Saturday, July 31, 2010

Rock Solid Recap: Walkoff Cycles FTW!

Well we're starting to see things we've never seen. That must mean the Rockies are back at Coors Field and playing good baseball.

ML record 11 straight hits. Franchise record 12 runs in an inning. Walk-Off cycles.

Yup. Things we've never seen before.


Carlos Gonzalez

What else would you like me to say? Just watch the walkoff to complete the cycle for yourself.  (Highlight)

Jason Hammel

So deserved a win tonight. Seems this team just can't find a way to get him one lately. Whether it be offense, defense, bullpen, sometimes all three, the Rockies don't support Hammel the way they support the other four starters.

Hammel was pretty much in control from the game's first pitch. He rolled rather easily through the first four innings, needing only 33 pitches. Had somewhat of a defensive lapse from Melvin Mora on a ball down the line in the 5th. One run scored directly on the play and a second run was set up at 3rd base with no outs.

After three more solid innings, Hammel, at 86 pitches, was lifted after two batters reached in the 8th.

Rafael Betancourt

Blew away Starlin Castro with some gas. Couldn't slip the cheese past Derrek Lee through. Three-run bomb to straight away center tied it up.

Huston Street

For the second straight appearance after the ambulance ride, Huston Street needed only 5 pitches to cruise through a 1-2-3 9th inning. Efficiency. He get the W.

Melvin Mora

6-for-6 from the 8th inning last night through the 7th inning tonight. I wonder if Tracy finds a way to keep his bat in the lineup tomorrow.

Tom Gorzelanny

For the second straight season, Gorzelanny's start at Coors Field results in a Rockie hitting for the cycle.

Last year it was Troy Tulowitzki on a Monday night in mid-August. Gorzelanny only lasted 1 1/3 that night because Dexter Fowler blistered his chin with a line drive. He lasted much longer tonight, and actually pitched himself a pretty decent game overall.


Rockies go for the sweep with Jorge De La Rosa. Cubs attempt to win the season series with Carlos Silva.

Advantage Rockies.

Lineup Card: Rockies vs Cubs

The last time the Rockies won a game by 10+ runs (last Tuesday in Florida), they went on to lose 8 games in a row.  So I hope you'll pardon me if I don't get too overly excited about last night's historic breakout inning against a really questionable middle relief core.

For last night's game to mean as much as Rockies fans so desperately want it to, it has to be followed up with another win.  This team can't afford to turn right back around and lose 3-2 or 8-4 or 10-1.  They have to follow up and keep the good feelings going.

Here's the lineup they'll attempt to do that with...

Rockies Lineup (53-50)
  1. CF  Fowler
  2. 2B  Barmes
  3. LF  Gonzalez
  4. SS  Tulowitzki
  5. 3B  Mora
  6. RF  Spilborghs
  7. 1B  Hawpe
  8. C    Olivo
  9. P    Hammel
Iannetta sits against another lefty. Why?  That he's even sitting at all right now kind of drives me crazy.  That he's sitting against yet another lefty makes me wonder what Jim Tracy sees from his dugout perch that the rest of us don't.  

PS: Iannetta should be rested by now, right?  Or is little Ashlyn not letting him get his rest?  

PSS: Johnny Herrera... where has thee gone?   

Cubs Lineup (46-57)
  1. RF  Colvin
  2. SS  Castro
  3. 1B  Lee
  4. 3B  Ramirez
  5. CF  Byrd
  6. LF  Soriano
  7. C    Soto
  8. 2B  Fontenot
  9. P    Gorzelanny 
Get to Gorzelanny early.  Get into this Cubs bullpen early.  Chances are good things will happen.  

Let settle Gorzelanny settle in.  Let fill-in manager Alan Trammel setup his 'pen the way he wants it, maybe using Marmol or 4-5 outs if he can, then you're in real danger of letting the game slip away.

Also... I like that Trammel filled out his lineup card early.  Lou usually leaves us waiting until 90 or so minutes before first pitch.  

No News Is No News

Quick thoughts on the Rockies deadline inactivity.

I wouldn't have minded seeing the Rockies part with some higher salaried guys (Hawpe, Cook, even Barmes) that aren't producing up to par, thus opening up playing time for younger or cheaper guys (Chacin, Smith, Herrera/Young).

That said, when those are the guys you're trying to move, chances are the trade partners will be more difficult to find.

On the other side of the ledger, I'm quite pleased the Rockies didn't give up any pieces they covet for a longshot run at the playoffs.

Let's face it... it's a longshot. The Rockies always seem to have that run in them. I'm not doubting they can't make that run again this season. My only word of caution to Rockies fans in that regard is that the National League is a far better and deeper league as a whole then it was in those seasons.

In other words... a lights out run in 2010 doesn't guarantee a spot in the playoffs. It would have to be coupled by at least 3-4 ahead of them completely collapsing. I don't see that happening.

One quick note on a trade that didn't happen.

Per Tracy Ringolsy... The Rockies/Marlins deal that would have sent 1B/3B Jorge Cantu to Colorado would have involved Franklin Morales.

That would have been an awful trade in my estimation. Two months of Jorge Cantu for a kid I still believe will possess great value at some point would have bitten Dan O'Dowd in the ass.

That is why I trust Dan O'Dowd. He doesn't make the trade that will bite him in the ass -- not because he's afraid to take a chance, but because he has a firm grasp on what makes the most sense for his team.  That's all he's tuned into.  He's not worried about public opinion or making a splash.  He's worried about making the Rockies a better baseball team.

Also remember there is a slight possibility for trades in August. Players have to clear waivers in order to be moved between now and August 31st (the deadline for players to be eligible to make the playoff roster) though. I would assume guys like Aaron Cook and Brad Hawpe could clear waivers with their salaries, so I would say we can't assume just yet that the Rockies are standing pat in 2010.

Time will tell.

A decent explanation of the August 31st trade deadline can be found here.

Rock Solid Recap: The Pitching Was Pretty Okay

All those situations the Rockies needed just ONE little hit. Five one run losses on the past road trip. Two frustrating losses at home to Pittsburgh. So many tough losses to bleh teams early in the season.


ONE little hit in so many of those games could have given the Rockies a W.

Tonight, in a good they were likely going to win anyway, a ML record 11 hits in a row.


Oh well. That was still a lot of damn fun and pretty freakin' historical (and hysterical).

Guess what? I'm not going to talk about the offense anymore. That's all you're going to be reading about everywhere you go. No sense for me to beat it into the ground here.

Jeff Francis

Holy crap. Francis is getting some things figured out and is really gaining some confidence. These last two or three starts he has really started pounding the strike zone early in the AB, establishing some things, getting ahead in the count, and then he's dropping the hammer and finishing hitters with efficiency.

Hopefully the arm strength continues to build and we'll continue seeing impressive steps towards consistency. That's all we really ask from Jeff is consistency. Don't need dominance or ace like performances, just be a guy you can rely on to not blow up the bullpen every 5th day.

Matt Belisle

Filthy. Steady. Underappreciated.

Rafael Betancourt

Good Lord he was dealing. If Raffy had been healthy through spring training and not dealt with the flu during a portion of the mid-season, the Rockies would probably have 3-4 more wins. He's that important when he's on.

Taylor Buchholz

Kicking off a little rust each time out. Such a good, valuable arm to have waiting in the wings.

If the Rockies offense hadn't absolutely exploded tonight, they were in really good hands with this total team pitching effort. Very good and encouraging stuff all the way around.

Now... the important thing to remember is it is only one game. A damn good game. A damn important one to win. But still only one. Can't afford to come out tomorrow with a clunker and lose 3-2. That would totally wash this one away.

That pitching matcup tomorrow is Jason Hammel vs Tom Gorzelanny.

I like the Rockies chances again. Especially if they can knock Gorz out in the 5th or 6th frame.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Lineup Card: Rockies vs Cubs

No trade news to report so far today.  Just a lot of rumors circulating in perfect 360 degree circles that don't really lead to anything other than extreme confusion.

It's important to remember some trades could come after the July 31st non-waiver deadline and before the August 31st playoff roster eligible deadline.  I assume guys like Aaron Cook and Brad Hawpe would clear waivers allowing them to be moved during that time period.

Rockies Lineup (52-50)
  1. CF  Fowler
  2. RF  Smith
  3. LF  Gonzalez
  4. SS  Tulowitzki
  5. 1B  Hawpe
  6. C    Iannetta
  7. 3B  Stewart
  8. 2B  Barmes
  9. P    Francis
Cubs Lineup (46-56)
  1. RF  Colvin
  2. SS  Castro
  3. 1B  Lee
  4. 3B  Ramirez
  5. CF  Byrd
  6. LF  Soriano
  7. C    Soto
  8. 2B  Theriot
  9. P    Dempster

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Return of the Rock Solid Recap

But first, I have to nitpick...

The handshake line was a little sloppy and out of sync. Need to work on that after all three games in the Cubs series.

Pretty basic formula: Great starting pitcher + Timely hitting.

Ubaldo Jimenez

We can back away from the ledge here. While Ubaldo wasn't exactly dominant or as efficient as you'd hope today, I think we would have had to be satisfied with any marginal improvement over the last start in Philadelphia.

This was more than marginal.

He stayed in control of himself. He didn't rattle. His mechanics were solid. Stamina was good. This was a very good first step back to the Ubaldo form we saw the first 2 1/2 months of the season.

He'll get yet another crack at the Giants in his next outing. In two previous outings this season, he's had a complete game shutout and a complete meltdown. I'm betting this one rests somewhere in between, but hopefully closer to the shutout.

Timely Hitting

All it takes is a couple well-timed basehits to give a scuffling offense a little of confidence.

It's not like the scoring chances haven't been coming, they just haven't been accompanied by those timely, confidence building hits. When you don't get those timely hits, you need a lot of home runs (or lucky breaks) to score your runs. Those haven't been coming either.

So those timely hits are essential in being successful. That's why they're called timely hits.

Dexter Fowler had the biggest one.

His bases loaded, 2-out, 2-run double in the second inning got that proverbial monkey off the offense's back. You could just feel the sigh of relief and the building of confidence all at once. Fowler had 3 hits, 2 runs and 2 RBI in the game. His best in a long, long time.

Clint Barmes rode the wave started by Fowler, following immediately with a 2-run single. I know I joked about Clint Barmes hitting second today in the pregame. Credit where it's due, the move worked. Barmes had his best offensive day (2 hits, 3 RBI) in quite some time.

Later in the game, Miguel Olivo also had a 2-out, run scoring single that extended the lead to 6-1. Like Fowler and Barmes, Olivo is another guy that has been struggling of late, so I'm hopeful this is something he can build on as well.

Oh, and I couldn't conclude without mentioning CarGo's home run to left center.  Absolutely gorgeous swing.  When he's focused on driving the ball to the opposite field, he's deadly.  The Rockies will need a deadly Carlos Gonzalez to have any prayer of making any type of run.


Cubs are in town. It's the battle of the Canadians! Ryan Dempster vs Jeff Francis.

Lineup Card: Rockies vs Pirates

The sun keeps rising.  That's the good news!

Rockies Lineup (51-50)
  1. CF  Fowler
  2. 2B  Barmes
  3. LF  Gonzalez
  4. SS  Tulowitzki
  5. 1B  Mora
  6. RF  Spilborghs
  7. C    Olivo
  8. 3B  Stewart
  9. P    Jimenez
Barmes moves up to second?  Yeah... that'll turn things around offensively.  Tracy keeps the Olivo/Jimenez combo together.  Great.  Iannetta crushes lefties... but that's no factor in Tracy's mind today apparently.  

Pirates Lineup (36-64)
  1. CF  McCutchen
  2. RF  Young
  3. 2B  Walker
  4. 1B  Jones 
  5. 3B  Alvarez
  6. LF  Church
  7. SS  Crosby
  8. C    Jaramillo
  9. P    Maholm
I don't know... McCutchen and Jones looked kinda tired last night.  I might have given them a day to catch their breath.  

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Rock Solid Recrap: For The 8th Day In A Row

Eight losses in a row. Two in a row at home to Pittsburgh... a team that hadn't won two straight road games since May 14th & 15th in Chicago.

Chicago... yeah... the Rockies lost both of their games in Chicago. I remember that. I remember thinking THAT road trip through Chicago, Houston and Kansas City was going to be rock bottom of the season.


Honestly, I kinda wish the Rockies could go back to being as average and underwhelming as they were then, because the team we're seeing now is actually several notches below the they were at that point.

Seriously. Not even joking. This team is awful at baseball.

The Aaron Cook/Miguel Olivo combo didn't work out again tonight.

Alright, I give, it doesn't matter who is putting the fingers down for Cookie at this point -- he's missing the target, elevating the sinker, hanging the curve, walking the pitcher, doing just about anything wrong a pitcher can do wrong.

That begs the question... what has better sink right now: Cook's sinker or Cook's trade value?

The pitching wasn't the only problem tonight.

No, no, no, no, no, no... offense.

Well, early offense -- three hits in the first inning, one that struck Pittsburgh's SP Ross Ohlendorf in the head, ending his evening early. Thankfully he's okay, but the moment he exited, so did the Rockies offense.

Sean "f'ing" Gallagher throws three hitless innings.  He walks three, but strikes out four.  Rockies can't score.

Wil Ledezma, out of baseball since 1995 it seems, throws a perfect inning and a third.  Javier Lopez allows a solo HR to Carlos Gonzalez, but DJ Carrasco, Joel Hanrahan, and Octavio Dotel all throw a scoreless inning to finish the Rockies out.

Nary a whimper (or base runner) over the last nine outs.

Let me run this by you...

The two-time defending National League Champions fired their hitting coach last week. Why? Because their offense had completely stagnated for almost two months.

They didn't make any damn excuse for Chase Utley being hurt, or Jimmy Rollins being hurt, or Carlos Ruiz being hurt. They demanded results from their offense. When they didn't get those results, they made the move.

What happened after they fired Milt Thompson? They won eight in a row. That winning streak is still on-going.

Meanwhile, the Rockies offense has been stagnant since Day 1 of the season. Do they have the guts to make a move? Of course not.

Blame injuries? Sure, why not? The national media can't mention the Rockies without mentioning the injuries, so that excuse seems like a pretty convienient one to lean on. Don Baylor, underachieving and apathetic offense... off the hook.  Free passes for all of you.


I could probably rant all night about what we're witnessing with this team. I figure I might as well save a little bit of it for later. This thing isn't turning around tomorrow, or Friday. The frustration is only going to keep building. Might as well let it out slowly.

Lineup Card: Rockies vs Pirates

A different look for the Lineup Card.  No simulation.  Numbers.  We're trying everything we can to get this team out of their slump.  

Rockies Lineup (51-49)
  1. LF  Smith
  2. 2B  Herrera
  3. CF  Gonzalez
  4. SS  Tulowitzki
  5. 1B  Hawpe
  6. RF  Spilborghs
  7. 3B  Stewart
  8. C    Iannetta
  9. P    Cook
I'm happy to see them put Cook & Iannetta back together.  Things just don't go very well when it's Cook and Olivo.

Pirates Lineup (35-64)
  1. CF  McCutchen 
  2. LF  Tabata
  3. 2B  Walker
  4. 1B  Jones
  5. 3B  Alvarez
  6. RF  Milledge
  7. SS  Cedeno
  8. C    Kratz
  9. P    Ohlendorf

Just Say No To Theriot!

It's the name that won't go away.  

Ryan Theriot.

Rockies interested in Theriot.

Theriot a fit in Colorado.

Dan O'Dowd has a man crush on Cubs Theriot.

Make.  It.  Stop!

Let me put this into a perspective that will capture your attention right away.  Chicago Cubs fans dislike Ryan Theriot more than Colorado Rockies fans dislike Franklin Morales.  That is not exaggeration, that is absolute fact.  Not only is it fact, but they are completely justified in doing so.

Theriot is not a smart baseball player.  You think some of the nonsensical base running we've seen from the Rockies lately is awful?  Ryan Theriot, when he does reach base, runs into outs more than anyone I've seen.  No instincts and no fundamental understanding of situations.

That doesn't just include base running.  He's a notorious first pitch swinger.  Batter before him walks on four pitches?  Theriot swings at the first pitch and pops up.  It's actually a major story among Cubs fans when Theriot doesn't swing at the first pitch.  He's just so set in his ways that he refuses to adjust his style.  Every situation is the same to him.

I don't know how the Rockies view him defensively.  I assume they're thinking he's a multi-position type player.  That's total BS.  Theriot is an awful SS.  He's a less that good 3B.  He's a decent 2B, but that's all he is.

He's an awful fit for this Rockies baseball team.  AWFUL.  It makes no sense on any level.  Whoever it is that actually sees value in him is seeing something so completely obscure or meaningless that it's not registering with me.

With Troy Tulowitzki, Clint Barmes, Johnny Herrera, Chris Nelson, EY, all in the mix for this Rockies team... no, don't want to hear Theriot's name in conjunction with the Rockies or Coors Field again after this weekend series with the Cubs.  Let him go to San Diego or somewhere where we can actually benefit from him.

NL West Recap: 7-27-10

While the Rockies continued their free fall on Tuesday, the rest of the NL West was in action all across the country.

Big win for LA to start a crticial road series.  They stole this game for two reasons.

1) In a rare pinch-hitting appearance, Andre Ethier delivered the only two runs of the game with a single in the 7th inning.  The guy is about as clutch as it gets.

2) Pitching, pitching, and more pitching.  Chad Billingsly six shutout innings.  Hong-Chi-Kuo strikes out FIVE in two scoreless innings.  Big Brozton closes the door in the 9th. That's a nice formula for the Dodgers.

Your top offensive guy gets a night off and he still manages to deliever the biggest hit of the game.  Your pitching makes that hit stand up.  That's winning baseball.  And that's also a manager that truly pushes the right buttons.

San Diego got another nice start from Jon Garland: 6 2/3, 5 H, 2 ER, 2 BB, 5 K.  They also received two hits from Yorvit Torrealba, who raised his average to .310.

Tonight's pitching matchup features Hiroki Kuroda vs Clayton Richard.  I'm taking LA to steal another and to really start position themselves for their run.

The Josh Johnson/Matt Cain pitching matchup proved to be as even as it looked on paper.  Each man lasted seven innings, walked three, and allowed three runs.  Neither man factored in the decision.

San Francisco won the battle of the bullpens behind Sergio Romo (win) and Brian Wilson (save).  Juan Uribe launched the go-ahead HR in the 8th.  I swear all of his homers mean something.  Edgar Renteria tacked on two more with his own HR.  That was important because Dan Uggla hit his 2nd (solo) HR of the game in the 9th.

Cody Ross added a two-run blast for Florida.

Potential Rockies trade target, Jorge Cantu sat this game out.  The beat writers indicated the team is quite displeased with Cantu's defensive effort lately, and are concerned he's distracted by the trade rumors.

Poor defense and lack of focus actually seems like a good fit for the Rockies these days.  I can see why they would be interested.

Game 3 of this 4 game set takes place tonight.  Alex Sanabia goes for the firsh, the predictably unpredictable Jonathan Sanchez will be San Fran's counter.  I like Florida and their right-handed power to take this one and get back over .500.

Thank God for Arizona.  Always there to make us feel better about the Rockies predicament.

Philadelphia will imrprove their winning streak to seven tonight with Roy Halladay on the mound.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Rock Solid Recrap: Free Fallin'

For those who didn't believe this to be true, believe it now. The Colorado Rockies cannot be fixed by the return of an all-star, a trade, or even home cooked meals. The problems here are much deeper than that.

All you really needed to see to confirm that was the awful baseruning play by Ryan Spilborghs in the 8th inning, making the first out at third base in a 4-2 game. There are no excuses for mistakes like that. None.

And now we welcome in Tom Petty to bring you the rest of tonight's recap.  Take it away, Tom.

Lineup Card: Rockies vs Pirates

Troy Tulowitzki returns to the lineup from his broken wrist, yet the injury list doesn't get any smaller.  That's because Huston Street was struck somewhere (right leg, right hip, groin, torso have all been rumored) by an Ian Stewart line drive during BP and left the stadium in an ambulance.  Apparently we can confirm Huston lost consciousness twice because of the pain.

Not good.

Obviously everyone's thoughts are with Huston as we await what we hope will be news of the best case scenario.  Doesn't sound like it'll be good news, but we'll just hope it's nothing extensive.

On to the lineups.

Rockies Lineup (51-48)
  • CF  Fowler
  • RF  Spilborghs
  • LF  Gonzalez
  • SS  Tulowitzki
  • 3B  Mora
  • C   Olivo
  • 1B  Hawpe
  • SS  Barmes
  • P    De La Rosa
Pirates Lineup (34-64)
  • CF  McCutchen
  • LF  Tabata
  • 2B  Walker
  • 1B  Jones
  • 3B  Alvarez
  • RF  Milledge
  • SS  Cedeno
  • C    Krutz
  • P    Duke

NL West Recap: 7-26-10

I think we're getting to the point where we need to take a closer look at the direct competition in the NL West. You know, before they get too far out of reach.

San Diego Padres: Idle

After taking care of business in Pittsburgh, the Padres receive their second day off since the all-star break. The Rockies? Still no days off until next Tuesday. Thanks for that, Bud.

San Diego will host the Dodgers for three starting tonight. I guess we pull for the Dodgers? Or do we pull for the Padres because the Dodgers are a more direct threat in the wildcard race?

See that's the problem when you go 2-9 on a road trip and allow 3-4 teams to pass you in the standings. You have to start pulling for everyone to lose and unfortunately they all start playing each other and the scenarios start becoming impossible.

Los Angeles Dodgers: Idle

The pitching matchup tonight in San Diego is Chad Billingsly vs Jon Garland.  I think LA will take that one.

Marlins 4, Giants 3

Ricky Nolasco outloasted Barry Zito in a matchup of pitchers that absolutely dominate the Rockies. Yes, it's true there have been a ridiculous amount of pitchers that have dominated the Rockies this season, but these two have doing it for years. And doing it big.

Mike Stanton is really starting to standout for Florida. He impressed me a lot in the Rockies series down there. Last night he crushed a solo HR in the 5th inning, and then he provided some insurance with an RBI double in the 8th. Dan Uggla also hit a solo HR off Zito.

Those two teams will rematch tonight with an even better pitching matchup: Josh Johnson vs Matt Cain. I know where I'll be tuning as soon as the Rockies game concludes.

Arizona Diamondbacks: Idle

They're headed to Philadelphia. Looks like the Phillies win streak could reach at least eight, possibly more.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Rock Solid Recrap: That Didn't End Well

Didn't really start well or get well at any point either.  

Riddle: How do you render an 8-2 home stand completely meaningless?

Answer later in the post.

I can sum up this game in four sentences.  Count along.

1) Ryan Spilborghs lost a ball in the sun.

2) Carlos Gonzalez and Seth Smith ran into each other allowing backup catcher Brian Schneider a two-run triple.

There really are no words to describe that.
3) Jason Hammel a made poor throw to first and Giambi made an even worse attempt to catch it.

4) Jason Giambi threw a possible double play ball into LF.

That all happened in one inning... wiithin about five batters.

That's really all you need to know.

Oh, and this was Joe Blanton's first start all season where he didn't allow at least three runs.  So the Rockies run of making average-to-miserable pitchers look like all-stars continued.

Jason Hammel was pretty alright.  Not great, but he didn't really have a chance to be great because his defense had him behind the 8-ball early and those extra pitches needed had him all out of whack.  I'd give him a B for his effort and a C for the overall results.

Riddle Answer: By following it with a 2-9 road trip.

I know... that was an easy one.


The Rockies begin a 10-day, 9-game hom estand against the Pittsburgh Pirates.  After three with them, the Rockies play the Cubs for four and the Giants for a quick two.

This cannot be a 5-4 home stand.  It has to be no worse than 7-2, 8-1.  The Rockies are by no means done or eliminated from playoff contention, but realistically speaking, they have to again play insanely good baseball for 2 months straight just to make that season-ending four game series in St. Louis a meaningful one.

There's literally no margin for error left for a team that can't seem to get out of bed without tripping themselves.

Fowler's Plate Appearance Log Since The HR

I have a really strong feeling Dexter Fowler goes down tomorrow to make room for Troy Tulowitzki.  

Here's why.

Dexter Fowler's plate appearances since his 3-run HR to tie a game with St. Louis in the 8th inning.

Number of pitches in the AB in ( ).
  1. IF Single (4)
  2. SO Looking (7)
  3. Double (1)
  4. Walk (8)
  5. 1-3 (4)
  6. SO Looking (5)
  7. SO Swinging (6)
  8. SO Swinging (6)
  9. SO Looking (3)
  10. SO Swinging (8)
  11. 1-3 (1)
  12. SO Swinging (5)
  13. 1-3 (4)
  14. SO Swinging (4)
  15. F-8 (6)
  16. Walk (4)
  17. SO Swinging (6)
  18. F-8 (4)
  19. 4-3 (2)
  20. F-4 (3)
  21. SO Swinging (7)
  22. F-7 (2)
  23. F-9 (2)
  24. Double (4)
  25. 4-3 (3)
  26. F-7 (5)
  27. 6-3 (2)
  28. 5-3 (2)
  29. SO Swinging (4)
  30. Walk (9)
  31. 3-3 (2)
  32. SO Swinging (6)
  33. HBP (3)
  34. 6-3 (5)
  35. F-7 (3)
  36. Walk (5)
  37. Walk (6)
  38. SO Swinging (4)
  39. F-9 (3)
  40. F-8 (5)
  41. 3-1 (6)
  42. Double (2) -- Out attempting to stretch it to a triple.  
  43. SO Swinging (5)
  44. F-8 (2)
  45. 3-3 (5)
  46. Single (3)
  47. SO Swinging (3)
  • 5-for-41
  • 15 Strikeouts
  • 5 Walks/1 HBP
Still think a HR can't screw a kid up?  

Lineup Card: Rockies @ Phillies

The Rockies are going to win today.  I can feel it!  I can feel it because I can't think of another way they could lose a game, so they must be due to win.  Let's get it done!

Rockies Lineup (51-47)

  • LF  Smith
  • 2B  Herrera
  • CF  Gonzalez
  • 1B  Giambi
  • RF  Spilborghs
  • 3B  Stewart
  • C    Olivo
  • SS  Barmes
  • P    Hammel
Phillies Lineup (52-46)
  • SS  Rollins
  • 2B  Polanco
  • LF  Ibanez
  • 1B  Howard
  • RF  Gload
  • CF  Victorino
  • 3B  Dobbs
  • C    Schneider
  • P    Blanton

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Rock Solid Recrap: Which Way To Home Plate?

The winning run scores on a wild pitch that gets no more than 10 feet from home plate while Rafael Betancourt stands there pointing.

Welcome to our baseball hell.


Just when you think this team can't possibly look any less focused or fundamentally prepared. Just when you think this team couldn't play with less urgency. Just when you think this team has reached rock bottom.

They find a way to sink a little bit lower.

But wait! There's more!

How about some of those late ABs with RISP?

We have Carlos Gonzalez trying to pull everything 25 rows up the RF bleachers. That's actually a positive, because if you recall in Cincinnati he was trying to pull everything over the Ohio River. So at least he's toned it down a little bit. The results still suck, but the swing is closer to normal.

On the other end of the spectrum... What was Ryan Spilborghs looking for? He's challenging you! Fight back! Swing even.

We have guys overswinging with the bases loaded. We have guys up there taking two pitches right down the middle with the bases loaded. And then we have Ian Stewart coming up with the bases loaded, two outs in the 9th, and he does a liittle bit of both.

What the hell is going on?

How does Don Baylor continue to steal money while our hitters regress or flatline?

Today's Silver Lining

Real nice job by Jeff Francis.

Maybe not the length you'd hope for out of a starting pitcher, but he limited his damage against a very good lineup and obviously kept his team in the game. As always the key was avoiding the extra traffic with walks. The only walk he did issue was intentional, which helped get him through a tough 4th inning jam.

He was aggressive. He pitched inside and without fear of contact. He made the Phillies string enough hits together to score their runs. That's not something we saw during his rough three game stretch prior to the all-star break. This is the type of pitcher Francis needs to be if he hopes to contribute the final two months of the season.

I would give his start a solid B.


Do we have to?

Lineup Card: Rockies @ Phillies

Rockies Lineup (51-46)

  • CF  Fowler
  • 2B  Herrera
  • LF  Gonzalez
  • 1B  Mora
  • RF  Spilborghs
  • 3B  Stewart
  • C    Olivo
  • SS  Barmes
  • P    Francis
Phillies Lineup (51-46)
  • SS  Rollins
  • CF Victorino
  • 2B  Polanco
  • 1B  Howard
  • RF  Werth
  • LF  Francisco
  • 3B  Ransom
  • C    Ruiz
  • P    Happ

Rockies 5, Phillies 4

WP:  Joe Beimel -- 1/3 IP
LP:   Chad Durbin -- 2/3 IP, 3 H, 2  ER
S:     Huston Street -- IP, 1 H, 1 K

Jeff Francis -- 6 IP, 6 H, 2 ER, 1 BB, 6 K
JA Happ -- 6 IP, 7 H, 1 ER, 2 BB, 

Home Runs

Col: Ian Stewart, Miguel Olivo
Phil: Ryan Howard

Player of the Game -- Miguel Olivo

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Rock Solid Recrap: The Large Pink Elephant

Can we finally acknowledge him?

Can we finally say Ubaldo Jimenez has lost his luster, or at least admit he's been regressing with each start for about six weeks? That his mechanics are getting more and more out of whack. That his confidence is seemingly sinking with each ball put in play.

Wouldn't it be silly and irresponsible to not acknowledge all that?

Ubaldo was historically untouchable for the first 2 1/2 months of this season. Maybe too untouchable. Maybe he was so good short-tern, that'll be bad for him long-term. Because it seems like once a couple teams touched him up for a few runs, he regressed back to the old maddening Ubaldo.

You remember him, don't you? The Ubaldo that doesn't work out of jams. The Ubaldo that compounds jams with furious panic and fear of contact. The Ubaldo that tries to strike every batter out on strike one. The Ubaldo with painfully little composure.

We never wanted to see that Ubaldo again.

A large part of my excitement over his early season dominance was that it appeared he turned the corner in his development. It seemed like we were finally seeing an Ubaldo that was confident enough in himself and his ability that any mark against him wouldn't send him into a downward spiral. That he had gained the mental toughness to fight through a jam to make that one quality pitch needed.

That is all seemingly undone now. In the words of radio man Jack Corrigan... you can kiss it good-bye.

Now you have to wonder if you're back to square one with him mentally. You know physically his stuff is off the charts crazy good, but how far gone is he mentally? And how do you reel him back in?

By the way, I know Troy Renck likes to argue this is mostly a physical issue. I don't think so. To me it's a clear mental issue, leading to poor mechanics, which is a physical issue, which leads to less confidence, which is another mental issue, and it just keeps compounding itself and getting uglier.

Ultimately it's a mental issue. Anything physical is born directly out of that fact.

This is truly a messy situation for the Rockies. This is their ace and their guy they rely on (too much) to carry the load and keep them afloat. He seriously did it all by himself for 10 weeks. Now that he can't do it anymore, what becomes of this team?

I don't think we're going to like the answer to that question.

I don't want to hear about heat and humidity either. If the Rockies can't play through that, then what the hell are we doing considering them contenders? Man up.

If these guys can't play without their leaders (Tulo & Helton) in the dugout, then what the hell are we doing considering them contenders?

If the Jim Tracy, Don Baylor and Bob Apodaca can't start finding solutions to problems that have been apparent all season, what the hell are we doing considering them contenders?


Jeff Francis vs JA Happ

Hey Jeff. Guess what? Pressure's all on you again.  Lots of luck.

Lineup Card: Rockies @ Phillies

Rockies Lineup (51-45)

  • RF  Spilborghs
  • 2B  Herrera
  • CF  Gonzalez
  • LF  Smith
  • 3B  Stewart
  • C    Iannetta
  • 1B  Hawpe
  • SS  Barmes
  • P    Jimenez
Day 2 of the Brad Hawpe at 1B experiment comes exactly a week later.  Probably not enough time gone by for him to forget anything important.  

Phillies Lineup (50-46)
  • SS  Rollins
  • 2B  Polanco
  • LF  Ibanez
  • 1B  Howard
  • RF  Werth
  • CF  Victorino
  • 3B   Dobbs
  • C    Schneider
  • P     Kendrick

Friday, July 23, 2010

Rock Solid Recrap: Cook & Olivo Go Together Like...


Fire and Gasoline.

Have you noticed that?

I started to notice it on Sunday when Cook was completely in charge against the best offense in the NL. Chris Iannetta called all those pitches.

Get Miguel Olivo back out there against another good offense -- though one that's been struggling -- annnnd we're back to the Aaron Cook who looks lost on a pitching mound.

I'm not the stat guy around here... but here are those numbers updated after tonight.

  • Cook with Iannetta -- 5 starts, 32 IP, 3.09 ERA
  • Cook with Olivo -- 13 starts, 74.2 IP, 5.30 ERA

That's a pretty dramatic difference. Dramatic enough that you would think a manager that "pushes all the right buttons" (as Troy Renck likes to remind us only when Tracy's decisions work out), would notice it and maybe adjust his catching rotation to match Cook up with the catcher he's comfortable with.


Wouldn't have mattered much tonight anyways. Roy Halladay was in cruise control from pitch #1 to pitch #116.

Not even sure he broke a sweat until he covered first base on Fowler's groundout in the 8th.

The Rockies offense had maybe one almost significant threat that really didn't stand a chance with Miguel "Gun Show" Olivo and Brad Hawpe hitting with RISP.  They are the opposite of locked in right now.

Silver Lining?

Well... again... I like what Manny Corpas is doing.  I don't know what his role is exactly.  As David Martin pointed out on his Twitter tonight, Jim Tracy might not know Manny's role either.
Dear Mr Corpas, You are going to be my mop up guy, my one inning guy, and every now and then a setup guy. At the same time. -Jim Tracy
But I do like that Manny is at least throwing the ball well.  He will continue to do so until Jim Tracy wears his arm again sometime in the second week of August.


Ubaldo Jimenez vs Kyle Kendrick

Do I even need to tell you how important the game is?  This pitching matchup (on paper) is a huge mismatch in the Rockies favor.  But can they take advantage of that?  Or will Kyle Kendrick just be the latest scuffling pitcher to baffle the Rockies lineup?

Tune in to FOX... yes, FOX... to find out.

Lineup Card: Rockies @ Phillies

Rockies Lineup (51-44)

  • CF  Fowler
  • SS  Herrera
  • RF  Gonzalez
  • 1B  Giambi
  • 2B  Mora
  • LF  Smith
  • 3B  Stewart
  • C   Olivo
  • P    Cook
Been a long time since Clint Barmes received a day off.  The reason... Melvin Mora in the only backup IF.  

An Aaron Cook start and we're looking at Giambi, Mora on the right side, with Johnny Herrera making a rare SS appearance on the other side.  My hope?  Phillies hit everything on the ground to Stewart.  

I thought Iannetta might play again with Olivo slumping and Cook having just caught a Cook shutout. Shows what I know.  

Phillies Lineup (49-46)
  • SS  Rollins
  • 3B  Polanco
  • LF  Ibanez
  • 1B  Howard
  • CF  Werth
  • RF  Gload
  • C    Ruiz
  • 2B  Valdez
  • P    Halladay
That pain in the ass Carlos Ruiz.  He's the guy you have to look out for.  

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Rock Solid Recrap: Fish Be Biting

Biting hard.

Yet the Rockies still manage to let them off the hook.

Johnny Herrera tumbles after squeezing the final out of the 6th inning.
This goes down as the 3rd lost opportunity to "steal" a win on this roadtrip.

Three one run decisions the Rockies either led late, or had more than one quality opportunity to take a lead late, and the efforts fell short.

Monday's game is the one you'll look back at if  things don't work out, but just missing a chance to beat Josh Johnson will also leave a pretty sour taste in your mouth.

Josh Johnson

He's good. Really good. Great even. Dominant.

He's just not efficient.

That's why I still hesistate to say he's the best pitcher in the league... or baseball... or the universe... or wherever else baseball is played.

Great "stats" are one thing.  He certainly has those to the max.  Workhorse mentality and efficiency are another element I value just as much.  He's not there yet.

To be fair, Ubaldo isn't all the way there either.  Lump those two in with Lincecum and a handful of others that are hovering at or around complete awesomeness.


The Rockies were able to drive the pitch count up by laying off a lot of two strike waste pitches. Credit to Johnson for being consistently ahead 0-2, 1-2, but also note he was just as consistently reaching 3-2 with those batters before putting them away.

And that's what I mean.  The results are often terrific.  He just wastes so many bullets, which leads to a 6th or 7th inning exit, which leads to a no-decision, which means the Marlins lose a lot more of his starts than they should.

They just didn't lose today's.

Because Jose Veras is one lucky SOB.  (Highlight)

Jorge De La Rosa

Turns out another rehab start or two probably would have been the best route to take with Jorge just so he could get over the mental hurdle of gripping the ball without reinjuring himself.

At least that's my take. I don't blame them for wanting him back when they did, but looking back they should have done a better job evaluating his progress and recognizing he wasn't where he needed to be mentally.

Physically he was healed. Mentally he wasn't ready to trust his finger to hold up to the pressure of the grip.


He started out pretty much the same way he did the last two outings. Velocity down. Location erratic. Inability to put hitters away up in the zone.

But as the game progressed he started breaking out some of the nasty swing-and-miss stuff we were accustomed to at the end of last season. The fastballs were hitting their spots, which set up the changeup. He dropped a few good breakers in there.

It was very encouraging, and it's something he should be able to build upon in his next two starts against Pittsburgh and Chicago. Two offenses who will be closer to Florida in lack of discipline than Cincinnati or San Diego were.

If you're looking for your silver lining after losing three of four in Florida, look no further than De La Rosa's start today, put together with solid starts by Aaron Cook and Jeff Francis.  That would be the first time since like January 10th that the Rockies have felt good about all five starters at the same time.


Aaron Cook vs. Roy Halladay

This Halladay guy is the true definition of a workhorse. Unlike Johnson, he stands on the mound until you physically make him go away. No exiting in the 6th or 7th inning with 120 pitches. You have to light his ass on fire to have any chance of seeing a Phillies reliever in the 8th or 9th innings.

The Rockies actually did a pretty decent job of that in Denver. I don't see why they can't again.

Just to be safe though we should alert Aaron Cook that'll he needed another seven or more innings of shutout baseball.

Got that covered, Aaron?

Lineup Card: Rockies @ Marlins

Good morning.  Anyone awake?

Rockies bat?  Are you awake?

Jorge De La Rosa?  Are you alive?

Rockies Lineup (51-43)
  • CF  Fowler
  • 2B  Herrera
  • RF  Smith
  • 1B  Giambi
  • LF  Mora
  • 3B  Stewart
  • C    Olivo
  • SS  Barmes
  • P    De La Rosa
Jorge De La Rosa's life doesn't depend on this start today.  His job might not either.  

How's about we just pretend it does?  That could be fun.  

Marlins Lineup (46-48)
  • LF  Coghlan
  • SS  Murphy
  • 1B  Sanchez
  • 2B  Uggla
  • 3B  Cantu
  • CF  Ross
  • RF  Stanton
  • C    Paulino
  • P    Johnson
Murphy, Sanchez and Stanton can all go someplace else.  Tired of their faces.  

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Rock Solid Recrap: Hammel On The Hook

It's funny... well, not really funny... it's interesting to note that the Rockies offense has risen to the occasion a few times lately to ensure Ubaldo Jimenez avoids his 2nd loss of the season, while Jason Hammel hasn't been quite so fortunate in getting off the hook.

There's a lonnnnnng list of factors involved in that. Too many to get into. They aren't playing favorites, obviously, but poor Jason has been the Rockies best pitcher for the better part of six weeks and a lot of times (not always) it seems he has to be perfect to leave the mound with a chance for a W.

Tonight, though, he was from perfect. At least early.

The first inning looked like it would be a breeze. Unfortunately, he couldn't make a good enough two strike pitch to Hanley Ramirez, Dan Uggla or Jorge Cantu to close the door. Their three straight hits, all on pitches elevated in the zone, gave the Marlins a 2-0 lead.

The second inning was the same problem all over again. He couldn't put away Chris Coghlan with two outs. That opened the door for Gaby Sanchez, who promptly crushed a 3-run HR to straight away CF. And I mean crushed. There are no cheapies to be had straight away center at Sunlife.

Hammel seemed destined for a short night at that point, but to his credit, he bounced back from the early mishaps to provide Jim Tracy with five scoreless innings. You can't understate the importance of that in the big picture.

Especially when you don't know what you'll get from Jorge De La Rosa tomorrow.

Especially when you'll be spending four days in Philadelphia right before a homestand.

So my hat goes off to Hammel despite his overall clunker of an outing.

The offense again waited until Hammel was off the mound before scoring their only two runs of the game. That's what happened in his start in Cincinnati as well.

Ricky Nolasco was pretty good, allowing only four hits and striking out eight over the same number of innings. He was also pretty lucky on a couple Jason Giambi rockets. One that was flagged down by Cody Ross in deep center. Another that was snagged by tonight's biggest enemy, Gaby Sanchez.

I guess what I'm saying is Nolasco was good, but I also feel he was pretty hittable. There just weren't enough baseballs squared up like the ones Giambi hit, and then the 2-run Seth Smith HR in the 8th.

I point directly at poor ABs by Carlos Gonzalez and Brad Hawpe. Complete wastes.

Someone has to sit Gonzalez down especially and tell him you don't have to swing harder on the road. Keep the same swing you use at home. Drive the ball to all fields. Knock off these awful overswings that look like you're trying to pull every ball into the upper deck for a 6-run HR.

That's probably where the bruised finger came from. Gripping the bat too hard and swinging too hard. It looks terrible.

And the opposing pitchers are also figuring out that CarGo won't walk, so why throw him strikes. Let him get himself out until he makes the proper adjustments and learns some more discipline.


Jorge De La Rosa vs Josh Johnson

Are you ready for baseball at 10 AM Denver sports fans?

I hope the Rockies bats are. If not, they'll get their wake up call on that first Johnson 99 MPH fastball at the letters.

Lineup Card: Rockies @ Marlins

The Rockies would like Todd Helton to venture out on a rehab before being activated this weekend in Philadelphia.  Are you starting to the get the feeling they're in no hurry for Todd to come back?  Or maybe just in no hurry for Brad Eldred or anyone else to leave.  

Rockies Lineup (51-42)
  • LF  Smith
  • 2B  Herrera
  • CF  Gonzalez
  • 1B  Giambi
  • RF  Hawpe
  • C    Iannetta
  • 3B  Stewart
  • SS  Barmes
  • P    Hammel
Welcome back to regular playing time Chris Iannetta!  You've earned it.  

Marlins Lineup (45-48)
  • LF  Coghland
  • 1B  Sanchez
  • SS  Ramirez
  • 2B  Uggla
  • 3B  Cantu
  • CF  Ross
  • RF  Stanton
  • C    Davis 
  • P    Nolasco

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Rock Solid Recap: I Like Angry Rockies

I wonder what that bag of wind Jon Miller thinks of the Rockies offense so far in Florida.

But the bigger story tonight is Jeff Francis.

I've been on Francis a lot after his past three starts. Let's be honest... they weren't good. They weren't average. They weren't even bad. They were just plain awful, bordering on disastrous.

I thought the matchup tonight against Florida wasn't going to provide the right opportunity for him to right the ship. No way. Way too much right-handed power for him to handle.


Francis not only handled those fish, he handled them with relative ease. He was confident. He was in command from beginning to end. He was in attack mode with no lead and carried that on with a 10 run lead. It really was a masterpiece we're used to seeing with Jeff when he's on his game.

The Rockies needed a great effort from him. He provided the effort, while sending a clear cut message that he's not done just yet.

Message received... but I'm still filing in my yellow folder for caution. Once the innings start piling up again without an all-star break in the middle, will he be able to sustain the effectiveness? That's the next bridge he'll need to cross when it comes.


Crredit to Jim Tracy when it's due. He put the right lineup together tonight.

I'll never complain when Melvin Mora is in the lineup... unless he's at second base. The guy is a professional hitter and he once again proved that tonight (3-for-5, HR, 2B, 5 RBI).

We know his defensive skills are pretty much limited to 3B, but he did have a good showing for himself in LF tonight. Let's keep one thing in mind on that though. LF in Sunlife Stadium is one of the easier outfield positions to play in the league. Not a whole lot of ground out there to cover.

Everyone else: Amazingly, despite the 10 runs, no other Rockie collected a multi-hit game tonight. That means the offense featured balance, timely hitting, and a willingness to take a walk. The Rockies collected six of those.

Now if we can only see more of all the above on a consistent basis going forward, the offense won't be an issue.

Of course they won't face Nate Robertson again either... dammit.

Chris Iannetta

Another right button pushed by Tracy was starting Chris Iannetta. Iannetta caught his second shutout in three days. Think about that.  A month ago he couldn't get out of his own way behind the plate, now he's about to seriously challenge Miguel Olivo for playing time.

Good for Chris Iannetta.

I've always felt very strongly about his talent, much the same way I feel about Franklin Morales' talent.  It's just a matter of keeping his head on straight. Not allowing the mental grind to get the best of him.  It's clearly not right now.   Time will now tell if he's able to keep the focus and the confidence going.  I'm definitely pulling for him.


Jason Hammel vs Ricky Nolasco

A couple of pretty similar pitches on the hill in that one.  I'll take my chances with Jason the way he's throwing the ball lately.  Get him 5-6 runs and you should feel pretty good.

Lineup Card: Rockies @ Marlins

Is the wind blowing out to right again?  If so, give me a bat.  I think I could park one about 5-10 row ups those bleachers myself.

Rockies Lineup (50-42)

  • CF  Fowler
  • 2B  Herrera
  • LF  Mora
  • RF  Spilborghs
  • C    Iannetta
  • 1B  Eldred
  • 3B  Stewart
  • SS  Barmes
  • P    Francis
Gonzalez sits with a bruised finger.  He needs to catch his breath and slow his heart rate down anyway.  Good day for that against a lefty.  

Mora in LF shouldn't cause too much harm defensively.  LF in Florida doesn't seem like too difficult a task. (Now watch him make three errors)   It'll put a little more pressure on Fowler to cover ground though.  That's not easy because there is more ground in the right-center field area.  

Marlins Lineup (45-47)
  • LF  Bonafacio
  • 3B  Helms
  • SS  Ramirez
  • 2B  Uggla
  • 1B  Cantu
  • CF  Ross
  • RF  Stanton
  • C    Paulino
  • P    Robertson
Lots of luck to Jeff Francis maneuvering himself around this lineup 2-8.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Rock Solid Recrap: Donnie Who?

Here are the five things you need to know about tonight's game.

1. Sloppy

The Rockies defense once again opened doors for the opposing offense. Doors that, at least early in the game, the Marlins offense couldn't have opened themselves against Jimenez. He had things going very well.

By the way, those errors include one by Jimenez, and another by Herrera which was pretty ugly on a sure DP ball.

The errors don't include a Hanley Ramirez RBI bunt single that I thought Jimenez should have handled cleanly. So it kinda boils down to...

2. Ubaldo Falters

He couldn't pitch around the 3rd inning miscues once they started piling up. The extra pitches needed to get through that inning then caught up to him in the 6th.

A knock, a walk.  Next thing you know Mike Stanton (who had Ubaldo's number all night and looks like a keeper in their OF) launches an offspeed delivery into the second deck for three runs.

A lot of that goes on Ubaldo for not battling through traffic (It'll all show up on his ERA), but it kinda leads in to the my next point as well.

3. Where's Miguel Olivo?

Ick. Aside from the HR in Cincy, he looks completely lost in the box. Seriously. I don't know why a pitcher would throw a fastball at this point. Nothing but ugly offerings on offspeed crap.

Also, the pitch selection a couple times allowed Ubaldo to get beat with his secondary pitches. Not really sure what the thought process was behind those, but yeah, not good.

It should also be noted he's had a couple passed balls and his throws haven't been on the mark much either. Could the career long platoon/backup catcher's extensive playing time be catching up to him? Just reality of who he is in the long run? Simple slump after inactivity for 4 days?

Time will tell.

4. Johnny Herrera hits his first career HR.

It's only fitting that Herrera would hit his first HR at a moment like that. The kid is clutch and the kid is pretty special when it comes to finding a way (small or large) to win or get in position to win a game.

Granted, his error in the third basically gave away two runs. That was a big part of the problem there. But in yesterday's 1-0 game win, he saved at least one run with a diving play up the middle. A suicide squeeze or whatever you need, Johnny gets it done.

His impact on this team is nothing but positive in every fashion.

5. Donnie Murphy hits a walk-off HR.

I don't know who the hell Donnie Murphy is.

Check that.

I didn't know who he was. Now I'll never forget him.

That's a little disrepectful to say about a guy who's achieved even one degree of success at the ML level, but for crying out loud, he just walked off on Huston Street! That doesn't compute with me.

In fact, I think I need to go back and make sure that really happened. While I do that, here's tomorrow's starting pitching matchup.

Jeff Francis vs. Nate Robertson

We've seen Aaron Cook step up at a time the Rockies desperately needed him to. Can Francis follow suit?

I must admit I'm not optimisitc based on his recent showings, in addition to a Marlins lineup that is strictly right-handed power. If they can get a few of Jeff's soft fastballs away up in the RF jet stream, look out.

And yes, I rewatched it

And yes, it still sucks.

Lineup Card: Rockies @ Marlins

Rockies Lineup (50-41)

  • LF  Smith
  • 2B  Herrera
  • CF  Gonzalez
  • 1B  Giambi
  • C    Olivo
  • RF  Hawpe
  • 3B  Stewart
  • SS  Barmes
  • P    Jimenez
Marlins Lineup (44-47)
  • LF  Bonafacio
  • 1B  Sanchez
  • SS  Ramierez
  • 2B  Uggla
  • 3B  Cantu
  • CF  Ross
  • RF  Stanton
  • C    Paulino
  • P    Sanchez

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Rock Solid Recap: Halfway to 100 Wins

Of course they won't get there, but 50 is still half of 100.

Rockies 1, Reds 0

Staying positive while attempting to provide a realistic persepctive isn't always easy.

Aaron Cook, Chris Iannetta, and Huston Street made it a little easier today.

Aaron Cook

The Rockies desperately needed the Ohio native's best today.
  • 7 IP
  • 6 H (scattered just enough)
  • 0 R
  • 1 BB
  • 5 K (tied season high and a couple were very well timed). 
  • 82 pitches -- 58 strikes
  • 12 groundouts -- 4 flyouts.
Those ratios and things all qualify in the good-to-great range. Add them all together and they equal Cook's first road win of the season.

Highlight: Cook's 7 Shutout Innings

Chris Iannetta

Fantastic game by Chris. The HR will get most of the pub -- it's a worthy highlight to be sure -- but the job he did behind the plate with Cook and the bullpen is what really sealed this win.

He asserted himself several different times with trips to the mound. I don't keep track of stuff like that, but it seemed to me that each visit was well timed and meaningful.  That's a sign his comfort and confidence as a catcher are rising with each start.

Dare we give Miguel Olivo any credit for that?

If Iannetta continues moving the direction he's going now, the Rockies will be employing the most valuable backup backstop in the league. That's a far cry from where they were a month ago.

Highlight: Chris Iannetta's Solo HR

Huston Street

Were you a little worried?

I wouldn't blame you.

For me, though, Huston Street is the truest definition of a closer you can find. I watch him. I see the opponent bloop a hit in here and there. First and third, one out, no outs. I don't get worried.

Heart rate accerlates a couple beats a minute, but it's not the overwhelming feeling of dread I've had with the other 900 closers we've seen in the Rockies history.

Maybe I'll get uneasy when Tracy uses him four days in a row, or the first couple appearances off the DL, but my general feeling with Street is this guy in a Top 5 closer in baseball. If healthy, the Rockies have a bargain on their hands -- and will also soon have a brand new all-time saves leader.

Highlight: Street Closes The Door

Jonathan Herrera

Lost the hitting streak, but provided two superb Web Gems.

Highlights: Diving Stop, Great Throw

Travis Wood

He's going to be really good. He's already more than good enough to fill a 4th-5th rotation spot. He may never reach Volquez territory (ace stature) in their organization, but the Reds don't need him to either.  Their rotation depth will make the Reds very dangerous in 2010 and well beyond.

Wood gets the majority of the credit for holding the Rockies offense in check today. That said, they still need to find ways to scratch together an extra run here and there. Their inability to do so has been the difference between wins and losses on several occasions already.  That won't change in Florida and Philadelphia.


It's Ubaldo day.  Which means scratching and clawing for the extra run or two will definitely be the difference in a win or a heart-breaking, low-scoring loss.

Lineup Card: Rockies @ Reds

Who approved of these early Sunday games?

One week ago today the Rockies were ever so close to tying San Diego for first place in the West.  Now the Rockies are ever so close to falling five games out.  That 50th W is proving to be pretty elusive.  Let's snatch that sucker today and start playing really good baseball for 9 complete innings, not 2-3 innings.

Rockies Lineup (49-41)
  • CF  Fowler
  • 2B  Herrera
  • RF  Gonzalez
  • 3B  Mora
  • LF  Spilborghs
  • C    Iannetta
  • 1B  Eldred
  • SS  Barmes
  • P    Cook
Reds Lineup (51-41)
  • 2B  Phillips
  • SS  Cabrera
  • 1B  Votto
  • LF  Gomes
  • RF  Nix
  • 3B  Cairo
  • CF  Stubbs
  • C    Miller
  • P     Wood

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Rock Solid Recrap: The Reds Are Definitely Contenders

That much is not up for debate.

What could be up for debate is whether or not Cincinnati is the best team in the National League right now. Assuming they're adding a healthy and effective Edinson Volquez to the mix... then I don't know who I'd put ahead of them.

They have offense, defense, pitching in the rotation and in the bullpen.


Another thing up for debate is what exactly are the Rockies?

Can we base our answer on one homestand that featured several heart-stopping victories?

Or should we base our answer on the other 80 games where sloppy defense, inconsistent offense, amateurish baserunning and poor managing stuck out like sore thumbs?

Discuss amongst yourselves on that. I think I know which way I'm leaning until I finally see something resembling sustained solid baseball without the aid of incredible late inning heroics.

The sooner than happens the better. They'll never survive this roadtrip playing the baseball we've seen the first two nights in Cincinnati.  No chance at all.

Reds a lot, Rockies not much

It would easy (and lazy) to put all the blame on Jorge De La Rosa tonight.

Yes, he obviously isn't right out there. That was pretty apparent in the first inning when every pitch was doing the same thing and ending in the same place. Became a lot more obvious once the Reds figured it out and made him elevate his flat ptiches.

Sadly, as obvious as it was to us and the Reds, Jim Tracy either didn't notice or didn't care enough to pull him while the game was within reach. Those three extra batters he squeezed out of Jorge after Drew Stubbs' second HR, resulted in three more runs.

Game over.

You kept Jhoulys Chacin in your bullpen for a reason, Jim. USE HIM. He's not that far removed from the rotation. Getting 4-5 innings out of him wouldn't be that much of a stretch.

De La Rosa wasn't a pitcher having a rare bad outing tonight. He's a guy two starts removed from the DL that has been pretty dreadful in each start, in addition to the last AAA start right before that. It really makes no sense leaving him out there to die.

What's wrong with DLR? I'm guessing either lingering discomfort in the ligament or a lack of trust in the ligament. If you don't feel like you can grip the ball without doing damage, you're cooked out there. De La Rosa looks completely cooked.

If that problem can't be corrected, or if he's still hurt, fine, you have to move on again and put Chacin back in the rotation. But you're also back to putting a lot of pressure on Jeff Francis and Aaron Cook. Can they step up? That's the problem.

In other news tonight. The offense started out promising but couldn't mount a meaningful threat after the first inning.

Nine strikeouts for Volquez in six innings of his return. He's good. He's probably going to get better, but still. An ugly showing from 1-8 in the order.


It won't get any easier at all. This Travis Wood kid we'll see for CIncinnati? Heard the name? He's the one who, in his third ML start, took a perfect game into the 9th ininng AT Philadelphia. This will be ML start #4.

I suppose he won't do any better than the last one, but I'm guessing offense will tough to find again. Good luck to Aaron Cook.

Lineup Card: Rockies @ Reds

Let's hope the Rockies got all the sleepiness out of their eyes and are ready to go from pitch 1 tonight.

Rockies Lineup (49-40)
  • CF  Fowler
  • 2B  Herrera
  • RF  Gonzalez
  • 1B  Hawpe
  • LF  Smith
  • C    Olivo
  • 3B  Stewart
  • SS  Barmes
  • P    De La Rosa
And so officially begins the Brad Hawpe experiment at 1B.  Remember folks, he started out as a 1B in the minors before changing positions due to Todd Helton's lockdown on the position.

Don't expect Gold Glove caliber work out there from Brad, but do at least hope he's about 5 notches ahead of Mora and Giambi and maybe 2 notches above Elded.

De La Rosa with start #2 off the DL.  I expect much better things tonight.  

Reds Lineup (50-41)
  • 2B  Phillips
  • SS  Cabrera
  • 1B  Votto
  • LF  Gomes
  • 3B  Cairo
  • RF  Bruce
  • CF  Stubbs
  • C    Hanigan
  • P    Volquez
This is a big night for the Reds and their fans.  The return of Edinson Volquez.  Volqurez was on the fast track to superstardom when he tore a ligament in his pitching elbow in early 2009.  14 or so months later, Volquez is back and he's back right in the thick of a pennant race.  

I don't know how effective he'll be -- he's made 5-6 rehab starts -- but I know he'll be motivated.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Rock Solid Recrap: Can't Touch Arroyo

MC Hammer Time: In the buliding.

Jason Hammel Time: In the building.

Rockies Offense: Not in the building. At least not until the 7th inning.

Reds 3, Rockies 2

This is how I would describe the 6+ innings of tonight's game.

1st Inning -- Hit the snooze button

2nd Inning -- Finally rolled out of bed. Had that straight out of bed look.

3rd Inning -- Wiping their eyes and yawning.

4th Inning -- Stretching.

5th Inning -- Stumbling into the bathroom.

6th Inning -- Shaving.

7th Inning -- Preparing breakfast. Finally glancing at their watches to realize they're two hours late for work.

In the first six innings, the only offense the Rockies could muster was a Johnny Herrera infield single that Brandon Phillips flagged but could maintain the handle on.

That's it.

Arroyo faced the minimum 18 batters through those six innings. He retired the first two batters of the 7th, before allowing a single to CarGo and an RBI double to Jason Giambi.

Reds color man Jeff Brantly said it well several different times. The Rockies simply weren't waiting back on Arroyo's offspeed pitches until Gonzalez did in the 7th inning. It was a terrible showing of plate discipline and/or preparation.

I think I'll lean towards plate discipline after witnessing the 8th inning.

Miguel Olivo leads off with a HR. Terrific start. Ian Stewart worked a walk off Arroyo. Barmes followed up with a single to end Arroyo's evening.

Dusty Baker turns the game over to him All-Star reliever Arthur Rhodes. Rhodes procedes to walk Spilborghs to load the bases. Nobody out still. 3-2 game. Top of the order (speed) coming to the plate. We just need a well struck baseball or two.

Dexter Fowler -- Made one he best catches I've seen all season to keep the Rockies in the baseball game (highlight). His plate appearance here wasn't nearly as pretty. He popped up a 1-1 pitch into short RF. No chance for advancement.

Not to be harsh on Dexter He's shown some improvement since his recall. Unfortunately, since the HR against St. Louis, every AB result seems to be a K or a flyout. He's not working counts as deeply. He's not making the solid gap-to-gap contact anymore. It seems he liked the feel of the HR and he wants to feel it again.

That needs to be corrected quickly or the Rockies will have a big hole at #1 again.

Jonathan Herrera -- Maybe for the first time all season looked overmatched in a plate appearance. Arthur Rhodes pretty much carved him up and set him down looking on an inside fastball.

Carlos Gonzalez -- Had one goal in mind: Grand Slam.

Every swing was for the downs. He wanted to jack one over the Ohio River, over Kentucky, and have it land somewhere in the gulf of Mexico. It was a really bad AB. He missed every pitch by a foot.

The Rockies would mount no threat in the 9th.

It was a game they really had no business winning the way they played early. The Dexter Fowler play and the fine work done by Jason Hammel (career high 10 Ks) kept them in a great position. They just couldn't get the big hit in their one amazing opportunity to score.

Tip your cap to Arroyo and the Reds bullpen. Tip your cap to their fans for creating a playoff like atmosphere. They are clearly hungry for a winner in that town. That was so evident tonight. They might be twice as pumped tomorrow with Edinson Volquez making his long awaited return from Tommy John Surgery.

Jorge De La Rosa will attempt to spoil that return while reassetring himself in the Rockies rotation. Should be another fun one.

Lineup Card: Rockies @ Reds

88 down, 74 to go.  

After this extremely difficult 11 game east coast trip, only 63 to go.

This has to be a good trip for the Rockies.  A 4-7 or worse simply won't cut it.  A 5-6 or 6-5 won't kill you, but could leave you slightly vulnerable.  7-4 and beyond would make it extremely difficult for anyone to gain significant ground.

It begins tonight in Cincinnati.  The FIRST place Reds are desperate to fight off the St. Louis Cardinals.  They aren't a team that's likely to fade.  They're 27-19 at home.  Their lineup is littered with all-stars.  Their rotation is a solid mix of upcoming special talent and seasoned vets.  They have a solid bullpen.

In other words, the Rockies will have to earn their keep this weekend.  No gimmes here.

Rockies Lineup (49-39)
  • CF  Fowler
  • 2B  Herrera
  • RF  Gonzalez
  • 1B  Giambi
  • LF  Smith
  • C    Olivo
  • 3B  Stewart
  • SS  Barmes
  • P    Hammel
Jim Tracy has said he will start using Brad Hawpe at 1B tomorrow.  So that's an interesting, yet not totally unexpected development coming out of the All-Star break.  

Reds Lineup (49-41)
  • 2B  Phillips (All-Star)
  • SS  Cabrera
  • 1B  Votto (All-Star)
  • 3B  Rolen (All-Star)
  • LF Gomes
  • RF Bruce
  • CF Stubbs
  • C   Hanigan
  • P   Arroyo 

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Where Do The Rockies Rank In Popularity?

Not very high according to this year's Harris Poll.

The Rockies came in at #20 (tied with the Baltimore Orioles), which is three spots higher than they were last season, but down seven spots from their peak in popularity after the 2007 World Series.  

It would have been nice to see the Rockies maintain some of their popularity from that incredible run in 2007.  Then again, I personally don't miss any bandwagon fans either.


Among some of the teams more popular than Colorado in 2010: Seattle (12th), Cleveland (17th), Arizona (18th) and how in the hell did the Kansas City Royals (19th) get above them?  Seriously?

The Royals jumped TEN spots from their 29th ranking last season.

It should also be noted that 1% of those polled picked the Rockies to win the World Series.

How it works: The Harris Poll surveyed about 2,227 people between June 14th and 21st.  

How they decide on those dates and the number of people is beyond me, but that's what the Harris Poll is all about.  

You can read more result from this year's Harris Poll by clicking here.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Rock Solid Recap: Ubaldo Works Two Scoreless in ASG

No sense understating how exciting (and satisfying) this moment was for me as a lifelong (theirs, not mine) Colorado Rockies fan. Just hearing Ubaldo Jimenez's named being announced as the National League starting pitcher tonight gave me goosebumps.

For so many years it was impossible to imagine a Rockies pitcher even making the all-star team. Once that "curse" was broken it was still impossible to imagine a Rockies pitcher garnering enough attention and respect to receive the honor of starting a mid-summer classic.

One night changed all that.

On April 17th, in Atlanta, Georgia, the impossible gave way to the undeniable.

The Colorado Rockies were going to have the starting pitcher in the all-star game  His name was Ubaldo Jimenez.

From that day on, Jimenez earned every bit of the attention and respect it takes.  The accolades are oh so richly deserved.

Oh, and his performance in the actual game didn't disappoint one single bit either.


I believe Ubaldo became the first player ever introduced to bring his glove on to the field with him. Nothing wrong with that! He was ready to rock and fire. Only problem was Fox made him sit around 45 minutes before he could take the mound.

It was also quite weird seeing him in the grey top with sleeves and the grey shoes. Pretty sure that trend won't continue into his next start in Florida.

1st Inning

Ubaldo had a few jitters it appeared. Who could blame him? Ichiro. Derek Jeter. Couple Hall of Famers right off the bat.

After unintenionally buzzing Jeter (with a 96 mph fastball) and then walking him (another all-star rarity), Miguel Cabrera blooped a single in to short right to set up a first and third.

Jimenez, as he has so many times in 2010, then made his pitch to the powerful Josh Hamilton, inducing a perfect 1-6-3 DP ball.

Vintage Jimenez.

2nd Inning

He made Vladimir Guerrero look absolutely silly with a couple fastballs and then the splitter. Vlad had no chance.

Ubaldo then fell behind 3-0 to Evan Longoria and made his only mistake of the evening -- a fastball on the inner half. Longo turned on it and ripped a double into deep left.

No problem for U. He quickly and quietly set down a 3-time AL batting champion, Joe Mauer, and the current AL batting leader, Robinson Cano, to end his evening with a 0.00 career ERA in all-star appearances.

National League 3, American League 1

And look at that would ya? The NL wins for the first time since 1996 (aka my sophomore year of high school.)

Hats all off to all the boys -- especially Brian McCann and even Charlie Manuel -- on getting the job done.

I was already pumped for the second half .  Now the intensity increases by two or three notches because these NL teams know this opportunity to host a World Series could be a rare one.  This is going to be a lot of fun.