Friday, April 6, 2012

Rock Solid Recap: Astros Giveth, Rockies Taketh

Rockies 5, Astros 3 (Boxscore)

Winning Player: One game in, one tough decision on who deserves to be the Rockies winning player. I thought Troy Tulowitzki had a terrific game with the early sac fly, a pair of defensive gems, and then the ninth inning home run — which you'll see later — that went over the train tracks and vacated Minute Maid Park all together.

Jeremy Guthrie had a very strong seven inning Rockies debut, and rightfully earned his National League victory.  Todd Helton and Michael Cuddyer were also important cogs with their two-out, opposite field run scoring hits in a pivotal third inning rally.

But my vote for the Rockies winning player goes to left-handed setup man Rex Brothers. After the Rockies took the lead in the top half, Brothers breezed through his first eighth inning appearance 1-2-3 with a pair of overpowering strikeouts and a weak groundout. That got the Rockies right back into the dugout feeling good, and then from there they added the insurance run that basically sealed the victory.

Many outings just like are sure to follow for young Mr. Brothers.

Turning Point: Jim Tracy's decision to pinch-run Eric Young Jr. for Ramon Hernandez after his eighth inning lead-off single paid off immediately with a stolen base. Of course, one minute later, it was on the verge of turning into a disaster when EY was caught in between second and third on a ball in the dirt that was blocked by Astros catcher Jason Castro.

Opening Day Lineup Card: Rockies @ Astros

The Fourth Opening Day is a charm. 

Finally we have arrived at some meaningful baseball because finally we have arrived at a Rockies game day. I don't care what your expectations are, if you aren't jacked through your living room ceiling today then place two fingers under your chin and check for a pulse. That, or leave this blog because this isn't the place for you.


Colorado Rockies (0-0)
  1. Marco Scutaro (2B)
  2. Dexter Fowler (CF)
  3. Carlos Gonzalez (LF)
  4. Troy Tulowitzki (SS)
  5. Todd Helton (1B)
  6. Michael Cuddyer (RF)
  7. Ramon Hernandez (C)
  8. Chris Nelson (3B)
  9. Jeremy Guthrie (P)
Fowler and Scutaro spent most of the spring flip-flopped from the Opening Day arrangement, but Jim Tracy felt like Fowler's spring was awful enough to warrant a switch. It'll be interesting to see how that lasts.

Helton hitting ahead of Cuddyer against a left-hander is a little surprising. I guess Tracy is playing the respect card there, which is fine.

And then we have Chris Nelson getting the Opening Day nod at third. That was widely assumed to be the case but is now officially official. 

Houston Astros (0-0)
  1. Jordan Schafter (CF)
  2. Jose Altuve (2B)
  3. J.D. Martinez (LF)
  4. Carlos Lee (1B)
  5. Brian Bogusevic (RF)
  6. Chris Johnson (3B)
  7. Jason Castro (C)
  8. Marwin Gonzalez (SS)
  9. Wandy Rodriguez (P)
Looking for the worst Opening Day lineup in Major League Baseball? Look no further than that mess Brad Mills was forced to write down this afternoon. Granted, there's potential in a number of these guys to be serviceable to good big leaguers, today... bleh.  

In case you missed it earlier today, I offered a few Rockies (and baseball) predictions for 2012. Wager at your own risk.

Enough talking? I think so.

Play ball!

More Rockies thoughts await you if you follow me on Twitter: @Townie813

A few Rockies (and baseball) predictions for 2012

No algorhythms or computers needed for these predictions! Just my brain and a keyboard (that's attached to a computer... so I guess I needed one after all). 

Rockies Predictions 

Wins: 78 (Should keep them ahead of San Diego!)

All-Stars: Troy Tulowitzki and Carlos Gonzalez (A real stretch I know.)

Team leader in wins: Juan Nicasio (14)

Best starter ERA: Drew Pomeranz (3.15)

Team leader in saves: Rex Brothers (22)

Jamie Moyer starts: 14

Jorge De La Rosa starts: 19

Alex White starts: 6

Todd Helton & Jason Giambi total home runs: 25

Ramon Hernandez & Wilin Rosario total home runs: 25 (Rosario will hit at least 15 of those.)

Tyler Colvin home runs: 18 (There will be enough slumps and injuries for Colvin to carve out a significant role on this team. I think he's ready to handle it.)

Date Dexter Fowler steals his first base: April 7th (You know they'll put him in motion early and often, so getting that first one won't be a problem. But how much patience will they have if he doesn't show enough improvement of the bases? Or worse yet, if the next situation lingers on for too long.)

Date Dexter Fowler finds his swing: May 20th (This would be too long.)

Date Nolan Arenado arrives: June 4th

Date Rockies fans end their "boycott" of Root Sports: Already did.

First designation for assignment: Eric Young Jr.

Public Enemy #1: Esmil Rogers (Someone has to take over for Franklin Morales, Ian Stewart and Huston Street. I don't think it'll be Fowler, though he could contend. The maddeningly inconsistent Rogers should prove to be the easiest target though since relief pitchers are always lightning rods.)

First closed door meeting: April 23rd

Jim Tracy meltdowns: Monthly

Jim Tracy lineup changes: Weekly

Baserunning errors: Nightly

Baseball Predictions 

NL MVP: Joey Votto (Reds)

AL MVP: Robinson Cano (Yankees)

NL Cy Young: Clayton Kershaw (Dodgers)

AL Cy Young: Justin Verlander (Tigers)

NL Rookie of the Year: Yonder Alonso (Padres)

AL Rookie of the Year: Yu Darvish (Rangers)

Home Run Kings: Joey Votto and Jose Bautista

NL East: Philadelphia Phillies

NL Central: Cincinnati Reds

NL West: Los Angeles Dodgers

NL Wild Cards: Arizona Diamondbacks, St. Louis Cardinals

AL East: Tampa Bay Rays

AL Central: Detroit Tigers

AL West: Los Angeles Angels

AL Wild Card: New York Yankees, Texas Rangers

NLCS: Reds over Cardinals

ALCS: Rays over Angels

World Series: Rays over Reds (in 6)

Sleeper/Fun team: Kansas City Royals — Alex Gordon, Billy Butler, Eric Hosmer, Mike Moustakas, Lorenzo Cain, Aaron Crow, Greg Holland, among others, will make them difficult to ignore. I'm not even kidding. Watch'em.

Disclaimer: These predictions — like all predictions — are intended for entertainment purposes only. Wager at your own risk.

More Rockies thoughts await you if you follow me on Twitter: @Townie813