Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Lineup Card: Rockies @ Giants

Manny Delcarmen Trade Thoughts (here)

As I said in my Recap of last night's victory, the Rockies need to score some runs tonight.  Preferably some runs early in the game.

The Giants, to me, are a mentally fragile team.  We saw how quickly they faded away last season when they dealt with adversity.  Though they are far more talented this season, they are showing signs of a team that could fade again with a little more adversity.

Score early.  Plant some seeds of doubt.  Take advantage.  Even things up in the loss column.

Rockies Lineup (69-61)
  1. 2B  Young
  2. CF  Fowler
  3. RF  Gonzalez
  4. 3B  Mora
  5. 1B  Giambi
  6. LF  Spilborghs
  7. C    Olivo
  8. SS  Barmes
  9. P    Rogers
Giants Lineup (72-60)
  1. CF  Torres
  2. 2B  Sanchez
  3. 1B  Huff
  4. LF  Burrell
  5. RF  Guillen
  6. C    Posey
  7. 3B  Sandoval
  8. SS  Uribe
  9. P    Bumgarner
Oh, Cody Ross, where are you?  

Delcarmen Trade Thoughts

The Rockies acquired reliever Manny Delcarmen from the Boston Red Sox in exchange for Class A pitching prospect Chris Balcom-Miller.

Of course the first question after any trade is who won?

Hell if I know.

I'm sure you can find a number cruncher somewhere that will tell you they know, so if you need to know that bad, consult them. But I assure you they don't know either, because no one knows until the parties involved actually perform for their new team.

In the case of Balcom-Miller, he'd either have to make the big leagues, which is far from a guarantee despite all the positive reports on his development in recent weeks, or bring them back some proven talent in another deal.

Delcarmen is another one of those guys (Kip Wells, Tim Redding and Jason Marquis were others) that Dan O'Dowd has targeted for years, and once the price dropped, he pulled the trigger. If you recall Delcarmen's name was bandied about in the Todd Helton discussions back in 2007.

Manny has struggled quite a bit over the past two seasons. His walk totals (28,34,28 respectively) over the past three seasons make me a little uneasy. We've seen enough of relievers struggling with command this season to last a decade.

But there is a track record of effective pitching for Delcarmen. I hate to fall into the cliched "change of scenery" trap that always accompanies such a trade, but maybe Bob Apodaca will see something easily correctable that gets Delcarmen back to peak form.

It's worth a shot.

The potential downside -- You lose a prospect that seems to be on the path to the big leagues at some point. No guarantee.

The potential upside -- You add an affordable arm to your bullpen for the stretch run, and possibly 2-3 years beyond.

Why not?

Rock Solid Recap: Thank You Cody Ross

And Bruce Bochy. Can't believe the Giants didn't have a better, more comfortable outfielder (in that ballpark) available to play the 9th inning.

The Rockies desperately needed a break. I didn't think that break was going to come on a Carlos Gonzalez broken bat. Neither did Cody Ross. But given the way Carlos Gonzalez has played in the month of August, maybe we both should have known better.

Ross misread the bat shattering contact as a blooper into short right field. The ball continued sailing, Ross turned tail and started chasing, Dexter Fowler scored easily from first, Gonzalez slid safely into third, the relay throw bounced feebly past Pablo Sandoval into the camera well, Rockies take the lead and hold on to a 2-1 victory.


Gonzalez heroics (and luck) aside, the win and game ball belong to Jorge De La Rosa. He wasn't very efficient early, but he pushed his way through the first four innings, settled in nicely, and gave his club seven innings of one run baseball.

That's why De La Rosa is going to make a lot of money in the off-season.

Rafael Betancourt is credited the official win after a 1-2-3 8th. Nice to see that clean and efficient inning from Raffy.

Huston Street, working for the third straight day yet again, needed a little help from the San Francisco atmosphere on a long drive hit by Aubrey Huff, needed a little help from a diving Jonathan Herrera, and needed a little luck on a line drive come backer off the bat of Buster Posey, but the bottom line is, Huston Street pitched a 1-2-3 9th inning to earn his 13th save.

Besides, he was owed a little good luck after some of the tough breaks he had experienced lately.

Another thing we can't overlook is how important Dexter Fowler's walk was leading off the 9th inning. Down in the count 1-2, Fowler spit on some pitcher's pitches by Sanchez that Rockies batters couldn't resist all night. Great approach and patience, with a game-changing result.


Esmil Rogers vs. Madison Bumgarner

This has to be a big offensive game for the Rockies. Rogers has struggled lately. Huston Street is a little gassed. The bullpen as a whole is tired. Best way to remedy such problems are to score early, score often, and score a couple more late.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Lineup Card: Rockies @ Giants

Can't get where you want to go unless you can beat the teams ahead of you, and beat them on their home field.  That's the challenge the Rockies face tonight, and here's the lineup they face it with...

Rockies Lineup (68-61)
  1. 2B  Young
  2. CF  Fowler
  3. RF  Gonzalez
  4. 3B  Mora
  5. 1B  Helton
  6. LF  Spilborghs
  7. C   Olivo
  8. SS  Barmes
  9. P    De La Rosa
Without Tulowitzki and Stewart... yikes.  

Giants Lineup (73-59)
  1. CF  Torres
  2. 2B  Sanchez
  3. 1B  Huff
  4. LF  Burrell
  5. C    Posey
  6. RF  Ross
  7. 3B  Sandoval
  8. SS  Uribe
  9. P    Sanchez

Weekend In Review: They Beat LA


Rock Solid Recrap of Friday's frustrating loss.

Rock Solid Recap of Saturday's domination by Jhoulys Chacin.

Rock Solid Recap of Sunday's rubber match victory.

I'm not ready to declare Rockies Baseball Magic or LoDo Magic or the Hunt for Rocktober to be on just yet though.

Aside from finally outplaying a team the Rockies have been more talented than for the past four years, there really isn't anything magical going on right now. It's not magic. The smell in the air isn't a run at the playoffs. It's just a baseball team doing what it has done all season -- dominate at home.

Despite the home stand, the Rockies will still need a lot of help from the outside to get where they want to go. That is why I repeatedly say one thing. I never said the Rockies were done, because they weren't and they still aren't close to done. I always said they were putting themselves in a far tougher position than they should be in.

That still holds true, because they are still in a far tougher predicament than they should be in. That hole they dug for themselves in May and the second half of July is where they remain. They aren't getting all the way out unless they help themselves on the road (starting tonight would be fantastic), and get help from everywhere all the time.

It's still a long, tough road ahead. Still a lot of GOOD teams to pass in the standings. Cardinals and Giants are absolutely struggling. Great to gain ground on them while you can, but they will very likely stabilize. The Phillies just swept out in San Diego. They aren't rolling over and dying.

You're dealing with really good teams in your path to the playoffs. Teams with experience and teams with talent. This isn't 2007 or 2009 where you're leap-frogging bleh teams at a record pace en route to October. This is a serious challenge.

I know for myself I'm waiting until the Rockies have a winning road trip before I go over the top in my LoDo magic/Rocktober excitement. I absolutely believe they could sustain playing at that level, but until I see it, I have to contain myself.

Rock Solid Recap: All Caught Up

Thank you MLB.TV for your condensed game option. Really helps a brother out after a long weekend away from the action.

That 18th win the Rockies can't seem to get Ubaldo Jimenez? That pales in comparison to the struggles Jason Hammel has endured to notch each of his 9 victories. It's not that Hammel isn't earning them with his effort, he is, the chips just haven't fallen where he's needed them to fall.

That is why I do believe the win stat is overrated when evaluating talent and a career, but it's still a significant thing to keep track of. If for no other reason than to prove how tough winning baseball games is at the major league level, not just for an individual pitcher, but for teams in general.

Things fell right for Hammel yesterday. The main reason? Not exactly his pitching (I blame that entirely on Gary Sederstrom's a ridiculously small strike zone), but his hitting. Two base knocks on the day. The first one an RBI single that not only extended an inning, but opened the flood gates for a game-clinching five run frame. (highlight).

It didn't hurt that baseballs were flying on a Sunday afternoon. Mostly Rockies baseballs.

So the offense has once again stabilized at home, just in time to go back on the road to San Francisco.

September comes at the same time every year, but it's definitely coming at the right time for the Rockies bullpen. They're down a Manny Corpas for the season. Rafael Betancourt is achy and struggling. Joe Beimel and Matt Belisle have to be on fumes at this point. Huston Street has been worked into the ground since coming off the DL.

Reinforcements are needed desperately. We'll see them on Tuesday.


The most important series of the season kicks off. Road series, against a team your chasing, and you may be playing without Troy Tulowitzki, who tweaked a groin late in Sunday's win.

Must find a way to win.

Jorge De La Rosa vs Jonathan Sanchez

Rock Solid Recap: Two Days Late

I'm almost caught up!

Check out the grapefruits on Jhoulys Chacin.

Important game against a hated division that the Rockies can never seem to beat? Chacin says no problem, I got this one. And he did get it. Despite walking four, allowing four hits, and striking out seven over seven innings, Chacin still managed to throw an efficient 102 pitches.

That's outstanding.

He also got a little run support from the likes of Troy Tulowitzki (highlight), Todd Helton (highlight) and Carlos Gonzalez (highlight). Especially enjoyed watching Todd Helton unload. I just wish his bombs weren't always solo shots.

Another productive day at the plate for Melvin Mora (highlight). He had an ugly base running blunder mixed in there (apparently forgot how many out there were), but made up for that with some solid defense over at 3B (highlight).

I can only imagine the unnecessary panic that followed the home run allowed by Huston Street in the 9th inning. Very glad I wasn't around to listen to or read about that. It is what it is, he made a mistake and Rod Barajas hit it a long way. Street is still solid and the only option you can use in the 9th inning.

That's the bottom line on that one.

And that's a wrap on this one. Plain and simple, a solid, much needed win. A monster effort by a 22-year-old pitcher with one helluva nice future.

One more condensed game to watch and boxscore to study.

Rock Solid Recrap: Three Days Late

This will be Friday's game.  

I'm guessing there was a ton of frustration over Jim Tracy allowing Ubaldo Jimenez to begin that game-deciding 8th inning.  Looking at Ubaldo's pitch count after his removal (126), any and all frustration would be justified.

It is a tough spot for a manager, but Jim Tracy has proven time and time again (for 10 years) that he's just not a good in-game manager.  No feel for anything.  Acts desperate at all the wrong times.  Remains patient at all the wrong times.  It's annoying, and once again, it's why he's been fired two different times in the last 10 years.

Another reason would be strategy like this in the second inning.

Why intentionally walk Rod Barajas?  It's the 2nd inning!  You honestly don't believe your Cy Young candidate can't retire Rod Barajas?  Alright then.

What ends up happening?  Clayton Kershaw shows some patience, runs Ubaldo full, makes him throw seven pitches before flying out harmlessly.  Did you get through the inning?  Yes.  Were you smart of efficient.  I'd go with a big no.  I don't really need to see Ubaldo intentionally walking anybody.

And then it was another intentional walk setting up the Casey Blake Grand Slam.  That one you can understand under the circumstances, but I just hating giving aways and giving the opponent more runners.  It's a tight rope worth staying off of most times.

I'll insert this paragraph from Rox Girl's recap over at Purple Row.
Okay, let me get this out there before anybody gets too far into a Jim Tracy bashfest. This loss wasn't completely on his shoulders. Once again, for what feels like the billionth time this season, there were large portions of the offense that were exposed by Dodgers pitching, and the two runs the Rockies scored might not have cut it regardless off which Rockies pitcher started the eighth inning.
It's true.  There's always more to it than one decision.  That said, the evidence against Jim Tracy has been mounting all season.  The frustration is warranted.

I'm sure the frustration hit an entirely different level when Franklin Morales was summoned from the bullpen.

In this case, I would have said give the kid a chance.  I know he was God awful for so long this season, but my thinking would be who's to say he can't resume being the guy who REALLY helped this team make the playoffs in 2007 and 2009.

But the facts are the facts.  He clearly isn't that guy anymore.  Odds of him being that guy drop significantly every time he walks or balks.  He's a headcase with a wonderful arm and so much untapped potential.

Headcase > Potential


How great is it to see Todd Helton go opposite field on a long ball?  (Highlight)

Will there be a portion of CarGo's body not wrapped by the time this season ends?  My God this kid gives it everything on the field.  So does Dexter Fowler.  In a lot of ways that's awesome, in so many other ways it remind me of Jim Edmonds and how he never lived up to his potential becasue was always injured playing defense.

Catch 22, but we'll take the outs.  (Highlight)

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Rock Solid Recap: Speechless

Well, almost. I have to say something.

I don't know what today's amazing victory will mean in the grand scheme of the 2010 season. It may mean nothing. It may mean everything. The bottom line is, there is nothing more exhilarating than watching your favorite team never give up, and then complete a mission that seemed impossible.


When you break this thing down and start handing out individual accolades, the only place you can start is with lefty sensation Matt Reynolds.

The kid has pitched his ass off all season, beginning in spring training, continuing through a dominant campaign at Colorado Springs, and he's now showing us firsthand that the hype was legit. Sometimes a guy has the ability, you hear the hype, he shows up and then promptly wets the bed.

Not Matt Reynolds.

The importance of his three shutout innings, on so many levels, simply cannont be measured. There's no stat that can be created that measures what a single performance like this means to a baseball team. Not to mention his patience AB that resulted in a walk and led to three run 5th inning rally. Reynolds did it all on a Wednesday afternoon.

The same praise can be heaped on Joe Beimel and Matt Belisle. That's nothing new for them, though. That's why they have routiniely ranked in the top 5-6 when I do Rockies player rankings.

The Offense?

So many clutch hits.

Dexter Fowler's Little League home run... (Highlight)

Ryan Spilborghs' pinch-hit 2-run double... (Highlight)

Carlos Gonzalez ties the game... (Highlight)

Troy Tulowitzki with another game-winning RBI... (Highlight)

Todd Helton provides the insurance... (Highlight)

And how about CarGo's web gem to end it?  Solid.  (Highlight)

Amazing display by the Rockies. I definitely feel better about this team now than I did a week ago, but that's always the case when they're at home. I need to see this team win a road series before I get too excited about a playoff run.

Or a series win over the Dodgers would be a start as well.


Rockies get to spend the day with the family.


Ubaldo Jimenez vs Clayton Kershaw

I'll be back with you on Monday after a nice weekend away from the homestead.

Lineup Card: Rockies vs Braves

Rockies Lineup (55-50)

  1. 2B  Young
  2. CF  Fowler
  3. LF  Gonzalez
  4. SS  Tulowitzki
  5. 1B  Helton
  6. 3B  Stewart
  7. RF  Smith
  8. C    Iannetta
  9. P    Rogers
It's really nice to see Jim Tracy stick with a consistent lineup... but, umm, aren't we supposed to be guarding against Todd Helton wearing down?  

Probably not.  After all, he used Huston Street again for a three straight game.  I'm sure if the Rockies lead late again today we'll see him again.  Conventional wisdom be damned, one of these times Huston Street will fight through the fatigue and throw seven days in a row without losing effectiveness.  

Braves Lineup (73-53)
  1. 2B  Infante
  2. RF  Heyward
  3. 3B  Prado
  4. C   McCann
  5. 1B  Lee
  6. LF  Cabrera
  7. SS  Gonzalez
  8. CF Ankiel
  9. P    Jurrjens 

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Rock Solid Recap: Of Rock Solid Baseball

Isn't this the type of baseball we saw consistently from the Rockies (home or road) over the last four months of last season?

Why haven't we seen more of it in 2010?

Starting Pitching -- Check

Jorge De La Rosa strikes out seven over seven extremely efficient, often dominating innings.  That continued a very impressive string of very impressive starting pitching.

Defense -- Check

Four double plays.

Here's one started by Tulo... (Highlight) and another off the glove of DLR, right to Tulo... (Highlight).

The recap wouldn't be complete without something special from Todd Helton... (Highlight)

Going Yard -- Check

Carlos Gonzalez hits #26 (Highlight)

Seth Smith hits #15 (Highlight)

Timely Hitting/Insurance Runs -- Check

Dexter Fowler delivers in the 8th inning.  (Highlight)

That may have been Fowler's best looking swing of the season.  Bottle that one up and use it over and over.

Closer -- Check

Huston Street sets them down 1-2-3 for the third straight day. Now give him a day off before we enter another vicious cycle of fatigue and lost confidence.

I love these types of games. It makes writing a recap so much easier because I really don't have to write anything. Just pat a few guys on the seat, throw in some highlights, and talk about tomorrow's game.


Esmil Rogers vs Jair Jurrjens

A little day time action in Denver as the Rockies look for a sweep. It won't be easy against a tough tough customer in Jair Jurrgens. Really like his game and his arm. His numbers are a little off this season due to injury problems, but if he shows up on his game, Esmil Rogers will need to channel his inner Jhoulys Chacin (from Sunday) to keep the Rockies in the game.

I think that's exactly what we'll see. Another hard fought, low scoring affair.

Lineup Card: Rockies vs Braves

Note to Jim Tracy:  You're used Huston Street two days in a row (three of the last four), these are the days you may want to think twice before using him.

Remember: Mariano Rivera doesn't throw three days in a row... ever.  Huston Street already has three times in a shortened season.  It's factor, folks.  It's not all Huston Street when he struggles.

Rockies Lineup (64-60)
  1. 2B  Young
  2. CF  Fowler
  3. RF  Gonzalez
  4. SS  Tulowitzki
  5. 1B  Helton
  6. LF  Smith
  7. 3B  Stewart 
  8. C    Olivo
  9. P    De La Rosa
Braves Lineup (73-52)
  1. 2B  Infante
  2. RF  Heyward
  3. 3B  Prado
  4. 1B  Lee
  5. LF  Diaz
  6. SS  Gonzalez
  7. CF  Cabrera
  8. C    Ross
  9. P     Lowe

Monday, August 23, 2010

Rock Solid Recap: Helton Owns The Night

We've seen it a couple hundred times before, but that doesn't make it any less special (or thrilling) when Todd Helton takes over a baseball game and wills his Rockies to a hard fought victory.

The 8th inning AB was vintage Todd Helton. It's the type of AB every hitting coach dreams all of his hitters could pull off, but only a select few in the game have the patience and the ability to do.

Lefty reliever Jonny Venters (who made his ML debut during Ubaldo's no-hitter) threw everything he had at Todd (literally -- Helton was brushed back by a high-and-tight fastball that actually result in a foul ball), but Helton stood his ground and waited for the one pitch he could deliver.

Helton's Game-winning hit (Highlight)

Simple as that... for Todd that is.

By the way, Todd had three other hits in the game. Those three all came against Tim Hudson, whom he is now 9-for-13 against lifetime. Talk about a great hitter raising his game against a great pitcher.

Oh... and some defense from The Toddfather as well... (Seriously MLB.com, no highlight of that?)

Enjoy some Tulo (Highlight) and EY Jr. (Highlight) instead.

Jason Hammel

Another tough luck ND for Hammel. That's better than a tough loss, of course, but this guy deserves to have another 4-5 wins on his total.  Oh well, like I seem to say every time he throws, his teammates appreciate the quality work he's giving the team.  That's all that matters.  And the team W of course.

Huston Street

I'm ashamed of the people at Coors Field that booed this man. Come on people, he's not perfect, but there are only two closers (Brian Wilson & Heath Bell) in the NL that I would definitely rather have than Street. For the most part of save chances are spotless, especially when not pitching on fumes.

He's still the best option the Rockies have. And without him and Franklin Morales (seriously) holding down 9th innings last season, the Rockies don't make the playoffs. Credit has to go where it's due, Huston Street is solid in his role.

Note To Braves Fans

Stop whining about the CarGo call. Remember this? We're even now. Shut up and deal with it.


Jorge De La Rosa vs Derek Lowe

Let's see another well played baseball game with the timing hitting included. Those are my favorites.

Lineup Card: Rockies vs Braves

The retiring Bobby Cox makes his final trip to Colorado as manager of the Atlanta Braves.  I don't have his exact record (specifically at Coors Field/Mile High) against the Rockies at my disposal, but I would be left to guess it's a pretty dominating number for Bobby.

That history includes a Divisional playoff series back in 1995.  In that particular series, Cox managed several perfect circles around the overwhelmed and overmatched skipper at the time.  You know man well... he now poses as the overwhelmed and overmatched hitting coach of the Rockies.

Anyhoo...We got lineups.

Rockies Lineup (63-60)
  1. 2B  Young
  2. CF  Fowler
  3. LF  Gonzalez
  4. SS  Tulowitzki
  5. 1B  Helton
  6. RF  Smith
  7. 3B  Stewart
  8. C    Iannetta
  9. P    Hammel
Braves Lineup (73-51)
  1. 2B  Infante
  2. RF  Heyward
  3. 3B  Prado
  4. 1B  Lee
  5. C    McCann
  6. LF  Hinske
  7. SS  Gonzalez
  8. CF  Ankiel
  9. P     Hudson

Weekend In Review

In case you missed my Recaps over the weekend...

Friday -- Rock Solid Recrap: Stuck In Traffic

Saturday -- Rock Solid Recrap: Still Can't Count To 18

Sunday -- Rock Solid Recap: Meet Your New #2

Rock Solid Recap: Meet Your New #2

All due respect to Jason Hammel (whom I've admired and supported since his arrival to Denver last April), the Rockies number two in 2011 will be the young man you saw on the mound yesterday afternoon.

I haven't gone back to watch every pitch that was thrown by Jhoulys Chacin. I don't think I need to (though it might be fun to hear the commentaters describe the brilliance) to understand how good he was. The condensed version tells the story well enough.

The kid was dealing. The kid was missing bats. The kid was in control from pitch #1 to pitch #100. The kid put the baseball team on his back and carried them to victory.

I don't care what the standings say, to come through with that type of dominant outing as his team struggles to piece together anything resembling good baseball, speaks volumes to the ability and the mindset he has. Can't say enough about it.

Between Chacin and Esmil Rogers (very good on Friday), fans suddenly have two new legitimate reasons to watch Rockies games. Not that most of us need a reason to watch, but those who do should definitely be paying attention to these kids.

Huston Street


Oh, right, he's had more 1-2-3 saves in a Rockies uniform than anything close to a disaster. He's still by far the best option for the ninth inning, and I actually applaud and congratulate Jim Tracy for sticking with his guy in this spot. He'll be fine.

Just don't run him into the ground! Make him your main closer, but don't be afraid to go another direction when he's thrown 2-3 days in a row, or thrown a high of pitchers on a single day. Be smart about it.

Dexter Fowler

Is a really good outfielder. Almost too good for his own good.

Careful out there.

The Offense

Still blows. Move along.


Speaking of Jason Hammel, he'll be taking on Tim Hudson at Coors Field.  Could a 2-game winning streak be on the horizon?  Could the Rockies score more than 0 or 1?  So many questions, with so many likely depressing answers.

Come on back to Coors Field with us.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Rock Solid Recrap: Still Can't Count To 18

Listen, I know 17 is the most recognizable number in Rockies history. In a few years it'll be the first (hopefully only) number retired by the franchise. Still -- can we please do something, anything, to assist Ubaldo Jimenez in reaching his franchise record 18th victory?





Oh well, I'm happy Jim Tracy didn't completely overwork Ubaldo tonight. Really no point in wasting his arm on a lost season. I know the 18th win is signifcant, as would be #20, and possibly keeping him in the Cy Young race, but is all that truly worth it in the end?

Not to me.

I want team success over individual success every day of the week, so if the Rockies decided to shutdown Ubaldo tomorrow, or a week from now, mid-September, fine by me. 2011 is where the main focus needs to go.

Really nothing to add or analyze about this one. I hope to avoid repeating myself over and over again, although this team makes that extremely difficult based on them playing the same, tired, boring, lifeless games over and over again.

Well, I'll say this -- I can already see Jim Tracy has fallen in love with Matt Reynolds and will continue running him into the ground over the next 40 games until he's left as a pile of dust..

Jim, please, for the love of God, try to restrain yourself.


Is my fantasy football draft. That means no Rockies for me. I'm sure I'll watch the condensed game later in the day on MLB.TV.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Lineup Card: Rockies @ D-Backs

Franchise history?  Might be a good idea for Ubaldo to go the distance if he wants it.

Rockies Lineup (62-59)
  1. LF  Young
  2. CF  Fowler
  3. RF  Smith
  4. SS  Tulowitzki
  5. 3B  Stewart
  6. 1B  Helton
  7. C    Iannetta
  8. 2B  Herrera 
  9. P    Jimenez
Diamondbacks Lineups (48-75)
  1. SS  Drew
  2. RF  Upton
  3. 2B  Johnson
  4. CF  Young
  5. 1B   LaRoche
  6. 3B   Reynolds
  7. C    Montero
  8. LF  Parra
  9. P    Enright

Rock Solid Recrap: Stuck In Traffic

I assume everyone reading has a pretty firm handle on what happened.

The spotlight shines brightly on Huston Street, as it has far too many times in the last month. He's struggling, badly, not going to deny that one, folks, but it would be silly to sit here and write an entire column on that, when the problems run much deeper than that.

You may think the Rockies made strides offensively last night, but the fact is they still managed to make a pitcher look a lot better than he really is.

Ian Kennedy is not a #1 or #2 in any rotiation around the league. Maybe not even a #3 or #4. He only remains in that role because Brandon Webb is hurt, Dan Haren and Edwin Jackson were traded to shed salary, and Max Scherzer was traded because Josh Byrnes is an idiot.

Basically they have no choice but to label him ace...err workhorse... err whatever they really label him.

Kennedy did not bring an A game last night, even by his standards. A good offense puts an easy 7 or 8 on the board against him and puts him in the shower by the third inning. The opportunites were endless. The all important "traffic" was jammed inning after inning, yet the Rockies only scratched out three runs.

And then when the worst bullpen in baseball came in?  Nothing improved.  It actually regressed.

I know there are some people out there trying to reinvent baseball with overthought stats. Most of those people would like to completely ignore the RBI stat flat out. Fine, whatever, an RBI doesn't truly define a player's skill level. blah blah.


But it defines wins and losses.

Team wins and losses are the only stats that really matter. If not, then what the hell is anyone playing for?

People who find ways to drive in runs -- whether they be with home runs, singles, sac flys, walks, whatever -- make the money because scoring runs is what wins baseball games.

Does traffic increases your chance to score runs?

Again.. Duh.

But 100% of base runners (I don't count a HR as a base runner) have to be driven in. It's a part of the game. It will continue to a be part of the game. Attempt to devalue it all you want, but anyone who watches this baseball team day in and day out should know better than anyone that driving in a key run is often the difference between a win and a loss.

It freaking matters.


Ubaldo Jimenez 

Friday, August 20, 2010

Lineup Card: Rockies @ D-Backs

As Troy Renck points out on Twitter, an all homegrown lineup for the Rockies tonight. That's pretty impressive.

Rockies Lineup (62-58)
  1. LF  Young
  2. CF  Fowler
  3. RF  Smith
  4. SS  Tulowitzki
  5. 3B  Stewart
  6. 1B  Helton
  7. C    Iannetta
  8. 2B  Barmes
  9. P    Rogers
Birthday boy Todd Helton in there again tonight.  This will be Todd's 4th straight day in the lineup... so I guess we're not so concerned with keeping him fresh at this point.  

D-Backs Lineup (47-75)
  1. SS  Drew
  2. RF  Upton
  3. 2B  Johnson
  4. CF  Young
  5. 1B  LaRoche
  6. 3B  Reynolds
  7. C   Montero
  8. LF  Parra
  9. P    Kennedy
This continues to be a dangerous lineup.  Problem in Arizona remains the bullpen, and the starting pitching took a significant dip when they traded Dan Haren and Edwin Jackson.  

Rock Solid Recrap: West Coast Flop

It would only be human nature if Brad Hawpe sat at home with his wife and cracked a smile as Ryan Spilborghs dropped a flyball and the Rockies offense was shutout for the 4th time in six road games.

He probably didn't, but I know I would. I don't know if it would be out of joy, relief, or maybe a little of both, but to see this effort come right after my release would put a smile on my face. A big one.

Ted Lilly is a very good starting pitcher at the major league level. No one would argue that he is a strong #2 for a contending team, and could even serve as a #1 on some lower level squads. If he's your #3, you're golden.

He's made a lot of money. He's had his moments. He has his dominant outings, like the near no-hitter against the White Sox earlier in this season. I can't and won't take anything away from him.

He's just not Sandy Koufax, which is how the Rockies made him look tonight. You absolutely tip your cap to Lilly, but we're all smart enough to know what we witnessed tonight. It's the same garbage we've witnessed all season... and it's not acceptable.

The Rockies mounted exactly one meaningful threat. That came in the first inning. It died quickly. The Dodgers scored two on a Reed Johnson HR in the second. The Rockies offense then folded like an accordion. Lilly retired 19 or so in a row at one point, en route to a complete game, 2-hit shutout.

I wish I had an original thought to offer you on what I witnessed tonight. For more on Baylor I will defer you to David Martin of Rockies Review. Pay special attention to his description of Dexter Fowler's 9th inning at-bat. Possibly one of the worst at-bats of the entire season.

On the positive...

Jorge De La Rosa was really good tonight. His one mistake was a costly one, but he pitched out of a couple jams (one created by Spilly dropping the flyball) and made a really nice showing for himself.

As did the debuting Matt Reynolds. Two batters up, two batters down -- and in the process made a professional hitter, Casey Blake, look pretty silly. They say Reynolds is more than a lefty specialist. Whoever "they" are were made to look pretty smart on this evening.

Here's to a long, fruitful career for Matt Reynolds. Hopefully all or most of it with the Rockies.


Where next? Arizona? I'm the biggest Rockies fan there is, but it may take a little motivation to catch this game.

Esmil Rogers vs Ian Kennedy

Well, I suppose watching and making another assessment on Esmil Rogers will make it worth the while. Be back with another recap in 24 hours.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Lineup Card: Rockies @ Dodgers

You know what would be cool?

If they Rockies came out tonight, played nine innings of sharp, focused baseball, beat the Dodgers soundly, and finally won a damn road series.

Rockies Lineup (62-57)
  1. LF  Young
  2. CF  Fowler
  3. RF  Spilborghs
  4. SS  Tulowitzki
  5. 3B  Mora
  6. 1B  Helton
  7. C    Olivo
  8. 2B  Barmes
  9. P    De La Rosa
Never want to see a guy get banged up like CarGo last night (at least he's okay), but the day off (regardless of injury status) probably couldn't come at a better time.  That said, I'm never thrilled when EY is playing the outfield.  Just don't like the idea.  He seems to really be comfortable at 2B, I'd like him to stay there and know that's where he's playing.  

Dodgers Lineup (61-60)
  1. LF  Podsednik
  2. 2B  Theriot
  3. CF  Kemp
  4. 1B  Loney
  5. 3B  Blake
  6. RF  Johnson
  7. SS  Carroll
  8. C    Ausmus
  9. P    Lilly
For the third straight game, the Dodgers lineup actually gets worse. The Rockies have to win this game just for the sake of pride.  

Rock Solid Recap: One To Be Cherished

A road win.

A road win in Los Angeles.

A road, win, in Los Angeles, when the Rockies didn't even play a perfect game.

A sign of good things to come, or a sign of how far the Dodgers have fallen over the past six weeks? I'll allow you to make your own determinations.

All I know is a win is a win, and the Rockies don't get near enough of those under the circumstances which they played tonight.

This game featured a high level of wackiness. It wasn't pretty. In fact, there were some baseball coaches in Williamsport, PA preparing for a Little League tournament this weekend that made their kids turn off the television.

I'll shy away from focusing on that. Well, normally I wouldn't, but since we're pushing 2 AM here, and we're a little emotional over the release of Brad Hawpe, I'll just keep this short, sweet, and positive.

Jason Hammel -- Quality outing. Continues to do an amazing job of keeping his team in games, he just isn't getting wins to show for it. Oh well, his strong work is appreciated.

Huston Street -- Back on the horse with a save. Shaky? To a degree, but it's not like not the Dodgers killed him. The bloop single that nearly tied the game would have been an easy flyout 100 times out of 100 with Scott Podsednik batting, but the Rockies were in extreme no doubles mode, and the ball dropped.

Troy Tulowitzki saved the day -- Highlight

Carlos Gonzalez saved the day first -- Highlight

He should be fine in a couple days. Just a bruise.

Brad Hawpe -- Again, thanks for the contributions. Brad went out the way you'd expect him too, with a basehit.

Eric Young -- Web Gem.

Melvin Mora -- The rarely "pesky" Mora was quite the nuisance out there. Mora reached and scored the winning run without him or any other Rockie putting a baseball in play. He simply created a run with his legs. And was maybe slightly aided by Octavio Dotel's yips. Highlight

Tomorrow This Evening

Rockies will try to win a series in LA for the first time ever... or at least a really long time.

Jorge De La Rosa vs. Ted Lilly

Everybody get rested up and ready for some more late night action.

So Long To Brad Hawpe

Brad Hawpe has been officially released by the Colorado Rockies.

The saddest day for me as a Colorado Rockies fan was the day Dante Bichette was traded to Cincinnati for Stan Belinda and Jeffrey Hammonds in October 1999.

Dante was my guy. My favorite player. That guy whose at-bats I would study endlessly in hopes of extending my playing time in Little League and then high school.

His ABs weren't just ABs for me, they were events. It started with that electric Sledgehammer walk-up, the crowd would eat it up, and it usually ended with a clutch knock or at the very least a lengthy two strike battle that wore out an opposing pitcher.

Loved Dante ABs.

I'm sure Brad Hawpe had a similar impact on a number of young Rockies fans during his 6+ year stint with the big league squad. I sympathize with those fans and all the others feeling sadness over this development.

It's never fun when something like this happens, because we become quite attached to them as ballplayers, and more so them as people. it also means either the player has outgrown the Rockies, regressed, or the team has regressed to the point that it's necessary to reshuffle the deck. In this case it's actually a lot of the latter two. Regression on both sides.

Ultimately I love the Rockies more any one single player, so while this is a difficult pill to swallow, I view this as a positive. Hawpe's time here was complete one way or the other. This allows him to move on, make a fresh start, play the game he loves to play. This also allows the Rockies to move on and learn more about themselves and their future.

It's absolutely the right thing to do for all parties.

I send out my most appreciative thank you to Brad for his contributions to the Rockies dating back to 2004. He really peaked as a solid player in 2007, was a HUGE part of that run to the World Series, and always seemed to be a stand up guy and a willing and unselfish teammate.

A man's man. A winning type of athlete. A winning type of person, who has handled the situation with the utmost class and dignity. The Rockies have also handled their end of a difficult situation with class, and that makes me proud to be a fan of this organization.

All the best to Brad and his family as he begins the net phase of his career. I'm sure we'll be seeing him at Coors Field again sooner than later, one way or another.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Lineup Card: Rockies @ Dodgers

Apparently it's farewell to Brad Hawpe night in the Rockies clubhouse.  He's expected to be traded or released at some point in the next 12-24 hours.  More thoughts on that when it becomes official.

Rockies Lineup (61-57)
  1. 2B  Young
  2. CF  Fowler
  3. RF  Gonzalez
  4. SS  Tulowitzki
  5. LF  Smith
  6. 1B  Helton
  7. 3B  Stewart
  8. C    Olivo
  9. P     Hammel
The weeding out of Clint Barmes continues tonight.  No problem there.  EY needs to play as much as possible, and he needs to not play the OF.  This works.  This lineup makes the most sense for the Rockies (save Olivo) for the next 5-6 weeks.  Stick to it.  

Dodgers Lineup (61-59)
  1. CF  Podsednik
  2. 2B  Theriot
  3. RF  Ethier
  4. 1B  Loney
  5. 3B  Blake
  6. LF  Gibbons
  7. SS  Carroll
  8. C    Ellis
  9. P    Kuroda
My lord this lineup is somehow worse than their lineup last night.  Jay Gibbons, ladies and gentleman.  Jay freaking Gibbons.  

Rock Solid Recrap: Never Stray From The Script

Apparently that's what Jim Tracy writes on his precious white board every time the Rockies and Dodgers hook up, because the script never changes. Same crap, different day, series, season.

It almost makes me wonder if the teams really play 18 games, or if the networks continue airing canned footage of previous Rockies/Dodgers game. They all look the same.

Honest assessment of Jhoulys Chacin...

As I tweeted during the game, the only bridge left for Chacin to cross is the pitch efficiency/command one. It's a big one. It took Ubaldo a good two years of Major League experience to navigate it. Chacin and Ubaldo are very comparable in my opinion, so there's a lot of hope.

Also a lot of talent. His breaking ball was electric when he was commanding it.

But the bottom line is five walks are too many, and will kill you every time. Tonight was no different, though the Rockies didn't help Chacin out a whole lot with their...

1. Offense

Another brutal night at the plate, especially with RISP (0-for-10).

Holy hell that is awful.

2. Defensive Alignment

The Rockies over shifting and inexplicable defensive positioning is probably... no, not probably... is definitely the most frustrating factor in this team's impending demise. It's awful. Tonight was especially awful. The entire Dodgers five run 5th inning was aided by Rockies not being where they should be.

Troy Tulowitzki covered second base on a hit-and-run, which left his spot open. AJ Ellis hit the ball right where Tulo would have been. 1st-and-3rd, no outs. Problem.

Credit the Dodgers with getting a hit-and-run ball in play, no doubt, but also discredit the Rockies for having the SS moving when a RH batter was at the plate. That's completely ass backwards, and I don't care if you have some silly stat that says he hits the ball a certain way more often. Play it right.

Could have easily been a 6-4-3 even with the runner in motion.

A few batters later, Casey Blake shoots a ground ball to right side and into RF for an RBI single. For some reason, probably because a dumb stat told them so (or maybe for the daylight play), EY Jr. was positioned right by the 2B bag. Would have been an easy 4-3 if he's at home.

These aren't just my opinions. Dodgers legendary broadcaster Vin Scully spent a good three minutes in the next half inning looking back at the Rockies defense and even offered an opinion that the game would have remained scoreless had the Rockies not outsmarted themselves.

There's no higher authority in the game than Vin Scully. He's seen it all. If he's selling it, I'm buying it.

So that sucked. But not everything sucked.

Eric Young & Dexter Fowler

All kinds of love for these guys. They played like guys in a dogfight to keep their team's playoff chances above water. They played like men determined to prove they belong in the big leagues. They played like winners.

Those attributes don't always stand out, mainly because they shouldn't have to stand out, but since they're the only two guys in a Rockies uniform that played this way, it stands out.

If Jim Tracy has any balls or brains, he will reward these two young men for their effort tonight. He will reward them by penciling their name in the lineup every damn day from now until the end of the season. Why not? This team needs fight and energy. Those are your guys right there.


Anyone care? I feel obligated to at least give you the pitching match up.

Jason Hammel vs Hiroki Kuroda

Let's play a new game. Guess the opposing starting pitcher's final line. I'll start.

Kuroda -- 6 1/3 IP, 4 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 8 K

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Lineup Card: Rockies @ Dodgers

Do two quandaries...

  1. Rockies stink on the road.
  2. Rockies stink against the Dodgers all the time.  
breed a solution?

I guess we'll find out this week.

Pregame notes -- Kyle Parker roundup.

Rockies Lineup (61-56)
  1. 2B  Young
  2. CF  Fowler
  3. RF  Gonzalez
  4. SS  Tulowitzki
  5. 3B  Mora
  6. 1B  Helton
  7. LF  Spilborghs
  8. C    Iannetta
  9. P    Chacin
Tracy Ringolsby broke the correct news that was Taylor Buchholz was placed on the DL to make room for Chacin's return.  Renck was left guessing and prematurely tweeted it was Dexter Fowler getting the boot.  Still not sure if he's completely aware of the situation.

That it why I support and trust Ringolsby.  He absolutely owned this story and is much more concerned about being right than being first.  

Dodgers Lineup (60-59)
  1. LF  Podsednik
  2. 2B  Theriot
  3. RF  Ethier
  4. 1B  Loney
  5. 3B  Blake
  6. CF  Kemp
  7. SS  Carroll
  8. C    Ellis
  9. P    Kershaw
Worst Dodgers lineup I've seen in five years.  Easily.  

A Kyle Parker Roundup

Excellent signing at the discounted price.  That he's going back to school to play football makes me wonder a little bit about his passion for baseball, but there's no doubt the talent is there and it's probably worth the wait assuming he gets through football in one piece.

Big if.

Which is why the Rockies and the Parker family have an insurance policy in place.  

Smart thinking all the way around.

And now, with Parker (Clemson) and 2nd rounder Russell Wilson (NC State) officially in the fold, Rockies fans will soon become ACC football experts.  Those conference rivals will meet November 6th at Clemson.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Rock Solid Recap: Never A Boring Day At 20th & Blake

There's a whole mess of emotions to sort through today.

The Rockies won by the way.

In a lot of ways it feels like the worst loss of the season.

But they didn't lose. Thankfully.

Ubaldo Jimenez

Is a big reason they didn't lose today, and is the only reason we're having fantasies about another miracle run.

He started slow, but finished like a horse, a stud, an ace, a beast. The strides this man continues to make as a big league all-star are just incredible. To not have your best stuff early, but to rebound, to find your groove, to give your team eight strong innings when it looked like six might be pushing it. You thank your lucky stars you have a guy that special on your team.

It's unfortunate he didn't get his much deserved franchise record-breaking win today. This is the second straight start he should have had it, but it just goes to show why the 20 win and 300 win plateau is so special. It's hard to win games in MLB.

Huston Street

I can't put a whole lot of blame on the guy. I just can't. Or maybe I should because he never tells his manager he's not available today, because his manager is too GD clueless to understand the limitations of his closer.

Stop using Huston for two innings. He can't handle it.

Stop using Huston for three days straight. He can't handle it. Not many relievers can. Mariano Rivera can't, that's why Joe Girardi hasn't used him for three days straight all season. And Mariano is the G.O.A.T.

Get a clue, Tracy. Get a freaking clue.

Clint Barmes

I'm honestly not that upset with Clint for making a physical error. That happens. It happens to everyone. Sometimes it just happens at the worst possible time, which is exactly what that was.

I'm much more annoyed with his useless plate appearances of late. His and Miguel Olivo's, who would be named the worst player on the field in today's game if that award existed and I was in charge of naming him.

Rockies fans are now begging for the old Miguel Olivo to return. Honestly folks, this is the old and real Miguel Olivo we're seeing right now. This is the guy that doesn't last on a squad more than two years. We want the mirage version of Miguel Olivo, not the old one.

Time for another commitment to Chris Iannetta.

Eric Young

Shouldn't be used in the OF unless it's absolutely necessary. When the Rockies have all five of their regular OFers healthy, it's not necessary. More cluelessness from the skipper.

Troy Tulowitzki

Continues to hold the team together with his clutchness. Seriously. If the Rockies hadn't won Friday and today, this situation would be declared a national disaster. Tulo won't allow that to happen.


Another of those well timed days off.

Back in action Tuesday in LA. As all over the place as it has been for the Rockies lately, it's actually 10 times worse in LA. Amazing. Very winnable road series if this team had any confidence playing on the road, which they apparently don't.

Lineup Card: Rockies vs Brewers

Well, today could be the day Ubaldo Jimenez makes franchise history with his 18th victory.  

In could also be the day that pushes Rockies management to pulling the plug on the 2010 season.

I say that because some tough decisions might need to be made before the August 31st waiver trade deadline, and a day off like tomorrow could be the day the Rockies front office gathers to make some of those decisions.  That's usually what off days are for.

Keep that in mind as you watch (or listen) today.

Rockies Lineup (60-56)
  1. LF  Young
  2. RF  Spilborghs
  3. CF  Gonzalez
  4. SS  Tulowitzki
  5. 1B  Mora
  6. 3B  Stewart
  7. C    Olivo
  8. 2B  Barmes
  9. P    Jimenez
Brewers Lineup (55-63)
  1. 2B  Weeks
  2. RF  Hart
  3. LF  Braun
  4. 1B  Fielder
  5. 3B  McGehee
  6. CF  Dickerson
  7. SS  Escobar
  8. C    Kottaras
  9. P     Parra

Table Scraps: Eric Young, Esmil Rogers and more

Some leftover thoughts I couldn't squeeze into last night's Rock Solid Recrap.

2nd Base Situation

I've always been in the Clint Barmes camp because of his defense and occasional (often well-timed) extra base hits.

That's changing now. That's changing because the offense around Clint Barmes is changing. Helton's power is down. Ian Stewart has been inconsistent. Brad Hawpe is all over the place. The offense just isn't as stable as it needs to be. so what Clint Barmes typically provides isn't good enough.

The defense always will be good enough, but the way the offensive is evolving leaves the Rockies in a spot where they can't afford an offensive player that struggles to reach base and struggles worse making productive outs.

That's where guys like Eric Young and Jonathan Herrera come in. They may be a step down defensively (Herrera isn't really much, but Young is), but their ability to be a pain in the ass creates run scoring opportunities this team can't manufacture right now.

Again, I like Clint Barmes. He's not the only problem here, but his value compared to his salary doesn't measure out well, and the options behind him are exactly what the team needs.

Esmil Rogers

There's a lot to work with (and like) here because his stuff is excellent and his composure/attitude is even a level above that. Don't get too caught in the numbers, just be happy with 5 2/3 innings of baseball that gave his team a chance to win. And then be excited that with a little more development, this kid will be a solid fixture in the rotation end of next year or early 2012.

Bob Uecker

I muted the TV and tuned in Uecker again last night. He spent a good half inning indirectly lecturing Jon Miller on how Coors Field is fair to both sides.

To paraphrase the Ueck.

"Sure a home run here might not be a home run somewhere else, but it's a home run for both sides here."

It kind of nauseates me that a true professional and truly brilliant broadcaster/journalist/entertainer like Uecker has to share a wing in the Hall of Fame with a whiner like Jon Miller.

Mike McClendon

The 25-year old right-hander made his Major League debut and did so by throwing three perfect innings. Not bad at all.

Of course the Rockies have been awfully generous to unproven (or flat out bad) pitchers in 2010, but in this case you definitely tip your cap to the young man stepping on a big league field for the first time and being dominant. Congrats to him.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Rock Solid Recrap: Dumb & Dumberer

I couldn't tell which team was which there for a couple innings. I just knew there was a 10 inning baseball game littered with really dumb baseball.

The Brewers are Colorado lite in 2010. Much more talented than their record would indicate, though not as talented as the Rockies. Very sloppy, especially on the base paths and while executing simple things like an intentional walk. And they have some ugly ABs in run scoring situations.

It all looks and sounds very familiar.

And these are your two NL Wild Card teams in the last three seasons. Go senior circuit!

I took a lot of crap from people last year when I would criticize Troy Tulowitzki's base running. Sorry folks. It pretty much is what it is. He's aggressive, yes, but aggressive and smart aren't exactly a happily married couple. They don't hang out very often. And Troy didn't do his part in uniting them this evening.


Jim Tracy completely lost touch with me from the bottom of the 9th on. I couldn't get a good handle on anything he was trying to accomplish.

The 9th inning bunt to move the winning run into scoring position isn't always the worst idea, but I always prefer allowing a clutch run producer like Ryan Spilborghs a chance to be a clutch run producer.

I mean why not? You know 100% of the time once you give away that out the opponent will walk the next guy to set up the DP. You're really not gaining anything. The 90 feet are always nice, but you need 270 there. It still takes a hit to get the job done. And you have one less chance to get that hit, while increasing you chance of one ball in play ending your inning.

Bunt with EY or Fowler or Barmes there. Not Spilly.

Huston Street for more than one inning should never happen unless it's an emergency. He's never been a multiple inning reliever. He's a closer by trade. Closers are pretty much conditioned to put everything they have into their one inning. It was playing with fire, and the fire scorched this time around.

Another baffling thing to me in the bottom of the 10th. Why pinch-hit Smith for Fowler at the top? Why not let the LEAD-OFF freaking hitter (98% of the time) hit lead-off in a one run game. Or do you really not believe in him as a lead-off man?

Maybe you don't, because he was out of that spot in the lineup the minute EY returned. I'm not saying I'm against that, and if that is the case, fine. Then this makes more sense, but not still not a whole lot of sense. I'd like my speed guy at the time hopefully reaching base and creating havoc. Take your big swings with Smith and Giambi to possibly win the game or tie with a gapper.

But what the hell do I know?


Ubaldo Jimenez makes another start after a Rockies loss. He doesn't seem to mind the pressure, which is good, but it'd sure be nice to be looking to extent a winning streak at some point on his turn.

Manny Parra will throw for the Brewers. I'm definitely worried he'll turn in one of those better than usual outings tomorrow. His wacky wildness is a lot like Jonathan Sanchez, who flat owned the Rockies at Coors Field a couple weeks ago.

I will also have more thoughts on tonight's game in a Table Scraps post in the AM. Including some thoughts on Esmil Rogers, Eric Young and more Bob Uecker. Look for that.

Lineup Card: Rockies vs Brewers

Last night's recap... (here)

Thoughts on Jeff Francis... (here)

Watched a little bit of Dante Bichette Jr. in the Under Armour All-American Game today at Wrigley Field.  Strong kid.  He has committed to Georgia, but I think we'll be hearing a lot about him making a decision between college and MLB next summer.

Wouldn't be a bit surprised to see him knocking on the doors of MLB in the next 3-4 years.

Rockies Lineup (60-55)
  1. 2B  Young
  2. 1B  Helton
  3. LF  Gonzalez
  4. SS  Tulowitzki
  5. RF  Spilborghs
  6. 3B  Stewart
  7. C    Iannetta
  8. CF  Fowler
  9. P     Rogers
Fowler hitting 8th against the left-hander?  Alright.  I think I would have eased Young back into the lineup by hitting him 8th, but whatever Jim Tracy thinks.  Hopefully he's smarter than I am this evening.

Brewers Lineup (54-63)
  1. 2B  Weeks
  2. RF  Hart
  3. LF  Braun
  4. 1B  Fielder
  5. 3B  McGehee
  6. CF  Dickerson
  7. SS  Escobar
  8. C    Lucroy
  9. P    Narveson

Jeff Francis Back To DL

Tough news with Jeff Francis headed to the DL today with shoulder soreness. He was actually pitching well again lately, but I was noticing a pattern developing of him wearing down after 4-5 starts.

He started the season building his strength and pitching well, then dropped off the earth. Rejuvenated himself over the all-star, hit another good patch, but was again on a path of wearing down.

Probably would be a wise idea to shut Francis down for the season (might be necessary regardless) and allow him to get a head start on rest, and then shoulder strengthening, and then prep for the 2011 season.

Would also be wise to never expect Francis to be a 25+ start a year type of guy again in his career. If Jeff also senses that possibility it could allow the Rockies to get him back at a reduced, low-risk salary for the 2011. If not, as tough as it is, Rockies may have to look to move on here.

This news does take a little pressure off of Esmil Rogers tonight. His spot in the rotation seems to be safe until the Rockies figure out what exactly they want to do with Aaron Cook.

Somewhat Solid Recap

So basically we know who the Rockies are and how they'll make us feel.

At home: They will make us fall in love with them and baseball over and over again.

On the road: They will frustrate us to no end.

They are your ex-boyfriend/girlfriend you wish you could get over, because you know 55/45 isn't good enough, but the good is so damn good you can't help but wait for the bad to fade away. Only problem is you keep waiting...

... and waiting.

So yeah. Tonight was good. Real good. And I really appreciate the birthday present from Troy Tulowitzki. Very thoughtful. (Highlight)

PS: Dexter Fowler would have had that.

Tonight's recap is only somewhat solid because I only saw a handful of outs (via MLB Network). I did, however, listen to a significant portion of Bob Uecker's broadcast on Brewers radio during a birthday gathering.

Uecker was absolutely fantastic on his call, as usual. Told some fun stories about playing in Denver as a minor leaguer back in the 60s, how much the city has changed over the years, and also touched on the insane bus rides those guys had to take from Denver to Kansas and all over the midwest. Good stuff.

I wish Bob was calling Rockies games.

No... I take that back. I wish Bob called every game in baseball on the radio side and Vin Scully handled the TV side.

Something that also stood out during the radio broadcast was how vocal, supportive, and downright awesome the crowd was. It's obvious that the core of the fan base still has a great deal of faith in the team. Nothing wrong with that. And even if you don't have faith in a comeback, still nothing better than being at the ballpark when your club wins in dramatic fashion.

That adrenaline rush makes everything in life feel possible.

My only two problems with the crowd.


If you can't have fun at the park without the wave, the ballpark ain't the place for you. Go away.

@PostBroncos The fans in my section at Coors Field just turned the "Tulo" chant into a "Tebow" chant.
Can we at least hold off on the Tebow stuff until he proves himself to be anything more than a system QB in college? Please?

Just had to get those off my chest.

All in all though a great crowd, a fun win, and a great night had by all.


More Rockies and Brewers from Coors Field.

Looking forward to seeing how Esmil Rogers fares at home against a top notch offense. His spot in the rotation is pretty clearly on the line here as Jhoulys Chacin is ticketed for the big leagues in the next week or so.

The opposition will be Chris Narveson. The Rockies once acquired Narveson in the Larry Walker deal. He was then moved with Charles Johnson to Boston for Byung-Hyun Kim.

He's not having a very good season, which I guess should scare me going in to tomorrow's game, but it really doesn't. I'm guaranteeing tacos and even feeling pretty good about double digits.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Lineup Card: Rockies vs Brewers

Should be a fun night tonight at Coors Field regardless of how well or poorly the Rockies play.

It's Mustache Night.

The visuals that should provide could indeed be priceless... and timeless.

Rockies Lineup (59-55)
  1. LF  Smith
  2. 1B  Helton
  3. CF  Gonzalez
  4. SS  Tulowitzki
  5. RF  Hawpe
  6. 3B  Stewart
  7. C    Olivo
  8. 2B   Barmes
  9. P     De La Rosa
Brewers Lineup (54-62)
  1. 2B  Weeks
  2. RF  Hart
  3. 1B  Fielder
  4. LF  Braun
  5. 3B  McGehee
  6. CF  Cain
  7. SS  Escobar
  8. C    Lucroy
  9. P    Gallardo
Lucroy was a pain in the ass last night the Brewers visited.  And how about Casey McGehee?  He enters the game with a hit in his last 9 at-bats.  Hopefully that means he's ready to cool way off.  

Jim Tracy Should Read This

This being the tweet posted directly below. Everything that follows is just me rambling again.
@closernews Mariano Rivera was unavailable after pitching in the last two and in four of the last five. David Robertson gets one out and the save.
Mariano Rivera has yet to throw on three consecutive days this season.

Yes, even the great Mariano Rivera needs days off, and Joe Girardi gives them to him.

I'm sure Joe is reluctant to do so, because that Yankees bullpen is far from deep or stable even Kerry Wood added to the mix.  Yet Girardi always sticks to his guns and leaves Rivera seated on the third day.

Of course that philosophy could change at some point in September if for some reason the Yankees are in a desperate situation (I don't see that happening), but even then, having refrained from doing earlier in the season should have Rivera as close to full strength as a pitcher can be that time of year.


Who remembers the last time Milwaukee came to town? Remember what happened with Manny Corpas (closer at the time) when Jim Tracy ran him out there four days (not games - days) in a row and all three games in the Milwaukee series?

The first two were scoreless innings. Game 3 was a near disaster. Game 4 was a complete disaster.

Manny went on to be awful for about three weeks straight.

Huston Street was successful over a four day period back in July, allowing only one run while collecting a win and three saves. However, the last time Huston was asked to go three in row, the third day resulted in possibly the most devastating loss of the season... in Pittsburgh.

Just saying.

Also just saying... Last season when Tracy ridiculously used Street four days in a row -- seven of out nine overall -- in late August, Street disappeared for three weeks in September with biceps soreness.

Street would return but struggle mightily in the NLDS. He then started this season with shoulder soreness and missed three months.

The only exception to the rule so far is Matt Belisle. He has been pushed the limit on several occasions this season, but amazingly hasn't lost his effectiveness or feeling in his arm.

Knock on wood.

Bottom line...

To me this is bigger than a win or loss issue (which is big enough on its own), it's really a common sense issue. You can't keep running guys into the ground, even if they say they can handle the load, when the risks and affects -- short-term and long-term -- are plainly obvious.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Rock Solid Recrap: Lethargic State Of Mind

I was hoping for something a little closer to urgent... or conscious.

I try to avoid placing extra emphasis on any single game at this point of the season, but I really thought today's game presented a golden opportunity to turn a corner on the road, steal a win, a series, establish some confidence.

Perhaps even lay a foundation to build off of the next time they leave Coors Field.

Those things didn't happen.

I'm really disappointed by that. Not just the result, but the entire nine inning package. It just wasn't good enough.

Yes, I get that Johan Santana was on his game today. I don't mean to take any credit away from him. But pardon me if I don't question a little bit if the Rockies inconsistent and too often lifeless offense had more to do with it than Santana. He may have just been in the right place at the right time.

Yes, I understand the Rockies battled hard last night to come back and win. That was great. I really appreciated and admired that effort. My recap should have driven that point home.

It's just... this team has put itself in a position where they have to battle everyday. Winning every other day in Pittsburgh and New York wouldn't be good enough under any circumstances. It's especially not good enough now, when every loss makes reaching your goals and potential more and more unlikely.

I'm not pulling the plug on this team. I'm just continually frustrated by what I perceive as a lack of urgency. That a switch can be flipped on and everything will be okay. That's my perception of this team's attitude. Wrong or right as it may be, that's where I stand.

These Rockies are absolutely talented enough to win a ton of games in a row, but it makes me extremely uncomfortable how comfortable they are allowing it to get to that point.

Hat tip

Jason Hammel started slow (2 in the 1st) and finished tired (2 in the 7th), but everything in between was really good. So I guess that qualifies Hammel as the Rockies player of the game.


Don't you wish Don Baylor was K-Rod's father-in-law? Just wondering.


Is Friday the 13th... Mustache Night at Coors Field... and my birthday. I'm equally excited about all three.

Oh... and there will be a baseball game as well. Jorge De La Rosa vs Yovani Gallardo.

That's a really tasty matchup if you love good pitching.

Lineup Card: Rockies @ Mets

If there was ever a perfect day to steal a road win, a road series win, and a winning road trip, today would be the day.  

The Mets are a complete mess.  David Wright is a bigger mess (and out of the lineup). Their bullpen imploded last night.  Their manager is under fire.  Their closer was arrested for decking his father-in-law in the clubhouse after the game.  


Good day for the Rockies to go about their business. play a solid game, and fly home feeling good.  

Rockies Lineup (59-54)
  1. CF  Fowler
  2. RF  Spilborghs
  3. LF  Gonzalez
  4. SS  Tulowitzki
  5. 1B  Mora
  6. C    Olivo
  7. 3B  Stewart
  8. 2B  Barmes
  9. P    Hammel
Mets Lineup (56-57)
  1. SS  Reyes
  2. RF  Martinez
  3. LF  Pagan
  4. 1B  Davis
  5. CF  Beltran
  6. 3B  Hessman
  7. C   Thole
  8. 2B  Tejada
  9. P    Santana

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Rock Solid Recap: Survival Instincts Kick In

For the first six innings I thought I would be writing the exact same recap I wrote last night, only fill in Jeff Francis' name where Ubaldo's was, because truth be told, the Rockies looked like a dead ass offensive team for that period of time.

Thankfully it never came to that. Now I can provide you with completely fresh nonsense insight and wisdom.

The Rockies were a different team when they came to bat in the 7th. Or maybe Jon Niese just hit a wall. Whatever the case, the Rockies looked liked a team that realized this particular game was pretty significant.

The 7th started with singles by Troy Tulowitzki and Melvin Mora. Spilborghs moved the runners to 2nd & 3rd with a chopper to David Wright. Chris Iannetta followed with one of the key ABs of the game. It was a 9-pitch AB that began 0-2, was eventually worked to 3-2 after spoiling some tough pitches, and concluded with a sac fly to dead CF.

Great AB. That would be all the Rockies would get that frame, but it was something.  All this team needed at that point was something, anything to build on.

The 8th began with a Seth Smith strikeout and a solid Dexter Fowler AB where he just missed a double, but eventually grounded out.

Survival Mode: On

And these are the guys you're paying to do exactly what they do right here.
  • Todd Helton: 2-out, 2-strike single to right. That's why he's Todd Helton.
  • Carlos Gonzalez: Now here's the AB I really thought was exceptional. Gonzalez -- who rarely walks, has a tendency to press at times in these spots -- works a walk. Very solid approach.
  • Troy Tulowitzki: After a wild pitch is intentionally walked. Respect.
Melvin Mora

Wins you a baseball game with one swing. (Highlight)

I wish the highlight showed the entire AB, because that's how a professional hitter handles his business. He just wanted to extend the AB long enough to get that one pitch he could drive. There was no guarantee he would do anything with the pitch if he got it, but the key was to stay alive to get a pitch where he wanted it.

He got it.

He didn't miss it.

A walk and two singles later, the Rockies would have a 5 run inning and would ride Betancourt and Street to the 6-2 victory.

Matt Belisle got a well deserved victory after striking out the side in the 7th. Jeff Francis deserved his name in the win column as well, but you know what? Who cares, as long as it's a Rockies name in the W column. We all know Jeff did his job.


Jason Hammel vs. Johan Santana

I think we can look forward to some more Melvin Mora ABs and an appearance by Jason Giambi.

Also... Hammel needs to be good here.  Really good.