Saturday, September 4, 2010

Rock Solid Recap: Real Padres Finally Showing Up

Why did it have to take them nearly five months to do so?

Better late than never I suppose.

Thanks to Fox I was stuck with the Twins/Rangers game today. That was actually OK with me. It allowed me to watch some of that college football I've been longing for for the past six months, while following the Rockies on At Bat.

Since I didn't see anything, I may end overlooking something that should be mentioned here.

Jason Hammel -- A model of consistency for 3+ months. What more can you ask from a guy who was supposed to be your #5.

Carlos Gonzalez -- The MVP talk has to pick up with his big week (most of it on the road). Three more hits today, all meaningful. The batting title is his to lose at this point.

Dexter Fowler -- Much like the AB in the 9th inning on Monday was a game-changer, his 8th inning AB today really sealed the deal for Colorado.  It not only provided the Rockies with a critical insurance run at a time when things were tightening up, but it extended the inning for CarGo to deliver the knockout.

Todd Helton -- His 2-out, 2-run single in the 3rd was the other difference maker. It's nice to have Todd producing.

Troy Tulowitzki & Matt Reynolds -- Just keep plugging along, being reliable and productive.

Manny Delcarman -- Needed that 1-2-3 inning badly. Let's not give up on this kid. There's no doubt he has to get better, but there's no reason to believe he won't.

Jim Tracy -- I applaud his aggressive managing in the 5th inning. With the way this offense can go sometimes, especially on the road, you must maximize every scoring chance you get. That becomes easier to manage with expanded rosters, so pinch-hitting Spilborghs for Smith was a very good (smart) move.

It took an error by Everth Cabrera for the move to completely pay off, but Spilly just getting the ball in play allowed that to happen. There's no guarantee Seth Smith would have made contact against a tough lefty like Joe Thatcher. Good call by Tracy.

So far he has managed an excellent series.

And the Rockies finally win a road series... which means.

Optimism Level -- Raised from Non-Existent to Guarded.

Beating the Dodgers was a big hurdle cleared. Winning a road series was another thing I needed to see this team do before getting too excited. That it finally happened is great. That it happened against the Padres is even better. Finish this sweep and you're right back on the fringe of contention, which is better than being nowhere.


Jorge De La Rosa vs Clayton Richard

No reason this series can't end in a sweep. But how many teams have we said that against San Diego already this season? Hasn't happened yet.  I know Clayton Richard was a big reason it didn't happen one time. Get on him early and take control.  Make it happen this time.

Rock Solid Recap: Bizarre Night

For several reasons.

1. Aaron Cook pitched well.

Not just well, very well. Not sure how many people expected this.

For a guy who missed a good month of ML action, you have to be pleased with what you saw. Cook looked healthy... and I don't just mean physically, he looked pretty good mentally as well. I an cautiously optimistic about what Cook can give the team the final month of the season.

2. Melvin Mora tripled.

I was secretly pulling for back-to-back triples with Mora and Giambi, but I gladly accepted the HR as a consolation (highlight). Can't be too picky at this point.

3. Jason Giambi made a web gem.

Giambi played his best all-around game of the season. He's had better nights in the batters box, but the Rockies simply don't win this game without this web gem (highlight).

4. The Rockies offense did it's typical disappearing act on the road from the 3rd inning on... and still won.

I would be curious to learn how many teams (home or away) have won a game in which 19 of their batters were retired in a row during a stretch. Maybe an extra inning game would be more likely, but I doubt it happens often in a nine inning game.

5. Jim Tracy managed a nice game.

Q: Is Sam Deduno going to develop into a good pitcher?

A:  Probably.

Q: Is he ready to be that guy now?

A: Not close. 

Q: Was it unfair to use him in a late and close situation tonight?

A: Possibly. 

Q: Did Jim Tracy have much of a choice?

A: Nope.

I thought Tracy managed Aaron Cook well tonight. I would have liked to have seen Iannetta in the lineup again, but you can't get everything you want.  The bullpen is all out of order right now (a lot of that goes on Tracy for his mishandling throughout the season), but under the circumstances of this specific one game season that was played tonight, Jim Tracy did a solid job.

6. Franklin Morales pitched well....

Just kidding.  It wasn't that crazy.

Special hat tips to Jonathan Herrera, Carlos Gonzalez, Troy Tulowitzki, Rafael Betancourt and Huston Street for being a big part of the win tonight.


Jason Hammel vs. Jon Garland

Another chance to win a road series. Get that job done and I guarantee you my optimism will increase by one level. To guarded probably, but that's better than nothing.

Don't forget this is a Fox afternoon game.