Well on paper, it doesnt look good for the Rockies going into this series. The Rockies are 23-49 on the road against the Braves, 18-31 at Turner Field. The Rockies last had a winning record against the Braves at Turner Field in 2005 with a 2-1 record. The one win last season was Ubaldo Jimenez’ no hitter, the first in Rockies history.
The Braves come into this series winning 7 of their last 10 games, 4 games back of division leading Phillies. While the Rockies went 4-6 in their last 10 games, 6.5 games back of the Giants and 3 back of the D’backs and also sporting a 19-21 road record.
THE HOT LIST – Mark Ellis(2B/Rockies) – 8 for 15 with 2 homeruns and 7 RBIs in his first 3 games with the Rockies since the trade from Oakland. Todd Helton(1B/Rockies) – 10 for 20 in last 5 games with 4 walks and 4 RBIs. Carlos Gonzalez(OF/Rockies) – 11 for 24 in his last 6 games. 6 RBIs in yesterday’s game against the Royals. Brian McCann(C/Braves) – team leading .314 batting average and 10 for 21 in last 5 games.
THE NOT LIST – Charlie Blackmon(OF/Rockies) – 6 for 34(.176) in his last 10 games. Could be the player to watch in the series as he returns home to Georgia, if he doesnt press. Blackmon’s hometown is Suwanee, Ga and he played college ball at Georgia Tech. Chris Iannetta(C/Rockies) – Remains on our NOT list with a .227 average. 6 for 30 in last 10 games, but did go 3 for 3 against the Royals on 7/2. Jason Heyward(OF/Braves) – 6 for 25 last 6 games, with 1 homerun and 2 RBIs. Dan Uggla(2B/Braves) – .175 battting average through 85 games.
Tonight’s probables are Ubaldo Jimenez(3-7, 4.35) against Tommy Hanson(9-4, 2.62).
It’s October 1st, the start to Rocktober 2009 can officially begin.
The Rockies pounding of the Brewers last night 10-6 and Atlanta’s loss to the Marlins 5-4 now has the Rockies magic number for the playoffs at 1. The math is simple, win today or an Atlanta loss means the Rox are in the playoffs. Still the Rockies have a slim shot at winning the division only 2 1/2 games back of the slumping Dodgers who have the day off today.
Last night’s win gave the Rockies their 3rd in a row and Jason Hammel his 10th win on the season. Helton, Gonzalez and Tulo all homered for the Rockies and the bullpen was near perfect on the night following Hammel. Torrealba continues to tear the cover off the baseball, going 3 for 4 last night with an RBI, a run scored and a .292 batting average.
Aaron Cook (10-6, 4.32) takes the mound this afternoon against Manny Parra (11-10, 6.16) for the Brewers.
** There’s a good article over at the Hardball Cooperative website by Thom Henninger on whether or not Jim Tracy’s success this season will carry over to the 2010 season. Story here. Is it a little early to be discussing next season already? Probably, but go check out the article, it’s a good read.
Chris Iannetta’s 2 run homerun in the bottom of the 11th was the difference in last night’s win over the Brewers. Couple that with the Braves losing to the Marlins, the Rockies have a 3 game lead in the NL Wildcard race and now only need 3 wins to secure that spot in the postseason. Also with 5 games to go the Rockies are 3 1/2 games in back of the Dodgers in the NL West as the Dodgers crumble down the stretch having lost 3 in a row and 4 of their last 5.
Jason Marquis didnt get the win, but I dont believe last night’s outing totally destroyed his spot in the rotation for the playoffs, though he still remains to be the odd man out at this point. Marquis did give up only 2 runs in six innings of work, but did allow 4 walks and recorded only 1 strikeout.
Tonight Jason Hammel (9-8, 4.30) takes the mound going against the Brewers Jeff Suppan (7-11, 5.04).
The Rockies are doing their best to imitate the New York Mets from two seasons ago. Losing last night 5-4 to the Padres, the Rox are on a 2 game losing streak and are only 3.5 games now in front of the Braves and 4 ahead of the Giants and Marlins for the NL Wildcard. Jason Hammel had a decent outing with 6 strikeouts through 6 1/3 innings only giving up 2 runs. But after that the wheels came off for the Rockies. Remember that nuclear meltdown I mentioned the Rockies didnt have that they should go into the playoffs as the wildcard? It’s quite possible that the meltdown may have begun with these last 2 games. I say that because the Rox now have to face the Cards in a 3 game series and though historically the Rockies are 38-35 against St. Louis at Coors Field, this series unlike others in the past have playoff implications. But the meltdown for the Rockies doesn’t all take place with what happens on the field at 20th & Blake, because the Braves go into a weekend series against the Nationals in Atlanta and are playing very good baseball winning 8 of their last 10. The Marlins having won 6 of their last 10, face the Mets this weekend. Both the Marlins and Braves are playing better baseball than the Rockies are at this point.
Aaron Cook (10-6, 4.47) returns from injury tonight to face the Cardinals Chris Carpenter (16-4, 2.34) in what should be an interesting and fun series at Coors Field.
The Rockies slump has now hit 4 games and the once 4 game lead in the NL Wildcard race has now been erased for a tie with the Giants. The Rockies played their best game of the series and again as of late the pitching did them in in the 7th inning with a go ahead grand slam by Edgar Renteria. It seems the offense and the pitching are slumping at the same time and now is not the time for that to happen. Morales had his worst outing as a reliever in this game. Betancourt did him one worse, giving up the grand slam to Renteria. The Rockies offense showed signs of erasing their current slump with back to back homeruns by Tulowitzki and Helton. The Rockies are coming close towards their best impersonation of the 2007 New York Mets.
The good news is that there’s a month left and they can bounce back with the day off today before facing the Mets in a 3 game series beginning Tuesday. The Rockies on paper should win 2 of 3 from the Mets. I want to say they should sweep, but I’m a little cautious. The Rockies will face Mike Pelfrey (9-9, 4.80), Tim Redding (2-4, 5.94) and Pat Misch (0-1, 3.41). While the Giants travel to the East Coast to face the Phillies.
Both the Rox and Giants have 3 teams (Braves, Marlins and Cubs) only 3 and a half games behind them in the NL Wildcard chase, so anything that can happen probably will.
So the Rockies took the final two games against the Pirates outscoring them 18-1, after a dismal showing in the first game. The Rockies are now in more of a must win series against the Marlins this weekend. The Marlins are only 3 games back of the NL Wildcard race, so this is an important series to say the least. The Marlins took 2 out of 3 at Coors Field back in early May, in the then seemingly expiring days of the Clint Hurdle regime.
The Rockies come into this series 71-70 overall and a whole different ballclub than the Marlins faced early in the season. The bad thing is the Rockies are 26-42 at Dolphin/Pro Player/Land Shark/whatever they want to call it next week, stadium. While we’re on the subject of stadiums, they are pouring concrete for the first time today at the new yet to be multiply-named Marlins stadium due to open in 2012.
THE USUAL SUSPECTS – Florida Marlins
Hanley Ramirez (SS), leads the team in batting (.353), slugging percentage (.563), RBIs (81) and stolen bases (22). Best shortstop in the NL, and definitely worth the price of admission.
Dan Uggla (2B), tied for the team lead in homeruns this season with 20 despite only hitting .241. Second on the team in walks (65) and 4th in RBIs (60). Solid second baseman on both sides of the ball.
Josh Johnson (P), the best pitcher on the staff with an 11-2 record this season and a better than 2:1 ratio in wins over his 5 year career (30-13) with the Marlins.
The Rockies Jason Hammel (7-6) will face Josh Johnson (11-2) for the Marlins.
On the Outside Looking In (sort of) – The Cubs have lost 5 straight and 6 of their last 7 are still only 5 games in the wildcard race and should turn it around this weekend with a 3 game series against the Pirates. While the Braves face the Phillies and are 3.5 back in the wildcard race.
Third time’s a charm as the saying goes. The Rockies for the 3rd straight game had to rally from behind and this time they came out with a win, 8-7 over the Braves to even the series 2-2 and end their homestand with a record of 6-4. Brad Hawpe was the hero with his game winning RBI double securing the win and giving the Rockies a little momentum after the break when they face the Padres on Thursday to begin a 4 game series.
QUOTE OF THE NIGHT: “We definitely wanted to win this, especially against a team with a lot of good pitchers.” – Brad Hawpe
STAT OF THE GAME: Barmes, Smith and Hawpe collectively went 6 for 12 with 4 RBIs.