First, a thank you to my new audience and especially those of you who have left a comment. I sure appreciate you all coming by.
Today we spelled redemption A-A-R-O-N. And T-R-O-Y and C-H-R-I-S and H-U-S-T-O-N, for that matter. (And, hell, M-E-L-O too, as the Nuggets escaped the first round of the NBA playoffs for the first time since Mike Harkey was a Rockie.)
When your team is 7-12 sometimes all you’ve got to hang your hat on is the hope that some of your important players are severely underperforming. Of course, it helps if that’s actually true. And Aaron Cook, Troy Tulowitzki, Chris Iannetta and Huston Street, four important cogs in Denver’s hopes for contention, have ranged from frustrating to disappointing to awful in April. Cook and Street had scuffled, and Iannetta and Tulo were below the Mendoza Line.
Not all of these things changed in one fell swoop today, but it began to look like they actually could. Sometimes a track record isn’t enough – you’ve gotta have tangible evidence that guys are going to start playing good baseball. Well, at the dish, Tulo’s got three hits the last two nights, Iannetta had two hits today, including a homer that just about took down the Tornadough stand on the concourse. And on the hill, Cook’s sinker worked to the tune of seven strong innings, and Street fanned the side in by far his best outing in black and silver.
Sometimes you just have to have faith in guys. Give them the chance to reward it. It makes a win like today’s all the more satisfying when you add the feeling of knowing the worm would turn all along.
8-12 is the record for April, and it’s not good. Earlier this month I said that any win total below 9 would be distressing. But considering the way this month closed – with a homestand that easily could have been 6-0, with the lower half of the order starting to find itself, with the ace of the staff finally looking like it – there’s more reason for optimism with an 8-12 mark than I thought there would be. More importantly, as today’s game began I knew we were going to win it, an odd feeling of confidence considering the way this April unfolded, but a feeling of calm nonetheless, one that not even Matt Belisle could shake.
If the Denver Nuggets were a baseball team, here’s the lineup I imagine they’d feature:
1. Dahntay Jones, CF – a pest, and as such the perfect leadoff man
2. Anthony Carter, 2B – the Clint Barmes of the Nuggets
3. Carmelo Anthony, SS – smooth footwork, killer instinct
4. Kenyon Martin, 1B – the Nuggets version of Todd Helton, crafty veteran leader
5. Chris Andersen, LF – because you gotta have the Birdman
6. JR Smith, RF – the streaky home-run threat, Brad Hawpe in a tanktop and shorts
7. Nene, 3B – plenty of power, but he’d kinda be a disaster defensively, huh?
8. Linas Kleiza, C – solid talent but frustrating to watch
9. Chauncey Billups, P – he’s the guy you want with the ball in his hand, a true ace