With some certainty Astros fans have little to look forward to this season, except the end of the season. 2013 the Astros move to the American League which gives them a new, fresher start, if you will. There’s little talent on the Astros roster, so Astros fans shouldnt expect them to surprise anyone in the division, let alone the National League. This years Astros are not last seasons D’backs, and if you followed this blog for any length of time you know I despise the D’backs(as well as almost everything Arizona), so for me to get them the slightest bit of credit, means I must not be feeling well.
With the same amount if not greater certainty Rockies fans arent sure what to expect from this team for the 2012 season. Part of that is that the NL West is still anybody’s game, despite the Giants and D’backs seemingly to be the favorites by the media. Sure, there were moves were made this offseason. Gone are Iannetta(thank God!), Cook, Street, Smith, Stewart, Hammel, Spilborghs and others. In are Cuddyer, Scutaro, Hernandez, Moyer, Guthrie, etc. Is this team on paper better than last season’s team? I believe they are, but not that much better to win the NL West. Pitching of course being the unknown factor.
The Rockies should take 2 out of 3 in the series as I’m giving the Astros game 1 since it is their home opener. God I hope I’m wrong and the Rox sweep! It would be a great way to come into the home opener at Coors Field on April 9th.
This isn’t just to reference the monsoon of rain (3 inches) we received here in the Denver metro area Thursday during the evening rush hour commute, but to also reference the current state of the Rockies in 2011. First it was the sprinkling of injuries within the last week. Carlos Gonzalez injures his wrist, then Troy Tulowitzki with the quad, neither of who has played in the series against the Braves. Then yesterday recent call-up and quick fan favorite outfielder Charlie Blackmon goes down with a broken left foot. Did I mention the injured pride of Aaron Cook, who can’t seem to find the strike zone or a win with a Garmin GPS device.
Then there is the downpour of recent losses, currently sitting at 5 straight losses and 7 of their last 9 games. Dont be surprised if the Nationals dont sweep the Rockies as well. The Rockies are currently 8.5 games behind the NL West division leading Giants and 6.5 back of the 2nd place D’backs.
Let’s face it, though I hate to say it, the Rockies are done. Now that is the realist in me of course, but there is the hopelessly optimistic side of me, that thinks, believes and at times just knows in my gut that the Rockies can turn this thing around. But I am sick and tired of this team always wanting to be the miracle comeback team, like they were in 2007. You can’t always win games playing from behind, let alone win a divsion and that’s what I feel this team likes to maybe perceive itself as, the “eternal underdog”. “There’s no need to fear, Underdog is here!” Last I checked Underdog was a fictional cartoon but the Rockies are certainly playing that way as of late. As if because nobody in baseball is focusing on them in the media, that they can suddenly spring a surprise on teams and suddenly have teams take notice. Wanna make teams take notice, then start winning ballgames, start playing smart baseball, start with a “take no prisoners” attitude and beat the teams, you’re supposed to beat and better yet kick the ass of teams who are perceived to be the bigger badder teams of major league baseball. It begins with believing that you are and can be the team that you want to be and playing hard each and every game of a 162 game season. No more feeling sorry, or feeling like the underdogs. If you want to win the division, then dammit Rockies you have to go out and take it! No one is going to just give you the division, certainly not the Giants! Stop believing that the getting the NL Wildcard is “good enough”, because as a fan and someone who believes in the talent on this team, it’s not good enough. I’m stepping down off my pedestal now.
It’s all yours Rockies Nation, what’s your take?
The Rockies held on last night to win 5-4 over the Tigers and give Ubaldo Jimenez his 2nd win of the season. JImenez left the game in the 6th with a leg cramp and a 4-1 lead. The bullpen combination of Lindstrom, Reynolds, Belisle, Betancourt and Street preserved the win for Jimenez and the Rockies moving themselves back to .500 and currently 3.5 games back of the Giants, who again lost to the Athletics for the second straight night.
The Rox were outhit by the Tigers 12 to 6, but the Tigers pitching allowed 9 walks during the game, 7 of them by Tigers starter Phil Coke in 5 innings. The Rockies Chris Nelson hit his second homerun in as many games with a solo shot in the 6th. It would be his only hit of the night going 1 for 5 and dropping his average below .300 to .296. Ubaldo Jimenez helped his own cause early in the game, driving in 2 runs in the 2nd inning with bases loaded single to center field. Huston Street who seemed to be trying his best Brian Fuentes imitation almost gave the game away in the 9th, but instead came away with his league leading 20th save. Tying him with the Giants headcase Brian Wilson, and Seattle’s Brandon League.
The Rockies have won their second straight series and with a win today can take their first 3 game series sweep since sweeping the Mets back in April(11th-14th) at Citi Field.
This afternoon’s probables are Aaron Cook(0-1, 3.97) for the Rockies against Justin Verlander(8-3, 2.66) for the Tigers.
An exciting day for Rockies fans, players and coaches was had today at Coors Field for the 3rd annual Rockiesfest. The players seemed to have more fun this year with the fans, especially in the Q&A sessions throughout the day. Autograph sessions were filled with long lines of fans waiting to grab the signature of their favorite players. The Rockies Museum was a huge hit as well as the tours of the players clubhouse, batting cages, weight room and training rooms. Players again this year played fans in Guitar Hero, while some younger fans got to enjoy storytime with their favorite players, whether they knew it or not.
The FSN Rocky Mountain Interactive Broadcast Booth is always alot of fun with our favorite Rockies on-air personalities. While we’re on the subject of FSN Rocky Mountain, they let the public in on a bit of a new rebranding that they have currently in the works. I had the chance to speak with Rockies analyst, Marc Stout about the rebranding efforts and basically he told me that FSN Rocky Mountain, along with FSN Northwest in Seattle and FSN Pittsburgh are all owned by Direct TV (and not FOX) and will all be known as ROOT Sports in the spring, beginning April 1st. News of this first came about a month ago, but I imagine most of the general public had little if any knowledge of it until today at Rockiesfest. Dont worry there will be no change in the on-air personalities. And I can still get my Alanna Rizzo fix, which I am certainly grateful for. I can’t say the new name of the channel has grown on me yet, but I will suspect that by summer it will have. All and all it was a great day at Coors Field to be a Rockies fan.
I admit that I found it difficult to watch the final four games of the season for the Rockies. That’s why there hasn’t been any posts in relation to those games. Dont get me wrong I love baseball as much as the next person, but those last few games against St Louis were really early auditions for next season for a number of players on the roster. And besides watching two teams play each other with no hopes of either making the playoffs found me watching other things instead. Although I did check in on the games from time to time just to see how the team was doing and also to look at Alanna Rizzo.
Now as far as player auditions go, I dont think Barmes will be around next season. I’m ok with E.Y. Jr or Jonathan Herrera at 2nd base.
I’ve thought the same thing about Francis for a number of months now. Neither Francis or Cook were a remote shadow of themselves this season and of the two I believe Cook will be here next season. If it were up to me, Cook returns to start in the 3 or 4 spot in the rotation. Right now I would say Ubaldo, Hammel, Cook, De La Rosa are in the first 4 spots. Should the Rockies lose both Cook and Francis then there had better be a significant upgrade to the pitching staff, at the least similar value. Once you get past Jimenez and Hammel there’s too much uncertainty with the rotation in terms of what you get, and for the Rockies to be successful in 2011 they cant have that.
I think it’s safe to say Jason Giambi wont be back, but really I would love to see him on the Rockies bench in some sort of coaching capacity, maybe as a bench coach. Giambi loves it here with this team and not to mention Denver is not far from his home in Las Vegas. I have it in my gut that Mora wont be back either. I have no rhyme or reason for this feeling, but I do hope I’m wrong.
I’ve said this once before earlier in the season, that the Chris Iannetta experiment is over. He is not the catcher of the future for the Rockies, maybe somewhere else he could be, but it aint here at 20th & Blake. I say extend Olivo for 2 years and allow Paul Phillips and Michael McKenry battle it out for the backup role.
There are a few other scenarios to go over with this team, but I will get into that at a later date. Right now it’s time to focus on the playoffs and the World Series and see who will be the champs at the end of it all.
Joel Sherman of the New York Post reports the Rockies are possibly looking to make some moves, like shopping Aaron Cook. Story here. Good luck on finding any takers for Cook, not without having to still pay some of his salary. The Rockies need to do something without a doubt. Make a package deal maybe with Hawpe and Cook. Hawpe’s not hitting the ball this year like he has in previous years and the Rockies have plenty of options at the outfield position anyway. They need speed in the corner in right anyway, so Let Dexter have a shot at playing right, Seth Smith is as good as gold in left and Carlos Gonzalez with speed and a stronger arm in center.