Rockies 6, Cubs 4 (boxscore)
Morales locked up the backup catcher job before this afternoon, but his performance today put a stamp on it.
Jordan Pacheco gave it one helluva run, but I have no problem at all with Morales getting the gig. Pacheco needs to play. Morales gives you what you need in a backup. He can hit well from both sides of the plate, and he plays sound defense. It clears the way for Iannetta to get steady playing time, which hopefully leads to consistent production.
Mortensen was awesome today, throwing five shutout innings, allowing only three hits and striking out one.
John Maine will likely get the call if the Rockies need a starter early in the season, but Mortensen at least wants them to think about it. Also, with Maine having an opt out clause should he not make the big leagues by June 1st, Mortensen becomes an even more valuable piece. Whatever happens there, chances are good we'll see him at some point in 2011.
Daley's ERA stayed at a perfect 0.00 today. Unfortunately (for Matt at least), that won't be good enough to crack the opening day roster. An established veteran and a fan favorite can't crack the roster with a 0.00 ERA. Think about that.
Bad again today. I didn't have high hopes for Buckner, but I did expect him to be respectable and a little better that AAA roster fodder. He may not even be that at this point.
Matt Reynolds pitched just well enough over the last two weeks to lock up the final spot in the Rockies bullpen. He will join Huston Street, Rafael Betancourt, Matt Belisle, Matt Lindstrom, Felipe Paulino, Franklin Morales, Matt Reynolds.
The starting rotation is obviously Ubaldo Jimenez, Jorge De La Rosa, Jhoulys Chacin, Jason Hammel and Esmil Rogers. Rogers will not be skipped the first time through the rotation, which I like for two reasons.
1) It shows he has earned Jim Tracy's confidence.
2) It save Ubaldo's arm early in the season. That means the Rockies learned a little bit from last year and are working towards keeping him strong in the second half.
Oddly, these are the twelve pitchers I think the Rockies and most fans envisioned making the team out of camp, with Rogers and Paulino possibly switching roles, and maybe Matt Daley working into the mix. That rarely ever happens.