoulys Chacin and Nicasio continue to throw quality starts, the Rockies have themselves a legitimate starting rotation with Jorge De La Rosa being a sure thing. That would be good enough to help them be a factor in the mediocre NL West race.

This is why what Nicasio did last night has the Rockies feeling giddy. But he has to show he can sustain this.

Throwing a quality start is nice, but it’s going to mean nothing if he can’t do it several times.

Nicasio is getting a second chance to show he should stay in the starting rotation. He knows he has to make the most of it with the idea he can stick around.

Time will tell if last night was a harbinger of what he can do.

Follow me or contact me @TalkinRockies on Twitter.

Bullpen showing signs of being overworked

(Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)

(Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)

BY LESLIE MONTEIRO

It’s a problem when the Rockies’ starters don’t go deep in games.

The bullpen is getting overworked as a result, and it is starting to show in recent games.

Wilton Lopez could not protect a lead in the seventh inning last night, and as a result, the Rockies went on to take an 8-7 loss to the Phillies at Coors Field.

There’s no question Lopez was bad. He gave up a two-run triple to Freddy Galvis that tied the game at 7, and he gave up a single to Jimmy Rollins that scored Galvis from third to give the Phillies an 8-7 lead.

With that said, Lopez is not going to be perfect all the time. No reliever is. Not many relievers can be Rex Brothers and pitch well every game.

Blaming Lopez is missing the point of what’s going on.

The Rockies can’t find starters who can give the bullpen a night off, and that’s a problem moving forward.

If the relievers continue to be overworked, they are going to blow more games like last night.

Weiss did not want to use Lopez last night, but he had to after Juan Nicasio could not throw a zero on the scoreboard with a 7-2 lead in the sixth inning.

Rockies manager Walt Weiss hoped Nicasio would throw six innings last night. Despite his starter’s struggles in the sixth inning, he was hoping his starter would somehow get through the inning by getting out of jams. He got the first two outs, but he struggled to get the last out of that inning, so he was relieved before he blew a 7-2 lead altogether.

For Nicasio to not pitch through a 7-2 lead in the sixth inning, it shows he can’t be trusted to pitch in the sixth inning ever no matter how good he is pitching. Hitters figure him out, and he does not have other secondary pitchers to get hitters out for the second or third time.

Nicasio gave up three runs in that sixth inning, and that set the tone for the Phillies to make a comeback in the seventh inning.

If Nicasio pitched at least seven innings, Weiss could have brought Matt Belisle and Brothers to protect the lead.

It’s something he hoped to see from Nicasio and other starters often, but that’s never going to happen.

Outside of De La Rosa, no starter can go seven innings. This is a recipe for failure. It takes a toll on the relievers as their arm deals with the wear and tear.

It’s no coincidence Lopez, Josh Outman, Matt Belisle and Edgmer Escalona have struggled to get guys out late as a result of making too many appearances.

This is why everyone wonders if the Rockies can sustain their good play for the entire season. It’s hard to believe the relievers can be effective by August and September with the way things are going for them right now.

The Rockies have to hope Tyler Chatwood can go seven innings today and beyond. If he can do that, that will help the Rockies bullpen.

It can’t just be him, though. It has to be couple of other starters, and that’s why there has to be changes in the starting rotation. The Rockies need to find couple of other starters that can win and go deep in games.

They hope it’s Roy Oswalt and Drew Pomeranz when the Rockies call them up.

Oswalt is a question mark, though. He has been ineffective in the last two years, and it’s hard to believe he can go deep in games anymore. The Rockies are desperate to hope he can get the job done.

Pomeranz has the stuff to be a dominating starter, but he needs to have the proper mindset to believe he can succeed. They have to hope he has it in him to be an innings eater when he is out there.

If Chatwood, Oswalt and Pomeranz can be effective by giving quality starts and throwing seven innings, the bullpen should be okay to pitch for the final two months of the season.

That’s what the Rockies are hoping for.

If that does not work, this team will not be making any playoff run.

The Rockies need to get better in the rotation or else we are going to see more bad performances from the relievers as a result of them being used often.

The organization knows they have to do something about it.

They have to hope changes in the rotation can save the bullpen from being exposed of overwork.

Follow me or contact me @TalkinRockies on Twitter.

Failing to beat Giants is troubling for Rockies

(AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)

(AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)

BY LESLIE MONTEIRO

Let’s call it what it is.

This was a disappointment after the Giants swept the Rockies yesterday afternoon at AT&T Park.

No one expected the Rockies to take the series against the defending World Series champions, but it wasn’t too much to ask for them to win a game.

It was troubling when the Rockies trailed 7-0 in the second inning, and they never did anything to cut the deficit as they went on to take a 10-0 loss to the Giants.

The Rockies quit yesterday. Some of the players did not hustle when they were running to first. Some of the players did not run hard enough to read where the ball was going for them to catch it.

That was surprising since it’s too early in the season to go through the motions.

It’s clear the Giants took a lot out of the Rockies by rallying from a four-run deficit to tie the game at 6 and winning in the end on Tuesday night.

Yesterday should also be an admission that the Giants are in the Rockies’ heads.

For the Rockies to give in and play awful after coming up short in the first two games, it gives credence to that theory.

Not only have the Giants won nine in a row against the Rockies overall, but they have won nine straight at AT&T Park.

It remains to be seen if that streak ends anytime soon. When a team is dominating another team, it becomes contagious. The Giants seem to have everything going when they play the Rockies. They get the strikeouts, key hits and great defensive plays all the time.

The Rockies gave the Giants all they could handle in the first two games, and quite frankly, they should have won Tuesday night.

Could of, would of and should of doesn’t cut it for the Rockies. Neither does moral victories.

In professional sports, winning is all that matters. That’s the way it should be.

The Rockies should be disappointed they did not get it done in winning a game in their three-game set against the Giants.

Tuesday was a game they let it get away, and it’s unacceptable to blow a 6-2 lead. Great teams don’t do that.

The relievers failed to throw strikes in getting the Giants out in Tuesday night’s game.

The Rockies also failed to get anything going at the plate when the game was tied at 6.

It shouldn’t be surprising the Rockies could not come up with a big hit or a key strikeout. They always tend to wilt when they play the Giants.

This series has to be discouraging for the Rockies in so many ways.

For one thing, the Rockies are not good enough to win a game against the Giants.  It wouldn’t be surprising if they get swept by the defending World Series champions at Coors Field next month. They don’t have the pitching to get their nemesis out.

Second of all, there are questions about the starting rotation sustaining a good performance from last week. Juan Nicasio couldn’t finish the sixth inning, and he was shaky when the Giants faced him for the second time in the game. Jeff Francis had nothing in yesterday’s game. Jorge De La Rosa was okay at best.

Finally, there are doubts about the Rockies being good enough to beat elite teams.

A cynic can say the Rockies got off to a 5-1 start by beating an okay team in the Brewers and an awful team in the Padres.

It’s tough to be optimistic after what happened against the Giants.

It will be interesting how the Rockies respond to being swept. They can let it bother them or they can move on and take their frustrations on the Padres.

If the Rockies want to show this year is going to be different, they should respond to this setback by taking the series or sweeping the Padres and go from there.

They shouldn’t get worked up about not winning a game against the Giants. What’s done is done. They will have many opportunities later in the year.

It’s hard to believe the Rockies are going 0-for-16 against the Giants this year. It’s hard for a team to lose all their games against a certain team in baseball.

With that said, forget about the Rockies winning a series against the Giants for awhile. They are not good enough.

That’s what we learned from this series.

For the Rockies, that is a sobering and depressing feeling.

Follow me or contact me @TalkinRockies on Twitter.