Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Lineup Card -- Rockies @ Padres

Rockies Lineup (40-36)

  • CF Fowler
  • 2B Herrera
  • RF Gonzalez
  • LF Spilborghs
  • 1B Mora
  • C  Olivo
  • 2B Barmes
  • 3B Stewart
  • P   Hammel
Chris Nelson was the one sent down for Fowler.  That leaves the Rockies with no true backup middle-infielder, which I guess this means they trust Herrera to play shortstop when Barmes needs a day.  I still don't trust Mora to play second though.  Very odd roster move.

Padres Lineup (45-31)
  • CF Gwynn
  • 2B Eckstein
  • 1B Gonzalez
  • LF S. Hairston
  • 3B Headley
  • C   Torrealba
  • RF J. Hairston
  • SS Caberea
  • P   LeBlanc

Rockies Thoughts: Fowler, Hawpe, Helton, Mora

As I mentioned in my Rock Solid Recap of last night's win over San Diego, anytime you hear Todd Helton, back, and spasms in the same sentence, there's reason for concern.

Great reason.

For great concern.

I also tweeted during last night's game that if Helton's back was flaring up again, and if Brad Hawpe's ribs were sore enough to keep him out of the outfield, but well enough to let him swing, then maybe we could see Hawpe manning first base one of these days.

And then after the game came word that Colorado was recalling OF Dexter Fowler for Tuesday's game.


Until we see a corresponding move it'll be difficult to assertain what this means, but I do know Fowler was scratched from the Sky Sox game before it started, which would lead me to believe his call up is more a reaction to Helton's leaving BP than anything else.

Maybe it signals that the Rockies know Helton needs more rest, maybe even needs a week or two away from the field, which could finally open up some 1B time for Hawpe.

The Rockies have been doing okay with a four outfielder rotation, with Melvin Mora kinda playing that 5th outfielder/Mr. Everything role.  If you think you might be taking Hawpe away from that rotation temporarily, or even longer, then it makes perfect sense to put Fowler in his place.

It could just be the Rockies rewarding Fowler for his excellent play down there, but I tend to think there's something more involved than that.  The Rockies don't often make moves based on player needs  Everything is about making the team better.

It's also interesting because Helton sitting out opens up that two slot in the order, which is where the Rockies like Fowler to hit.

Like I said, it's hard to say what this means.  I hate speculating on things I have little to no knowledge of, but sometimes things add up and need to be at least pointed out.

Oher Thoughts/Links

-- In somewhat related news, Fangraphs is in full support of Hawpe moving to first base for Colorado.

They also see the Rockies as buyers in this year's trading market, and suggest Clint Barmes become the Rockies utility man after they acquire Dan Uggla.  I guess they aren't sold on Jonathan Herrera... or haven't seen Herrera play.

Remember, stat people don't typically watch games, they just play with numbers.

Personally I'm content with allowing Herrera to play 2B most every day and hit lead-off.  He's providing a spark there the Rockies have lacked, plus Uggla's ugly defense and strikeout totals don't lead me to believe he'd be worth trading a significant prospect for.

-- Credit Melvin Mora for stepping in last night at the last minute and playing a terrific game.  It may seem like no big deal, but trust me, there's a lot of mental prepartion and other factors involved in the role he was pushed into last night.

Playing first base is still kind of foregin to him.  I don't think he's hit second a whole lot in recent years.  And instead of looking at scouting reports of potential bullpen pitchers he'd face later in the game, he had to quickly make sure he was prepared to face Kevin Correia.

It was a challenging experience I'm sure, but he just went out there and proved his worth as a solid veteran with one goal in mind at this stage of his career.


Rock Solid Recap: It's A Win!

Rockies 10, Padres 6

The Rockie bats kept Taco Bell in business.

The Rockies arms went a long way towards keeping pepto bismol in business.

There are just some things in life that should never happen.

One of those things would be a game Ubaldo Jimenez is leading 8-0 (with a no-httier going) in the 6th inning turning into barnburner.

That's exactly what happened tonight. Scott Hairston, the undisputed champion of all Rockies killers, who hit a 3-run HR the inning before, was literally a foot away from a second 3-run HR. That one would have tied the game.

Not only would it have tied the game, but it would have crushed the spirit of Rockies fans and very likely a lot of Rockies players.

But it didn't go out. It's a win. Style points be damned, it's still a win.

It's a win because for the second consecutive Jimenez start, the offense gave him the support he needed... plus a little more.

Four HRs in Petco Park (CarGo, Olivo, Spilly and Mr. Late Night in the 9th). I'm too lazy/tired to look this up but I suspect not many visiting teams have hit four HRs there in a series... let alone a single game. Not this season... not any season in Petco.

That's some impressive thump for a team so often lacking the firepower.  Makes you wonder what could be if there was ever consistency.

Ubaldo Jimenez

I'm not excited that Jimenez allowed some hits and some runs in that sixth inning tonight, but it does make it easier to mention his command was kinda all over the place. The Padres impatience certainly assisted in Ubaldo completing five no-hit innings, but once they adjusted they started laying off the junk and squaring up the fastball pretty well.

It happens to the best of them. You miss location, you get hit. Jimenez just needs to clean a couple things up in his mechanics.

 Mitch Williams on MLB Network was consistently pointing out the difference in Ubaldo's front foot landing from previous starts. The front side was opening a lot more than we're used to from.  That likely led to the decrease in velocity and often inconsistent command.  I personally wonder if the shape of the mound is what led to that different delivery.

Aside from the command, he and Olivo missed connections a couple times. I don't want to call it sloppy, but there were elements that weren't smooth. So you see, even the guy most are calling the best pitcher in baseball still needs to work on his game. That's why this game is so impossibly difficult to master. That's why failing 70% of the time is acceptable for any hitter.

In addition to Jimenez, I think the entire staff needs to work on pitch efficiency. Too many walks are taking place that are leading to too many extra pitches being thrown, which is leading to a lot of tired looking pitchers before July. That's a concern.

Another concern would be Todd Helton's back flaring up on him in BP tonight. He was scratched from the lineup and early indications are day-to-day. That said, any time I read Todd Helton, back, and spasms in the same tweet, I brace for the worst.

In other late breaking news... it appears Dexter Fowler will be getting the recall to the big leagues. Much deserved for him. I don't know what this possibly indicates from a Rockies rosters standpoint, but I would assume it's health related to Helton, Hawpe, or both.

Healthy bodies are few and far between.

Well this concludes another exhausting day of Rockies baseball. Like I've said a couple times... it wasn't pretty, but it's a win. Now you just close your eyes, get some sleep, and wake up hoping today is the day everything clicks at once.