It’s Labor Day weekend and speaking of labor it seems that the Rockies have a lot of work to do over the next month starting tonight against the Diamondbacks with Ubaldo Jimenez (3-2, 4.03) going against Livan hernandez (9-9, 4.86). If it were the very early days of baseball then Jeff Francis and Ubaldo Jimenez would have to pitch just about every game for the Rockies to have a chance at the NL wildcard. We still say that Taylor Buchholz needs to go back into the starting rotation because it clear that Josh Fogg and Franklin Morales are not the answers. We don’t see anyway that Fogg will be a part of this pitching staff next season. But we’ll give our predictions on who will be here and who won’t be towards the end of the season.
The Rockies are 6 games out of first (Arizona) and 5 games behind 2nd place and wildcard leader San Diego. The hardhats, and lunch pails need to be on the next 3 days if the Rox have any hopes or aspirations of narrowing the lead and getting into the playoffs. Have a great Labor Day weekend and go Rockies!
It’s just too bad this sort of play didnt happen earlier in the homestand against the Pirates. The Rox swept the Nationals no problem in games two and three of the series and in a heart pounding, “Rocky Balboa” comeback type of fashion on Friday night. It’s what we’ve expected to see out of the Rockies against Pittsburgh as we have seen it most of the season this year. Solid pitching, both starting and the bullpen and timely hits along with few mistakes on the basepaths by the Rockies. Defensively they were good overall but there were a couple of errors during the first series that were costly, but still finishing out the homestand, 4-3 after starting it out 1-3 against Pittsburgh. Now we wait to see if the Dodgers lose tonight against the Mets, as the Padres have already lost earlier today against the Phillies 14-2.
We saw solid pitching performances from the starters Francis, Jimenez, and Dessens in all three games against the Nationals and hopefully that will continue tomorrow on the road as the Rox face the Giants with Josh Fogg (7-9, 5.27) facing Barry “It’s not about the money” Zito (9-11, 4.74). Right now that investment in Zito by the Giants hasn’t been getting the best returns all season. Kinda the same return on the investment the Dodgers got in Kevin Brown a number of years ago.
The Rockies need to continue their current run as they hit the road for six against their division foes, San Francisco and division leader, Arizona. Boy how things could really change for the Rockies in the division if they can continue playing well.
There was a Chris Iannetta sighting today at 20th and Blake. Iannetta gave Yorvit Torrealba a rest today and started his first game since being sent back down to the Springs to retool his swing. Ianetta did go 2 for 5 today with 2 RBI’s and a run scored. We’ll wait to hold judgement on whether or not the time in triple A did him some good, but today was a good start for him at the plate. We dont see there being a whle lot of changes in the lineup, except maybe when Willy Taveras returns from the DL later during the roadtrip. Speaking of the DL, Aaron Cook should be back in the rotation soon, which will mean Morales will probably be sent down to the Springs. Brian Fuentes who we saw Friday night looked good in his first appearance, getting the win in result since coming of the DL. As some of the key pieces are coming back in place will this team continue their exceptional play and move up within the division and the wildcard race as well? With 30 plus games to go, it’s sure to be exciting all the way to the end, and when was the last time we’ve been able to say that about the Rockies?
Let’s go out on a limb here are say that the Rockies are in trouble. Ok so not much of a limb to go out on, but bare with us. The Rox lose 3 of 4 to the Pirates. Part of the trouble is the names that are currently on the disabled list. The other part is the makeshift pitching staff as of late, and the final pieces of the equation are the front office who didn’t make a trade for a quality starter before the deadline and manager Clint Hurdle’s skills managing Wednesday night’s game. The front office has done little, bordering on almost nothing to help bolster the bullpen and the starting rotation. Adding Dessens and Ortiz isn’t much of a bolster to either, but we’ll give the front office credit for trying.
Clint Hurdle is apparently back in spring training and early season mode with the way he handled Wednesday’s game by allowing Josh Fogg to “pitch himself out of trouble” as Hurdle so often has said this season, by waiting until Fogg gave up his 4th homer in 4 innings, 2 to Nate McClouth. Fogg is done, and way overrated by the coaching staff in our opinion and somewhere Byung Hyun Kim is smiling as you may recall these two battled for the 5th spot in the rotation during spring training. Move Buckholz back into the rotation, who can’t seem to do any worse and Fogg to the bullpen. The problem is in the starting rotation and not the bullpen. There’s also too much tinkering in the starting lineups in our opinion, so that throw the idea of consistency out the window. This is not Tucson and spring training, this is a playoff race, which this team is definitely still in and Hurdle and the front office need to act like it.
Let’s borrow something we saw in the sports section of the Boston.com website http://bostondirtdogs.boston.com/ the other day that said, “Are you a glass half full fan or a glass half empty fan?” We would say that after the way this homestand has started out that most people in this town anyway are “half empty” fans. There are those who are definitely “half full fans” though and I know and have met alot of them. I too am one of them. I certainly believe this team can still get into the playoffs and it hurts me to no end to see this team play the way they’ve played 3 of the last 4 games. Hurdle has done a good job up to this point but too much tinkering to the lineup and not enough to the starting pitching is hurting this team really bad right now.
The Nationals are next up for the Rockies, we’re not going to even try to figure out where this team or this next series is headed.
We meant to do this sooner in the month but here are our birthday wishes for August to…
Geronimo Gil 8/7
Brian Fuentes 8/9
Cory Sullivan 8/20
Todd Helton 8/20
Far from it for the Pirates who invade Coors Field to be anything close to the Johnny Depp phenomenon, “Pirates of the Carribean”, but let’s try to have fun with this anyway. How about Pirates – Curse of the Stolen Signs, since last series in Pittsburgh they accused the Rockies of stealing signs. Whether or not the Pirates still believe the Rockies stole signs when they were in Pittsburgh, we’ll see. These guys are “Shipwrecked”, 18 games below .500 and they have nothing to play for other than their pride so there might be some display of payback coming from the Pirates. Though this accusation is certainly not enough to have fans rushing to by tickets for this “Clash of the Titans”. (Not a pirate movie I know.)
This series if anything is one that the majority of fans could really care less about. Again it’s only the Pirates. Besides with schools starting this week in the Denver metro, the attendance numbers will be down a little anyway, despite the fact the Rockies are still in a pennant race despite finishing the road trip 2-4 after a bullpen collapse in Los Angeles yesterday. The Rox should rebound this homestand with the Nationals coming in on Friday having lost 5 of their last 6. Ubaldo Jimenez makes the start tonight for the Rockies. Rockies should finish this homestand no worse than 5-2.
Ok, is it me or does it seem like the Rockies front office and coaching staff have reverted back to spring training mode? And if so then someone had better call in Dr. McDreamy, Dr. Meredith Grey and the rest of the cast of Grey’s Anatomy to administer some medical help to the DL, shock some sense back into the front office and save the season, cause the Rockies right now are on life support!
The DL is as follows. Aaron Cook, Willy Taveras, Sean Barker, Jeff Baker, Rodrigo Lopez (60 and done for the season), Jason Hirsh, Zach McClellan (60) and Edwin Bellorin. Since then the Rockies have acquired Ramon Ortiz, Elmer Dessens and are calling up 3 game starter from Triple A, Frank Morales to start tonight’s game. Are you kidding me? Dessens I can see being put in the rotation, Ortiz I dont know a whole lot about so I cant really question his part out of the bullpen. Morales is supposed to have stuff like Ubaldo Jimenez, whether that’s good or bad, we’ll know after tonight’s game. Right now it looks as if the Rockies brass are filling the leaks in the pitching staff with tissue paper and not anything more solid. Which in turn means the Rockies bats will have do the majority of the work in order to keep them in most games.
The Rox are currently in 4th place in the division and half a game behind the Dodgers and 7 games out of 1st. We’re not saying to jump ship now, that’s not what we would do anyway, but at least get the life jackets ready. Besides there’s too much baseball yet to be played and anything in this division can happen as it has most ofo the year. Let’s hope Morales can get the Rockies back on track with a fine pitching performance tonight and Francis starting tomorrow.
The Rockies are off today and travel to San Diego for 3 and then to LA for 3 more in what will be another crucial week for them in the NL West division. The Rox came away with a split of the 4 game series with the Cubs after what started out to look like the Rockies were back playing little league baseball after the first two games. The third game was the only sellout of the series, Thursday, Friday, and Sunday all had 40000 plus in attendance.
For anyone paying close attention, Saturday night the Rockies front office and coaching staff showcased their 2008 starting lineup on the field. Todd Helton did not play. Jeff Baker who started 1st base the night before didnt play either. Instead it was Garrett Atkins at first and recent call-up and hot prospect Ian Stewart was at third. No need to fear yet Rockies fans, I’m not saying Todd is leaving because certainly he holds the power to veto any trade attempt made by the Rockies. But it’s been more than clear that they want to move Todd, though they’ve never come out and said it point blank. So much for loyalty.
Helton’s not leaving, because the Rox had their chance during spring training this year and couldnt get it done with the Red Sox. The only way I could see Helton leaving is if he gets frustrated with the bozos in the front office while they continue to try and “quietly” shop him around the league to other teams during the upcoming off season. There’s no way Todd will come out looking like the bad guy in this situation should this happen, because the front office has played that role for a long time already.
Unexpected sightings from the weekend.
Clint Barmes in centerfield 9th inning Saturday night and starting CF Sunday afternoon. WHAT?
Tim Harikkala who was the starting pitcher Sunday for the Rockies. His first start since 2005.
Ian Stewart starting at 3rd base Saturday night, Garrett Atkins at 1st base.
After pounding the Brewers Wednesday afternoon 19-4 the Rockies got their asses handed back to them last night 10-2 by the Cubs. If you read the previous update it was mentioned that Rockies starter Ubaldo Jimenez only needed to be at the least effective for the Rockies to have a chance to win. Effective he was not. Jimenez left in the third inning with 61 pitches and no outs. The Bears, uh I mean Rockies played as if they had their gloves on the wrong hands, commiting 2 costly errors, though there were more errors on the field than what the scoreboard showed. The bats they swung were of the whiffle variety and not wood. It’s like Walter Matthau i.e. Clint Hurdle, put a lineup on the field of first time players, at least they played as if they never had seen a baseball before. I understand resting your players after the beating you served up to Milwaukee, but there was no way with the lineup on the field last night that the Rockies were going to match the Cubs in the hitting department with Jimenez on the mound. That’s why I said Jimienez only needed to be ‘effective’ for the Rox to win. I didnt realize they were going to start a Triple A team last night.
Yes there was a Clint Barmes sighting last night as well, who went 0-2 pinch-hitting for Tulowitzki. Why do we need a log jam at the infield position? Barmes, who I didnt think we’d see in Denver again with the interest from Detroit and Minnesota before the trade deadline is not really needed on the roster at this point. Jamey Carroll though batting only .230 has at times been a spark plug for the team at key times. Carroll, Tulo, Matsui, and now Barmes? Until Barmes can prove again he can hit big league pitching, he shouldn’t be on the roster in Denver and if he continue to hit like he did last night, the Rockies really lost their chance 2 weeks ago to lighten the load in the infield for the left-handed reliever I still believe they need in the bullpen. Tonight’s lineup should resemble more of what Rockies fans are used to this season.
Though the game itself was none too exciting for Rockies fans, there was at least some fun around the ballpark last evening, though none of it was on the field or in the dugout. I dont know if there was a full moon out last night or what, but there were some characters out on the left field concourse. A woman in silk pajamas and huge rollers in her head, a snowman who looked as if he had been thawed a few times over he was so skinny, and a man in an inflatable ballerina costume. Fans certainly had their share of fun with these characters, more fun than what was on the field anyway.
Today the Rockies should feel really good about themselves going into a four game series with the Cubs after yesterday’s massacre of the Brewers 19-4 to complete a sweep of the series. The stretch run as the Rockies marketing department is calling it, starts tonight with the Cubs who are still behind the Brewers in the NL Central. The Rox are now in 3rd place, 2 games behind San Diego for 2nd and 4 behind front runner Arizona. And if you’re looking at the wildcard (and we’re not) the Rockies are 2 back there as well. The reason I say we’re not looking at the wildcard is simply because we believe the Rockies can still win this division. The NL West is the tightest and best division in baseball. The AL East is the worst by far with three of the 5 teams in double digits in games behind the Red Sox. (Toronto 11 1/2, Baltimore 16, and Tampa 25 1/2) We will start looking at the wild card when it looks like the division cant be won, but at least the Rox are in a good position should it come down to a wildcard.
What we now have to pay attention to is the DL. Can this team stay upright with DL starting to fill up again as it did earlier in the season? Jason Hirsh is back on the DL with a broken leg his sustained Tuesday night, after coming off of the DL a little over a week ago. Rodrigo Lopez is on the DL also and recent call-up catcher Edwin Bellorin went on after Tuesday’s game with a hamstring injury. The only good news concerning the DL is Brian Fuentes is off.
Tonight’s starter Ubaldo Jimenez needs to be at least effective tonight for the Rox to win. Cubs fans will be out in force tonight and throughout the weekend, but I’m sure Rockies fans will be as well. It should be a playoff like atmosphere as both teams make moves in their respective divisions.
A combination of bad weather before the game and the fact “it’s just the Brewers” who are in town are reasons Coors Field was not as full as it’s been the last 2 homestands. Though attendance was around 29500, I mean we are talking the Brewers. Sure they’ve lead the NL Central for most of the season and have finally a decent team in the land of Cheddarheads and Laverne and Shirley with Prince Fielder leading the way. The Brew Crew lead the now Soriano-less Cubs, who is on the DL by a single game. This should bode well for the Rockies later in the week as Chicago comes to town Thursday, though you still have to get past Lee, Ramirez, and Floyd. Enough on them until later in the week. As for the brewers there were a decent number of Milwaukee fans in attendance last night. I saw lots of Brewers jerseys both old and new though mostly old. Last night’s free giveaway were Ryan Spilborghs t-shirts and one fan I saw had crossed out Rockies on the front and wrote Brewers and on the back crossed out Spilborghs on the back and replaced it with Yount. The Brewers probably could’ve used Yount last evening as Rockies pitcher Josh Fogg scattered 6 hits over 7 innings with a 4 run cushion after the first inning and a 6-1 lead after 2. Prince Fielder hit his 33rd homer (2nd overall) off Fogg in the 2nd and recorded his 84th RBI (8th overall) and a sure candidate for NL MVP.
Finally the Rockies front office got the idea to send Ianetta down to the Springs and in turn bring up Bellorin. Ianetta who was batting a dismal .179 was under the Mendoza for most of the season. I think they finally made this move in order not to rename it the “Ianetta line”, and have something else bad to tie to the Rockies franchise.
Ouch! I said I would take a road trip of 3-3 and what do the Rockies do? They go 3-3 so that means I should be ok with it right? Well sort of. I said 3-3 for the road trip because I was afraid they would probably be manhandled something awful in Atlanta and the Rox held their own against the Braves despite losing Saturday and the extra innings loss 6-5 this afternoon doesnt help, but the Braves were the better team. All and all they really should’ve swept the Marlins but they get a chance to redeem themselves for that we the fish come to Coors Field in September. We may be giving away tickets to one game during the series. Now it’s the long flight home only to get ready to take on the top two teams in the NL Central in the Brewers and the Cubs. The Rockies had better have redemption on their minds this week as they lost 2 of 3 to the Brewers last month and were swept by the Cubs back in June.
The tradeline passes and NOTHING! This is the difference between the Rockies and other teams like the Yankees, Red Sox and other contenders year after year. What did the Rockies have to lose in making a move to better the team for the next two months when you’re in contention to win the NL West? Your farm system has been consistent in producing outstanding home grown talent and losing one of two players will not hurt the farm system or the organization. The Rockies alone had 5 players in the top 50 out of 100 prospects for 2007 listed by Baseball America back in February. http://www.baseballamerica.com/today/prospects/features/263445.html
Are they telling the fans that what we have now on the field and with a little luck and hope that is enough to win the division or at least a wild card with? I hope Dan O’Dowd and company are right by doing nothing. It was reported today in the Rocky and the Post that the Rockies did some shopping but that nothing tweaked their interests. Is it that, or did the Monforts and O’Dowd hold tighter to their wallets so as to avoid a potential future mistake? NEWSFLASH front office…..YOU’RE IN A DIVISION RACE!!! DO SOMETHING TO WIN IT!!! I’m not one to say that the current team is not capable to continue to make some waves within the division, because certainly they are. But you have to and I repeat HAVE TO make a move to solidify your team in the event of a freak accident or injury to any player not only a key player to keep your momentum going and team chemistry in tact! I know there is still hope because moves can still be made to better this team, but they will certainly not be any of major significance like before the past deadline yesterday. This years Rockies team is a very good team all around and have been most of the season except April and the first half of May. I have faith that this team will continue to make noise, fans will continue to come out to Coors Field and the Broncos won’t be the only team we hear about on the evening newscasts as camp has started and with preseason games right around the corner. Let’s hope the Rockies dont falter just yet and that the front office can make a move somewhere down the line to help make this team better heading into the last two months of the season. A little bit of that Lodo Magic is all we ask for.