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)