Monday, February 28, 2011

Spring Training Game 2: Hits, Misses & Foul Tips

Rockies 6, Diamondbacks 5 (boxscore)


Table setters

Dexter Fowler and Jonathan Herrera got the Rockies offense off on the right foot Monday. Fowler opened the game with a single, stole second (though it took a poor throw that allowed him to advance to third), and scored a wild pitch. Herrera immediately followed with a triple and scored on a Charlie Blackmon groundout.

Consistent production from these guys (or at least these spots in the order) would be a huge boost to the Rockies offense. It's something they haven't really had since late in the 2007 season.

By the way, Willy Taveras and Hernan Iribarren continued the production at the top in the later innings. In total the Rockies 1-2 hitters were 4-for-9 with a BB, 4 SB, 4 R, and 1 RBI. That's more than good enough.

Jhoulys Chacin/Esmil Rogers

Two very smooth and very clean innings for the 23-year-old Chacin. His only base runner (Justin Upton) reached on a Tulowitzki error, but Chacin quickly picked him off. Good start.

Esmil Rogers followed with two shutout innings of his own. His only base rummer (Justin Upton) singled hard to right field but was left stranded right there.

Tim Wheeler

We'll give the Rockies prospect a head nod for delivering a sacrifice fly in the 7th inning.


Troy Tulowitzki

0-for-3 at the plate! Left the bases loaded in the 5th! He made an error! I bet he's gets tomorrow off!

Eric Stults

Stults falls to the back of the line in the competition for a roster that spot likely isn't available unless Colorado suffers a couple injuries. He allowed three earned runs on five hits in his two innings, including a solo HR to Collin Cowgill (great spring name). Stults also committed a throwing error on a pickoff attempt. We'll note the three strikeouts to conclude this otherwise ugly paragraph with a positive spin.

Foul Tips

Huston Street

Not exactly a smooth outing for the Rockies closer. He allowed a single to Arizona's first baseman Brandon Allen. Allen would go on to steal second, advance to third on a wild pitch, and score on a Gerardo Parra groundout. Obviously not concerned about allowing the hit, but I'm sure he heard from Bob Apodaca about controlling the running game.

Very minor issue. It gives me something to write about to knock off the rust.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Spring Training Game 1: Hits, Misses & Foul Tips

Rockies 8, Diamondbacks 7 (boxscore)


Salt River Fields

I don't think I need to add anything to what you've already seen or heard. It's a magnificent facility/complex. I mean for crying out loud they have a field just for bunting drills. I'm going to think about that field every time I see a failed bunt attempt during the regular season No excuse for that anymore... not that there ever was a good excuse before.

Rockies bunting

Willy Taveras executed the Rockies lone bunt attempt today. The ball was thrown away down the left field line as Arizona catcher John Hester tried to pick off the lead runner. The Rockies ended up plating four runs in that inning.

Moral: Big innings await you when you execute the little things.

Ubaldo Jimenez

Pitching was fine. Even better was the sight of him signing a ton of autographs after his TV interview. Classy young man.

Jordan Pacheco/Charlie Blackmon

Pacheco had a solid single back through the box in his lone AB. Blackmon ended up playing the role of hero with his HR in the 10th. We're going to hear a lot more from these young men before the spring is over. Very impressive.

Mike Jacobs

He's a strong dude. I'll put the over/under on his home run total at Colorado Springs at 35. Of course that's assuming that's where he ends up.

Cole Garner/Jonathan Herrera

Good days at the plate, and teamed up for a really nice 7-4 putout at second when Tony Abreu tried stretching a single to a double.

Anti-wave commercial

So much win! Actually all of the commercials were full of win. Once again a great job by everyone involved in that process.


Ian Stewart

Rough afternoon for the Rockies starting 3B. It'll mostly be remembered for his first inning collision with Carlos Gonzalez on a pop foul a little ways down the line. That was definitely a scary moment that saw his knee just miss Cargo's head by mere inches. Add in the one pitch 4-6-3 DP in the second inning and a later strikeout and I guess you could say his performance was as close to disastrous as you can get in February.

Billy Buckner

Not a very smooth inning or impressive debut for Buckner. He's a Triple A roster filler at best.

Adam Jorgenson

You feel bad for a kid when he gets his chance to make an impression and the end result is what we saw today. I doubt he'll get another chance in a big league game this spring.

Foul Tips

Greg Reynolds

Greg's performance doesn't really qualify as a hit or miss, but I just felt the need to comment on him. He made a bad pitch to Kelly Johnson that he was able to extend on and drive to LF. It probably wouldn't be a HR most places, but it's safe to assume it would be a Coors and in Arizona. That's all that counts.

He had another AB in his 2nd inning where he didn't put a batter away after an 0-2 count, but aside from that I was happy with how he looked. He didn't spiral after allowing the HR, which is something we saw in his few ML appearances. Like I said, not really a hit or miss, but worth mentioning.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Friday Rundown: Rosenthal offers more Rockies trade speculation

-- With the Michael Young trade rumors all but dead and buried, Fox Sports writer/sideline reporter/chief speculator, Ken Rosenthal, is now turning his attention to a possible Rockies deal with the St. Louis Cardinals. Fox Sports

Just this week, the Cardinals lost right-hander Adam Wainwright, who will undergo Tommy John surgery and miss the entire season, and infielder Nick Punto, who has a sports hernia and will be out two to three months.

The Rockies currently have seven starting pitchers –right-handers Ubaldo Jimenez, left-hander Jorge De La Rosa and righties, Aaron Cook, Jason Hammel, Jhoulys Chacin, Esmil Rogers and Felipe Paulino. Cook already is experiencing shoulder soreness. Paulino is out of options, and cannot be sent to the minors without clearing waivers.

The Rockies’ extra infielders – Chris Nelson, Eric Young Jr., Jonathan Herrera and Jose Lopez – also could appeal to the Cardinals. Herrera, a switch-hitter who can play shortstop, probably is the most valuable member of the group.

Rosenthal also added the teams have not had any discussions. It's always important to note that after so many false reports of the Rockies talking to the Rangers during that six week period when they didn't speak.

One of these days Rosenthal will get one right. It's not something I would my breath in anticipation of, but maybe if Aaron Cook gets back on track in the next 10-14 days something will come of this. Or maybe if the Cardinals gets so desperate and confused that they make Colby Rasmus available. Or fill-in-the-blank with some other unlikely event.

Also, I just want everyone to know where this speculation started before Troy Renck gets lambasted for responding to speculation on his Twitter feed and blog. I'm sure he'll be asked a lot of questions about this once it gets out there a little more, and it'll be his job to address it.

-- David Martin at Rockies Review had an interesting theory or two on why the Rockies have become notorious slow starters.

He believes the move north to Scottsdale will help the Rockies become better prepared for early season baseball since it will significantly shorten their bus rides and allow them to face major league pitching with a little more frequency during these all important weeks of preparation.

At first glance the basis of his piece seems like it would be easy to dismiss, but give Martin a chance to go a little further into detail. I think you'll find there is a degree of validity to each of his points. Just how much impact these changes make will be difficult to measure accurately, but I expect their April play to improve enough that we'll know the impact does indeed exist.

-- Check back tomorrow for some words on the Rockies and D-Backs christening Salt River Field at Talking Stick with a little Saturday afternoon of baseball!

Monday, February 21, 2011

Huston Street appears in ESPN fantasy baseball commercial

A couple disturbing things I noticed there... well, aside from the two men taking an ice bath together.

1. Seeing Huston Street with ice strapped to his shoulder made me freak out. Not that there's anything abnormal about a pitcher icing his shoulder, but just seeing that image a week into spring training brings back bad memories.

2. The prototypical meathead fantasy owner hit on a touchy subject for me: Jim Tracy's overuse of the former all-star closer, and really every closer he's ever employed.

In fact, I could almost picture Jim Tracy himself having the conversation with Huston in the ice tub, begging and convincing him he could throw a third or fourth day in a row because he's a team player.

3. Is that your foot? WTF?

Hat tip to @JMurph72 for posting the video. You can follow him on the Twitter.

Wouldn't it be nice if these 11 things happened in '11

Wouldn't it be nice...

... if the Rockies could get through spring training relatively healthy? 

After Sunday's Aaron Cook news, I think we're already down to ten.

... if we could count on Aaron Cook for 25 starts? 

Make that nine.

... if one of the Gregs (Reynolds or Smith) got their act together, stayed healthy for a full season, and contributed at a level higher than Double A?

Not ready to give up on this one... but don't hold your breath.

... if Ian Stewart led the league in RBI in April? 

Not because the stat means everything -- we've had it beaten into our brains that it doesn't -- but because that would very likely indicate the Rockies are scoring a lot of runs and #3 and #4 in the order will get pitched to a lot more.

... if Jim Tracy never used Huston Street four days in a row?

Heck, I'd be happy if he never had to go three days in a row. Mariano Rivera never does. I'm just guessing that's part of the reason he's remained so damn good for so damn long.

... if Todd Helton has one of those seasons that tipped the Hall of Fame scales back in his favor?

... if the Rockies patience (and mine) with Franklin Morales is rewarded?

... if the Rockies hired an old school organist to play walk-up music so we didn't have to hear silly debates over which walk-up song each Rockie selects?

 I means sure, it's all a part of the entertainment package that draws in the casual fan, but most of the guys pick awful songs or don't take it seriously.

And besides that, nothing will ever top Dante Bichette walking up to Sledgehammer. Talk about palpable electricity each time he was due up in a clutch situation late in a ballgame. That was special.

... if the Rockies named someone their regular second baseman, and that someone was Eric Young? 

He has to prove that's what he belongs, but having that speed into the #2 spot is something I'd really like to see. It would also help keep Jim Tracy from going overboard on the tinkering, while giving him his most versatile bench.

... if Dexter Fowler bunted a lot more? 

Just be on base, please. Those bunt singles are almost as good as doubles in most cases. Also, when you're on base, the Rockies have a really, really good chance of scoring run(s) in that particularly inning. That's logistics.

... if the Rockies finally win the NL West?

Please. I want to see one of those neat banners. There's one I want more than that, but just to finally see that a division championship banner would be fantastic. It's a nice to hurdle to get over en route to the biggest hurdle.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Friday Rundown: Business is about to pick up

Pitchers and catcher have reported. 

The Albert Pujols deadline has passed. 

The Toronto Blue Jays are handing out questionable contracts

Miguel Cabrera has a DUI.

Yup... It's definitely baseball season.

Let's dig in and take a look at what's happening with the Rockies as we head towards the weekend.

-- I was somewhat surprised to learn that Joe Crede will not be reporting to Rockies camp next week. I haven't heard what exactly Crede has planned, but if this is the end of the line I wish him all the best in his life after baseball.

It's also possible he studied the Rockies roster and couldn't come up with a plausible scenario that had him wearing a Rockies uniform come April 1st (or September 1st for that matter). In that case, he's a smart man, and I wish him well in his venture to find 200-300 ML ABs this season.

Might I suggest he place a call to Kansas City or Cleveland or Florida.

-- One injury-plagued long shot exits, another one enters in former New York Mets ace John Maine. Maine will join Rockies camp on a minor league contract that could see him earn up to $3M if he makes the Opening Day roster, and contains an out clause if he does not.

If Maine ends up making the Opening Day roster it will mean one of two things.

1) He bounced back from shoulder surgery better than anyone could hope for and looked like the guy the Mets were banking on two years ago.

2) The Rockies are screwed.

I'm pretty sure there's no middle ground on that one.

If he's receptive to becoming a reliever I suppose that could enhance his chances, but I'd expect to see him accept an assignment to Colorado Springs with goals of getting healthy, stronger, helping the Rockies out down the line, or maybe catching another team's eye that deals with SP issues.

At any rate, it's definitely a worthwhile addition for Colorado. Low risk, decent potential for some degree of reward. Might as rename that the Dan O'Dowd Special.


-- The lovely ladies at Babes Love Baseball preview the Rockies season in Haiku form. BLB

You can tell they are fans of former Twins catcher Jose Morales, who finds himself in a battle for the backup spot behind Chris Iannetta.

-- Troy Renck focuses in on Ian Stewart's adjustments in the batter's box. All Things Rockies

Hopefully we're at the point now where there will be 3-4 posts coming a week. Once the Spring Training games get underway we'll try to have a couple paragraphs on each of those.

It's the most wonderful time of the year! Let's get at it!

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Michael Young rumors and a little Ian Stewart

-- Get back to me on the Michael Young rumors when the two sides actually have a conversation. Troy Renck says that hasn't occurred yet, and it seems as though no conversation has taken place since December.

That would refute any and all rumors that suggest trade talks are in the advanced stages with a deal likely to come on Monday. Wherever those are coming from, I don't know, but I'm trusting Troy Renck's trusted source on this one.

-- Tracy Ringolsby reported earlier in the week that the Rockies and Rangers were so close to a Michael Young trade in December that Eric Young took a physical for Texas. Eric Young replied that the physical was actually the standard team physical scheduled by Colorado and had nothing to do with a trade.

Everything we've gathered since that one hour at the Winter Meetings when the Young rumors were hot suggest a deal was never a realistic option for either side at that time, and the conversations didn't even last through that evening. That would make Ringolsby's report seem fairly asinine and likely based solely on speculation rather than anything with factual basis.

Tracy Ringolsby has been very good to me in the past when I was getting my feet wet as a blogger, which makes it difficult to say this. He's had a surprisingly terrible offseason, including reporting incorrect information on Miguel Olivo's contract status on more than one occasion. It seems like he's doing more jumping to conclusions than he is research or checking sources. That's a scary way to go about a job as a reporter, and it's cost him some credibility with myself, which is why I'm going with Renck on this one.

-- Baseball Analytics thinks Ian Stewart makes an excellent #6 hitter on the road due to his better power split away from Coors Field, and fits ideally as a #2 hitter at home where he reaches base more often.

Me thinks Baseball Analytics has too much time on their hands, but you might find their short piece interesting.

-- Michael Young. I'm required to type his full name three times per blog post.

-- Do I need to bother following Brian Wilson on Twitter, or will everything he tweets end up retweeted by everyone anyway?

-- Quote of the Week -- Ian Stewart on Carney Lansford (Denver Post)

"Personally, for me, I think Carney's probably going to have a big impact. He just brings a certain element to the team that I don't think we've had, at least since I've been here," Stewart said. "He's just so intense and fiery."

Intensity and fire from a hitting coach aren't all that important to me, but if that somehow helps Ian Stewart focus better on what he needs to do, so be it. I hope it works.