Sunday, May 31, 2009

5/31/09 - COL 2, SD 5 - "Clint"

Figures that my last article is a piece about what a shame it is that the Rockies won’t fire Clint Hurdle, and then they do, only I can’t spare a moment to write about it until three games deep into the Jim Tracy Era.

There will be plenty to say about Tracy as a manager in the coming weeks and months, to be sure. The one that that will certainly be tested right away is the school of thought that a consistent everyday lineup is more conducive to success because it allows players to find a ‘comfort level’. Tracy’s lineup isn’t chiseled in stone, but he’s definitely writing in pen and not pencil – Clint Barmes is going to hit second, Troy Tulowitzki’s going to hit seventh, and Garrett Atkins is going to hit clean-up.

(Short aside: it’s a sad commentary on the way things have gone this season that Atkins’ 12-hopper through the middle to tie Saturday night’s game in the bottom of the ninth inning was perhaps the most ‘feel-good’ moment of the campaign, but damn if I couldn’t stop smiling and, well, feeling good for Atkins after the game had ended. He may be an offensive corpse, but he’s an offensive corpse in purple pinstripes, and for that, I want to see him hit as much as any player on the roster.)

We’ll see if Tracy’s laid back demeanor meshes better with this roster than Hurdle’s… laid back demeanor. We’ll see if Tracy’s tactical skills, which were frequently credited when he was managing in Los Angeles and Pittsburgh, help get the Rockies out of their funk. A series win is a good place to start, but the Rox still need about nine more of them to get back to the .500 mark, so I’ll hold off on giving Tracy a Manager of the Year vote for now.

Like I said, there will be more on Tracy later. I want to write about the old boss first.


He sat in front of the media in a suit coat and tie, not the familiar pinstriped number 13, and said the same things he had said the past seven years: I will not back down from a challenge. I will never quit.

And it was Clint Hurdle’s refusal to do those things that resulted in this franchise’s finest hour, because if ever there was a challenge in the baseball managerial world, it was handling the Rockies teams of the mid-2000’s. They were teams with no designs on winning, the ultimate no-win situation for any manager, but Hurdle kept the ship steady. And eventually those Rockies grew up to win a pennant, and you can say what you will about 2007 in retrospect, but the fact remains that those players peaked in the crucible of a pennant chase, won 89 games, staged a phenomenal comeback in the greatest baseball game of this decade to make the playoffs, and roared through the National League postseason to earn a real, honest-to-God pennant that they’ll never take away no matter how far things have fallen in the aftermath.

But on the other hand, the list of active managers who have helmed a pennant winning team is longer than you might think: there’s Torre and Cox, Piniella and Maddon, LaRussa and Leyland, Francona and Guillen, Scioscia, Charlie Manuel, Bochy, Gaston, and Baker. Add Hurdle to the mix, and until Friday, 14 of the 30 MLB managers had won a pennant in their careers. It’s not the rarefied air you might have expected, meaning Hurdle was no more deserving of a free pass for the team’s underachievement since 2007 because of that shining season.

It’s hard to dance on Clint Hurdle’s grave, because he never went Jim Leyland on the Rockies and quit on them. He showed up and managed the way he always had. It delivered the expected results during the initial Gen-R years, and in 2007, it crested. But as we all expected the franchise to take the next step, it never happened, because Hurdle just wasn’t the personality, in the dugout or in the clubhouse, that would prove capable of steering the team over the next great hill.

So the emotions I felt as I watched the first three games of the Jim Tracy Era were not joyous. I couldn’t celebrate the firing of a good man, and Clint was and is most certainly that above all else. Mostly, there was this overwhelming feeling of unfamiliarity, not seeing Clint on the top step, chewing gum, wearing a stopwatch around his neck, bouncing a baseball up and down with the same nervous energy that I always have watching the Rockies play.

The disappointment of the last season and two months of Hurdle’s tenure is an unfair career eulogy for a man who gave 15 years to the organization. Eventually, when the Rockies have moved on down the road from the Hurdle years, I suspect I’ll only have one distinct memory of the fourth manager in Rockies history. I’ll remember him being interviewed after the final game of the 2007 World Series, after the Rocktober ride came to an end at the hands of a superior Red Sox squad. Then, as in his final press conference on Friday, Clint Hurdle straightened up in the face of hardship and heartache and told the world that he was proud of his team. That they never backed down from a challenge. That they never gave up.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

5/28/09 - Off Day - "Malaise"

I woke up today convinced Clint Hurdle would be fired.

Went through my daily routine at work. Made the prediction on my morning sportscast. Headed to the golf course at 10, fully expecting a press conference to be underway by the time I walked off the final green.

Nothing. No press conference, no press release, no announcement, no managerial change. Still the same old status quo, where 18-28 and 14 games out of first place inspires nothing more than an ‘Oh, well, we’ll turn it around’.

And the sad part is that it’s not the least bit surprising, that the listlessness displayed by the Rockies organization during this train-wreck of a season doesn’t shock me in the least.

The organization seems to have no motivation to make things better, instead wishing that things will get better because there’s evidence that it can and will. In fairness, they aren’t completely wrong here – there are a lot of guys performing well below their career norms and/or potential, and I refuse to believe that this team is as bad as their current record suggests.

But this franchise has sat idly by while Garrett Atkins has gone 2-for-130 since April 10th and the bullpen has done enough damage late in games to be brought in front of a judge on arson charges and done the equivalent of wave a magic wand and hope things will become all better.

Want to know why I hadn’t posted on this blog for almost two weeks? Because malaise is contagious. It filters from the top down, from ownership who won’t fire their buddies in the front office and in the dugout, to the front office who hasn’t aggressively addressed any weaknesses since 2007, to a manager that keeps running out the same players and expecting different results in cases where that’s completely unwarranted, to a big league roster – and this is the saddest part – who can’t even be bothered to play proper fundamental baseball anymore and who lack the will to fight back in the face of adversity. And it’s even trickled down to this blogger.

The Rockies didn’t play yesterday, so they didn’t lose. But with every single day that this organization sends the message that their plan for success is to hope that 2007 magically happens all over again, we, the fan, lose every single day.

Monday, May 18, 2009

5/18/09 - COL 5, @ ATL 1 - "Grand Marquis"

Maybe I’m crazy, but you didn’t have to squint through purple-tinted glasses to see something resembling a good baseball team in the black vests tonight. The Rockies got great pitching and good defense. They practiced good situational hitting and manufactured runs. They ran the bases smartly. They got out to a lead, protected it, and added to it. They did those glorified ‘little things’ you have to do to win ballgames, and were rewarded appropriately.

But for God’s sake, it’s getting tired watching them play excellent baseball in game one of a series and thinking, “Hey, maybe this will get them on track to a winning streak, or maybe at least a win in the series,” and then watching them crap the bed the remainder of the series. And it’s already happened FIVE TIMES this season (twice in a two-game series, but still).

April 10-12: Win first game vs. PHI 10-4, lose next two 8-4 and 7-5 (bullpen melts down both games)
May 4-5: Win first game @ SD 9-6, lose the next day 2-1
May 6-7: Win first game v SF 11-1, lose the next day 8-3
May 12-14: Win first game v HOU 12-1, lose next two 15-11 and 5-3
May 15-17: Win first game @ PIT 3-1, lose next two 7-4 and 11-4

So forgive me if my hopes aren’t exactly skyrocketing right now. We’re well into the point of the season where the team is just bad until they prove otherwise.


Another trip on the Jason Marquis rollercoaster today, as after two bad starts, he induced four double plays tonight and held the Braves in check while the Rockies struggled to score runs in the first eight innings. A well-earned fifth win of the year for Marquis. Having Marquis pitching every five days is kinda like experiencing a Josh Fogg start, only with a little more confidence in a positive outcome and far worse facial hair. (Come on, who didn’t love the chops that Fogg rocked back in 06?)


Todd Helton got robbed of hit number 2,000 tonight, but I’d rather him get it with an absence of controversy. I’d like to see number 2,000 be a clean single between short and third or a booming double into the right-center field gap – something representative of the 1,999 hits that have come before it. When I try and think of reasons why I should continue watching this team on a nightly basis, watching Todd Helton hit is right up there with “Watching Troy Tulowitzki play shortstop” and “Because there’s nothing else to do in small-town Wyoming”.


I’m about a week and five more soft outs to the left side of the infield away from beginning to feel pity for Garrett Atkins.


I don’t mean to post only when the Rockies win. It’s just that there’s so little to say about this team’s losses anymore. I meant this blog to be an examination of what it was like to follow the Rockies, and I guess I’ve succeeded in the sense that losing just beats us down to the point where there’s nothing coherent to be said.

Friday, May 15, 2009

5/15/09 - COL 3, @ PIT 2 - "Justice"

A few observations from a satisfying victory:

1. I don’t have any managerial experience or anything, but I do know this: if you feel the need to pinch-hit for your cleanup hitter to lead off the ninth inning in a one-run game, then the guy you have hitting cleanup shouldn’t be hitting there. Pinch-hitting for the rotting corpse of Garrett Atkins ended up being the right move, as Ian Stewart’s double set the stage for Brad Hawpe’s game-winning two-run homer. It was the obvious move for Clint Hurdle, as Atkins had been 0-for-3 with two outs made with runners in scoring position. What should have been more obvious is that the .195 Atkins just doesn’t belong in a big league lineup right now. Hell, even the Red Sox have benched David Ortiz. It’s time for Atkins to ride some pine. And I don’t mean for a single ‘work day’ – I mean for a while.

2. If pitching coaches could hang up the pitchers they’ve worked with like paintings in a gallery, Bob Apodaca would definitely hang Jorge De La Rosa right out front. De La Rosa was in danger of not having a big league career anymore when the Rockies acquired him last year. Now, he’s arguably been the best Rockies starting pitcher for the last four months of baseball (Aug-Sept 08, Apr-May 09). He’s fanned 22 batters over the last 15 innings, while walking just one. He’s not going to pitch like Cy Young every time out, but I think it’s time to stop waiting for a shoe to drop and just enjoy De La Rosa as one of the finer lefties in the National League. (I’m not putting him on the Hamels-Santana tier, but he’s only a rung or two below that.)

3. Right now, it feels like Troy Tulowitzki is just so locked in that he’s daring opposing pitchers to throw strikes. I sure am glad I didn’t jump on the ‘Tulo is a bust’ bandwagon after a month of play this season.

4. Tonight’s win was JUSTICE. Terrible call in the 8th on that woulda-been sac fly that should have scored Seth Smith with the winning run. Just a brutal display of umpiring, and if the Rox would have lost because of it, let’s just say this blog would have been far more hostile tonight. (Kudos to Fox Sports Rocky Mountain for doing everything they could to put together a definitive replay of the play, which showed that the call had been blown.)

5. Ryan Spilborghs saved three runs with his glove tonight. Two of the best catches you’ll see all year.

6. Watching the Rockies has become kind of a laconic experience for me this year. With the team playing so poorly, I don’t get excited about good things or bummed out about bad things. I’ve become a passive viewer. But when Hawpe went deep, I think I synchronized my fist pump with his as he rounded first base. Any team can get red-hot for a day and win 12-2, like the Rockies have done. But if you’re coming from behind in the late innings to get wins, it shows fight, it shows guts, and it shows that this team hasn’t quit on itself just yet.


I might be the only person outside of the Rockies clubhouse to be bummed out about Glendon Rusch being waived today. Rusch was certainly not a very good pitcher, but his popularity in the locker room belied that. Most fans won’t miss a guy like Rusch once he’s gone. But when I watched Glendon, I saw a guy that so loved pitching that he came back from a life-threatening blood clot in his lung in 2006 to resume his career, no small feat for a guy who had only two seasons with an ERA+ over 100 at that point in his career. At only 34, with not much steam on his fastball and no great secondary pitch, we may have seen the last of Glendon Rusch in a big league uniform. That we saw him at all was a minor miracle and a testament to perseverance, as well as the value of throwing with your left hand. Put those two things together and you can play in the major leagues for a long, long time.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

5/12/09 - COL 12, HOU 1 - "That's More Like It"

Here’s the best analogy I can conceive for the Rockies right now: they’re the underachieving high school student, the one with a brain in their heads that they’d just rather use to do things like make inappropriate jokes during lectures or devise classroom pranks. They seem perfectly content with doing only the bare minimum and hand in C-plus work on a regular basis. But every now and then, that student will turn in a paper that’s inspired, or apply themselves towards studying for a test, and produce A work. And the teacher calls that student in after that day in class, hands the student that A work, and says, “Now why can’t you do this more often?”

That’s what I ask after seemingly every Rockies win this season (hey, that’s two straight now), particularly one like tonight’s, where the Rox blasted four home runs and got brilliant pitching from Ubaldo Jimenez in a 12-1 victory over Houston.

They should all be so easy and stress-free. You watch Ian Stewart on a night like tonight and wonder why he can’t swing aggressively instead of defensively more often, as the aggressive approach resulted in a solo homer and a grand slam. You watch Jimenez and wonder how he ever gives up a run with his 99 mph fastball seemingly allergic to ash and maple. You watch Brad Hawpe drive in five runs and wonder what kind of numbers he could post if he could ever avoid those awful slumps he runs into every season.

You watch the Rockies on a night like tonight and wonder how they’re 13-18. And you wonder if it’s out of the realm of possibility to get back to .500 by month’s end.


Clint Hurdle got the ‘vote of confidence’ from both owners today. If the players really like playing for him, we’re about to find out.


Things That Annoy Me About Drew Goodman: Part II of a multi-part series

Goodman called Chris Iannetta’s fourth inning fly ball “long gone if it’s fair” just moments before Carlos Lee made a leaping catch in front of the wall in left field. Drew, you gotta know what “long gone” looks like by now, especially before you call it as such. Nothing’s worse than calling something a home run (and essentially, that’s what Goodman did) before it ends up dying on the track or getting robbed. But hey, at least he didn’t say the ball was ‘tatered’.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

5/10/09 - COL 3, FLA 2 - "More on Hurdle"

I don’t like writing articles like the one I wrote yesterday. I don’t like suggesting that people need to lose their jobs, particularly people I respect. But after a year and 6 weeks of waiting for the Rockies to show any sort of sign that Rocktober 2007 wasn’t anything more than the happiest accident in franchise history, I’ve reached the point where I feel like changes are necessary.

The thing about Clint Hurdle is that he’s always on this even keel – never too high after wins, never too low after losses. And the more I think about it, that’s why he was a good fit for the ‘Gen-R’ teams of 2004-2006. A steady manager like Hurdle could reassure the young players that were part of those teams that they didn’t need to put any pressure on themselves, that they weren’t in any danger of losing their jobs, and as long as they kept plugging away, good things would happen for them. In effect, the Rockies were non-contenders the moment they took the field in those three seasons (though 2006 was interesting into August, at least), so there were no expectations, and Hurdle handled it well.

Then came 2007… and you know something, I don’t know that any other manager could have gotten the Rockies through that 20-1 run to the NL Pennant any better than Clint Hurdle. Just as the 04-06 Hurdle helped the young Rox stay positive through loss after loss, the 07 Hurdle helped keep the clubhouse from combusting in the excitement of the frantic stretch run.

Under Clint Hurdle, every game is business as usual. That works in a rebuilding process. It worked in an improbable pennant race. But in the last two seasons, there have been real-live expectations for this team, and as the team has limped out of the gate in 2008 and now in 2009, the prevailing emotion from the manager remains the same. “We’ll be alright.” “We’re coming around.” “We’re not far away.” There’s no chance Hurdle’s going to go Howard Beale in “Network” and “Get mad, damn it! Get mad!”

Maybe Clint Hurdle’s right, and maybe the Rockies will hit a stretch where they play some really excellent baseball. Hell, the probabilities of a 162-game season practically demand it. In 2008, over the season’s final 98 games, the Rox were four games over .500 at 51-47. That’s a .520 clip, roughly an 84-win pace if sustained over 162 games. Not terrible by any means, and if the Rox had managed 84 wins last year through all the injury difficulties, I think most fans would have taken it. But if you go 23-41 over the first 64 games of the season – a 58-win pace – that finishing ‘kick’ doesn’t do a whole lot of good.

Through 30 games this season, the Rox are 12-18 – a 65-win pace. It’s not acceptable, and not good enough. The Rockies organization has two options. They can wait for Clint Hurdle to be right, or they can acknowledge that even if he is, it’s not terribly likely to get this team to where its talent level, on paper, suggests it belongs.

There are no sure bets. The Rox could fire Hurdle and get hot. They could not fire him and get hot (they did win today, after all). They could fire him and finish like crap. They could keep him and I could hang myself by June 30th when the team is 15 games out of first place.

We’ll keep coming back every day to find out, though, because, as Joaquin Andujar said, “Youneverknow.”


To the commenter who suggested Grady Little as a potential future Rockies manager: NO.


Matt Daley in the seventh, Alan Embree in the eighth, and Huston Street to finish things off today. I can dig it. Are we done freaking out when Street comes in the game yet?

Saturday, May 9, 2009

5/8/09 - COL 3, FLA 8 - "It's Time For Change"

I’m not rich by any means, but if I were, and I could buy the Colorado Rockies tomorrow, here’s the first thing I’d do. I’d call a press conference, step up to the podium, and read this prepared statement…

“Two years ago, we celebrated the finest season in the history of the Colorado Rockies organization. A thrilling stretch run resulted in our second ever playoff appearance, and our first ever National League Championship and trip to the World Series. We reached those heights with a youthful, home-grown roster. 14 of the 25 players on our World Series roster had been originally drafted or signed by us.

“Since that time, while our minor league system remains strong and fruitful, the product at the major league level has not progressed. Rather, we have taken steps backward. We were not contenders in our division in 2008, and at this moment, we are in very real danger of no longer being division contenders in 2009 as well.

“So while I make this announcement with a certain level of regret and sadness, I have determined that it is time for a change in this organization. Therefore, as of today, manager Clint Hurdle and general manager Dan O’Dowd have been relieved of their duties.

“I believe that you will find no finer men than Clint and Dan. They are man of character and integrity, and represented this organization in a manner that all fans could be proud of. Without these two men, the 2007 NL Champions banner you see above the clock on the left field scoreboard at Coors Field would not be there. I sincerely thank them for their service and wish them the very best in their future endeavors, baseball or otherwise.

“However, our fans demand, and deserve, a commitment to success. We believe that the pieces are in place for long-term success. Our farm system has produced the core of our team the last three seasons, and many more highly regarded prospects are making their mark on our six minor league affiliate clubs. Nine members of our Opening Day roster are 26 years of age or younger, and all are counted on to be long-term contributors.

“On-field success has eluded us. We currently sit at 11-17, an unacceptable record for a team with the talent level I believe exists on the roster. We are 8.5 games out of first place in the National League West. Most damaging of all, we have been unable to pull ourselves out of this early season malaise. We have not achieved any sort of consistency.

“I can not guarantee that these personnel decisions will turn the franchise around. But at this point, it is a chance worth taking. It is a chance we must take. When the status quo is no longer good enough, changes have to be made.

“As to who will fill these vacancies, Jim Tracy will be our interim manager and Bill Geivett will serve as interim general manager. However, I intend to go outside the current organization to make long-term hires for both positions. It is time for new ideas, new philosophies, and a new attitude. The future of Rockies baseball can still be as bright as we imagined it to be two years ago if the right stewards are put in place.”


Oh, yeah, and if I were in charge, I have no idea who I’d want to manage, but my first phone call would definitely go to somebody who has worked with either the A’s or Twins – organizations that work under the same financial parameters the Rockies must work under and have experienced success. Someone like, oh, Paul DePodesta, for instance.


And I don’t know if anybody’s really going to get fired. I do know it’s going to continue to be hard to watch this ballclub until at least Clint Hurdle does.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

5/7/09 - COL 3, SF 8 - "That Other Thing That Happened Today"

I’m not sure why, exactly, the Rockies insist on following up strong all-around performances by coming out and looking like crap the game after. This isn’t the first time they’ve pulled this, and I’d bet on it not being the last. The Rox were sluggish at the plate and in the field, and Jason Marquis showed his ugly side for the first time since donning the purple and silver. The 8-3 loss only looked as respectable as it did because Ian “Master of the Meaningless Homer” Stewart hit a two-run jack with two out in the ninth.

Other than that, it was a brutal game, one I’m glad I skipped to go play golf after work (I heard the first three innings on the radio and decided that was enough). So let’s not talk about it. Anything else happen in baseball today?

Oh. Right.


My biggest problem with steroids – my only problem with them, really – is that they’re against the law and against the rules. If you violate baseball’s drug policy, you’ve broken the rules in search for an advantage. By definition, you’re a cheater. So for anyone who wants to hang that label on Manny Ramirez for the sake of demonizing the man and discrediting his career with that label… well, you aren’t wrong.

Just make sure you’re an equal opportunity labeler in this case. Because it’s when I found out that I wasn’t that I lost any real outrage I had about steroids.

I couldn’t justify feeling anger and disgust about the steroid use of Barry Bonds if I barely cared about Rafael Betancourt, Alex Sanchez, Jorge Piedra, Michael Morse, or any of the other players who were getting suspended for the same violations. And for that matter, I couldn’t muster indignation about steroid users at all if I couldn’t do it for guys like Brian Moehler, who doctored the ball, or Albert Belle, who corked his bat.

I couldn’t chant ‘STER-OIDS’ at the likes of A-Rod or Bonds if I wasn’t going to give the same treatment to Ryan Franklin. And I wasn’t, because since steroids didn’t turn Ryan Franklin into a perennial All-Star, how could they have had a dramatic effect on the true greats of the game?

Steroids aren’t some magic elixir. They didn’t make Manny Ramirez one of the most fearsome hitters of his generation.

So I’m mad at Manny for breaking the rule. I’m disappointed in his ignorance of the illegality of the substance he allegedly took at best, his naked desire to cheat at worst.

(Hypothetical here: hCG, the substance Manny is alleged to have tested positive for, can be used as a treatment for erectile dysfunction. If Manny’s having a little trouble… er, ‘being Manny’ in the nighttime hours, isn’t it feasible that he might ask for something that isn’t Viagra or Cialis or Levitra in order to avoid potential embarrassment that would come with being associated with those remedies? If you don’t think anyone would possibly consider that, ask Michael “Ron Mexico” Vick about his Valtrex prescription.)

Do I think Manny’s entire career as a baseball player has been discredited? In the absence of any evidence that A) he was using steroids his entire career, and B) steroids have a pronounced affect on production… no, I don’t. I’ll still be terrified seeing him at the plate when he faces the Rockies this year after his suspension ends. There’s no pill in the world to make that swing what it was, and is.

I’m not sad to see Manny suspended. I’m happy to see that the testing program works and that it punishes stupidity/cheating. But save the moral high ground for something more worthy. That’s all I ask.


Five Rockies I Am 100% Sure Never Used Steroids

1. Brian Bohanon
2. Walt Weiss
3. Ray King
4. Juan Pierre
5. Armando Reynoso

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

5/6/09 - COL 11, SF 1 - "With Ease"

When the Rockies win, they don’t mess around. They knock the ball all over the lot, litter the inning-by-inning scoreboard with crooked numbers, and coast through the final few frames. The Rox have won games 9-2, 10-3, 9-6, 10-4, 12-7, and tonight, 11-1. This evidence of the team’s offensive potency is the most encouraging thing about this season; however, the fact that they’re just as capable of getting shackled by the Josh Geers of the world as they are of lighting up the Randy Johnsons of the world is the most frustrating.

Tonight was easy, a game that would inspire confidence if the 11-15 record hadn’t put a clamp on such feelings. Yeah, fine, we know you can hit. Some nights, you can even pitch, too – Ubaldo Jimenez was splendid for seven plus and even Manny Corpas turned in an excellent, stress-free ninth inning. But it’s getting a little tiring waiting for the twain to meet more often. Now we’re starting to ask, and not politely, that the team live up to the expectations it spends nights like tonight showing it deserves.

All in all, a fun night to watch baseball, seeing the lesser-lights of the Rockies offense (Torrealba, Barmes, Murton) spark a blowout victory behind the return of a dominant Jimenez. A good friend of mine who had gone to the game with his fiancĂ©e called me well before the game just to catch up and brag about being about the game. I can’t lie, it made me jealous. I miss being at the yard.


Greatest Redheads In Rockies History:
1. Aaron Cook
2. John Thompson
3. Matt Murton


Does this season feel like a throwback to the early part of this decade to you? The pitching’s erratic, and the hitter who looks best at the plate, and it’s not even close, is Todd Helton. His last at-bat tonight was a thing of beauty, as he worked Osiris Matos for a 14 pitch at-bat, fouling off enough two strikes pitches that Matos finally gave in and tossed up a cockshot down the middle, saying in effect, “Fine, dude, have this one.” To which Helton replied, “Cool, dude, I’m going to put this in the bullpen if that’s alright.” Which he did, for his third homer of the year. Helton’s hitting .340 and showing pop. He looks 28 again. And man, is it ever fun to watch.

Friday, May 1, 2009

5/1/09 - COL 2, @ SF 3 - "(Annoyed Grunt)"

Another damned one-run loss tonight. That’s six of them now in 21 games, with nary a win of our own by the smallest margin. If we go 0-fer on one-run ballgames this season, I’ll have an ulcer by June, be bald by July, and be dead by August.

But try as I might to be sullen and grumpy after losses, I still see too many positives. Ubaldo Jimenez finally looked like his old self tonight, although the crappy weather in San Francisco contributed to some wildness that cost him a crucial run in the third inning. Chris Iannetta went deep again, and although he and Troy Tulowitzki only had one hit apiece, they continue to look more comfortable at the plate. Matt Daley, the rookie, turned in a clean 8th inning and looked like he might be a guy that starts to see some more chances.

If Randy Johnson doesn’t turn in a vintage Big Unit performance – seven innings, four hits, no walks, nine Ks – it’s a different ballgame. But he beat the Rox tonight, beat them like the Hall of Famer he is, and you gotta tip your cap to him.

That’s baseball, beautiful and frustrating, often all at once, where you’d love to appreciate a turn-back-the-clock pitching performance by one of the greatest lefties of all time if only it wasn’t your favorite team’s ass that he was breaking it off in.


The Best Lefty Pitchers of All Time:

1. Lefty Grove
2. Warren Spahn
3. Randy Johnson
4. Sandy Koufax
5. Steve Carlton


Matt Daley kinda looks like Craig Kilborn, doesn’t he?


Manny Corpas was the first guy to get savaged on this blog, and I don’t intend to do that very often, but if Garrett Atkins doesn’t start driving the ball to the gaps and soon, he’s going to be next. Can we at least get him out of the cleanup spot while he struggles to find the semblance of hitting ability he’s shown before?

But he does have one more homer than Matt Holliday does this season. So there’s that. Speaking of the former Rockie, how bad would Holliday’s 2009 have to be before he called Dan O’Dowd himself and begged for that four-year, $72 million offer the Rox made him last winter? Whatever the answer is, I sense he’s on pace for that kind of season. Just saying.