Sunday, July 29, 2012

Colorado Rockies should hold on to Rafael Betancourt and Matt Belisle

The Rockies should be very hesitant to trade this guy away.
Trade season is here and the Colorado Rockies are sellers. There is no doubt about that.

The team has already dealt Jeremy Guthrie and Marco Scutaro, two veterans brought in to stabilize the clubhouse. Next in line would be Ramon Hernandez, and Jason Giambi if he wasn't on the 15-day disabled list. However, word is out that the team may consider dealing Rafael Betancourt.

Betancourt is signed through 2013 with an option for 2014. He is making $4 million in 2012, with a raise to $4.25 million in 2013. In the real world that is more money than most people would ever dream of. In baseball terms, however, that is pretty inexpensive for a dominant late-inning reliever.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Colorado Rockies victims of their own theory

Christian Friedrich has shown some flashes of serious talent.
The Colorado Rockies should apologize to Christian Friedrich and the rest of the starting pitching staff.

On Saturday night at Coors Field, the rookie took the mound against the hottest team in baseball, the Cincinnati Reds. The lefty pitched his way through the first inning in just eight pitches, looking like he had his best stuff.

When the Rockies offense scored three runs in the bottom half of the 1st inning off of Johnny Cueto, it looked like Colorado might be in pretty good shape. Then came the home run barrage by the Reds.

In the top of the 2nd inning, Ryan Ludwick and Todd Frazier both hit no-doubt home runs. Ludwick's landed on the pavilion above the left field bleachers. In the top of the 3rd inning, Drew Stubbs joined the action, knocking a solo shot of his own.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Jim Tracy at his finest in Colorado Rockies loss

Jim Tracy did it again on Friday night.
If anyone still believes that Jim Tracy is a good Major League manager, they weren't watching Friday night's game.

Once again, Tracy's lack of understanding of how outs work. In the 5th inning with the Rockies down 2-0, Todd Helton led off with a single. Wilin Rosario hit into a fielders choice, forcing Helton out at second base. Jordan Pacheco then laced a double to left-center field. After Josh Rutledge struck out, Drew Pomeranz, who had already delivered 73 pitches, came to the plate.

Common sense would suggest the easy decision. Pomeranz was two pitches short of his limit and he had already given the team five strong innings, giving up only two runs. He gave the Rockies a chance to win the game. However, Tracy defied conventional wisdom and allowed Pomeranz to hit for himself. He grounded out to first base, stranding the two runners on base.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Colorado has passionate fans, results in high attendance at Coors Field

As Peyton Manning took the field for the first time in an orange and blue practice jersey, nearly 4,000 on-lookers cheered.

The Denver Broncos opened training camp, and on a Thursday, a work day for most, passionate fans poured through the gates at Dove Valley to watch the team that hasn't finished above .500 since 2006 stretch and go through the most basic of drills.

Sure, the excitement about Manning coming to town was the big draw, but these fans are eager not for a winning record, but for a title contender. They passionately believe, whether correct or dead wrong, that the Broncos will be hoisting the Lombardi Trophy in New Orleans in February.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Colorado Rockies should trade Jeff Francis

The Rockies should trade Jeff Francis.
The Colorado Rockies did on Wednesday night what they seem to do only when Jeff Francis takes the mound. They won.

Wednesday night's game was the latest strong performance from Francis, who was the butt of many jokes when he was re-acquired by the Rockies in June. In the face of his doubters, all Francis has done is prove that even with diminished velocity, he can still get Major League hitters out.

In avoiding the sweep in Arizona, Francis pitched six innings, giving up two runs on five hits, two of which were solo home runs. Again, the impressive stat for the Canadian lefty is from the base on balls category. He walked only one Diamondback batter, keeping himself out of trouble.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Lost in the Colorado Rockies poor play is Jim Tracy's horrible moves

The 2012 season for the Colorado Rockies is going even worse than what most expected.

The passionate fans that remain mainly direct their ire at general manager Dan O'Dowd. He is the author of the "piggy-back" pitching situation, which was immediately a joke around the league. He is the founder of the theory that pitching at altitude creates massive injuries that end pitchers careers.

With all of the fire being directed in O'Dowd's direction, and the Rockies a long way from trying to convince anyone that they are in the race, Jim Tracy quietly continues to make terrible moves. If this team was anywhere near contending, some of the moves that Tracy has been pulling the trigger on would be getting far more criticism.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Colorado Rockies continue to struggle, drop opener in Arizona

Carlos Torres pitched well on Monday night.
Jonathan Sanchez fits right in with the Colorado Rockies.

The former San Francisco Giant, then Kansas City Royal made his Colorado Rockies debut on Monday night in Phoenix. The lefty went four innings, giving up five earned runs on six hits. He struck out five but walked four, an issue Sanchez has dealt with his entire career.

The pitching has been the issue. That might be the most obvious statement made in the history of Major League Baseball. However, if this Rockies team even had decent starting pitching, their record would be closer to .500 rather than potentially losing 100 games.

A poor pitching performance from Sanchez was all the Diamondbacks needed with Ian Kennedy on the mound. The 20-game-winner from a year ago pitched eight innings, giving up two runs on five hits. He struck out seven and didn't walk a batter. It was a performance that the Rockies would love to see just once or twice from their starting pitchers.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Colorado Rockies offense disappears in loss to Padres

Christian Friedrich has been a big confidence boost for the Rockies.
Christian Friedrich may be the biggest positive in a very negative season for the Colorado Rockies.

Heading into spring training, the 2008 1st round draft choice had all of the markings of a bust. His progress had stalled. In his second season in Double-A Tulsa in 2011, Friedrich had posted an ERA of 5.05. He didn't win a game after June.

Suddenly, the Western Kentucky product was staring at his last chance to make an impression before being written off as a minor league roster filler.

Colorado Rockies win in 12th behind Jordan Pacheco's big night

Jordan Pacheco is quietly having a great rookie year.
Jordan Pacheco can hit. There is no denying that fact.

Three weeks ago, when Colorado Rockies general manager Dan O'Dowd addressed season ticket holders, there was a question about Pacheco from the audience. The man asking the question acknowledged that he was from New Mexico, where Pacheco is from, and therefore was biased towards him. However, he wanted to see how impressed O'Dowd was with the third baseman.

The fan didn't get the answer he was hoping for, as O'Dowd was very quick to say that if Pacheco wants to be a regular, he needs to hit for more power.

At this rate, O'Dowd might have a hard time convincing anyone that Pacheco shouldn't be in the everyday lineup somewhere.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Tough to care as Colorado Rockies play on

Baseball doesn't seem to matter after the day Colorado had.
The Colorado Rockies played a baseball game on Friday night in San Diego. Carlos Gonzalez hit a grand slam. Earlier in the day, the Rockies dealt Jeremy Guthrie to the Kansas City Royals. The Rockies lost the game 9-5, but it didn't really matter.

It all seemed pretty meaningless when compared with what the state that they call home is dealing with.

The Rockies were classy. They honored the victims of the Aurora theatre shooting with a jersey in the dugout, they also wore eye black with the date on it. It was classy, but it would probably be a fair assumption to think that most fans really weren't interested in a win or a loss on this day.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Jeremy Guthrie making his case to be the worst acquisition in Colorado Rockies history

Jeremy Guthrie may have made his last pitch as a Rockie.
The hits keep coming for the Colorado Rockies...or, more appropriately, the hits keep coming for those batters opposing the Colorado Rockies. The Rockies lost a 5-1 lead to the Pirates, and the baseball game, 9-6 on Wednesday.

It would have been a bad trade even if Jason Hammel hadn't performed well for the Baltimore Orioles.

Being honest, Guthrie was just a marginal Major League pitcher before the trade. The idea that he was an ace was rooted in the fact that the Oriole team he pitched for was so bad that he became the guy who pitched on Opening Day by default.

What Guthrie has become has never been as apparent as the scene that took place in the 3rd inning. When opposing pitcher James McDonald stepped to the plate with two outs in the frame, Jim Tracy went to the mound to take the ball from Guthrie. When a manager doesn't think his starting pitcher is capable of getting the opposing pitcher out, the confidence is at an all-time low.

Colorado Rockies pitching theory may be backfiring

Is Dan O'Dowd's theory backfiring on his young pitchers?
Dan O'Dowd's theory may be dismantling right in front of him.

On Tuesday night at Coors Field, Christian Friedrich pitched well enough to keep his team in the game--until the 5th inning. In the fifth frame, the rookie lefty had everything set up in his favor. He was facing the bottom of the Pirates order and he was well below the Rockies self-imposed 75 pitch limit.

However, Friedrich walked Mike McKenry, then walked Clint Barmes to runners on first and second, an easy sacrifice situation for Pirate pitcher Erik Bedard. Bedard laid down the sacrifice, moving the runners over. Friedrich got Alex Presley to ground out, scoring a run, but it looked like he was going to limit the damage.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Colorado Rockies walk off with win after blowing three run lead

Dexter Fowler delivered the game-winning sac fly on Monday night.
In the year that is 2012 for the Colorado Rockies, there was no other way for play to resume after the rain delay in the top of the 9th inning.

Poised to win 4-1, giving Jeff Francis another win in what has been a phenomenal homecoming, the Rockies win was put on ice after the Pirates had put two men on base with one out. With Pedro Alvarez, a power-hitting lefty stepped to the plate, third base umpire Gary Cederstrom felt that the rain had become unplayable and he called for the tarp to come out.

After an hour and nine minute rain delay, Rex Brothers took the mound in place of Rafael Betancourt. One quick ground ball and the game would be over. Not so fast. Brothers first pitch to Alvarez was a belt-high fastball that the left hander deposited deep into the empty left field bleachers.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Colorado Rockies young players gaining valuable experience

The Rockies are going to have to give time to their young arms.
Nothing was too special, or too unexpected from Sunday's Colorado Rockies 5-1 loss to the Philadelphia Phillies.

Cole Hamels pitched like an ace who will be highly coveted as a free agent in the offseason. Drew Pomeranz pitched like a rookie with a ton of promise, but still making small mistakes that are common of players with a lack of big league experience.

Pomeranz big mistake came in the 5th inning when he gave up a single to Jimmy Rollins. With the speedster on first base, Pomeranz attempted a pick off, but threw wildly to first, landed Rollins on second base. The lefty then walked Shane Victorino after looking like he was thrown off by the poor throw. Immediately following the walk, Hunter Pence deposited a three-run homer into left field, giving the Phillies five runs, and essentially ensuring the victory.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Jeremy Guthrie continues to struggle at Coors Field, Rockies lose

Jeremy Guthrie won't be around long.
Jeremy Guthrie made his first start for the Colorado Rockies at Coors Field since being demoted, then coming back to the starting rotation on Saturday night.

Despite working out of the bullpen at home since his last start on June 12th, the results were the same for the biggest offseason disappointment in recent years for the Rockies. The Rockies lost to the Phillies 8-5. Five batters into the game, the Rockies were down 4-0. The damage came on a double by Shane Victorino, a Chase Utley single, a walk to Ryan Howard and a long home run to Carlos Ruiz. Eight Phillies came to the plate before most fans had settled into their seats.

Guthrie settled down after the 1st inning, but the damage was done. Even for the best offenses, overcoming a four run deficit is difficult, it takes the wind out of the sails of the offense and requires nearly perfect pitching in the remaining eight innings in order to give the club a chance.

Josh Rutledge shines in Major League Debut for Colorado Rockies

It doesn't get much better for Josh Rutledge.
For Josh Rutledge, it doesn't get any better.

Two days ago the 23-year-old was in the starting lineup for the Double-A Tulsa Drillers. After the 4th inning he was removed from the game and told that he had been called up, not called up to Triple-A, called up to the big league level.

He would make his Major League debut on Friday night against the Phillies. Rutledge found himself in the starting lineup out of the game, playing shortstop and hitting eighth against Cliff Lee.

Forget that Lee has recorded only one win in the 2012 season. Forget that he doesn't look anywhere close to the Cliff Lee that has dominated over the past four seasons. This is still Cliff Lee, a man whose focus in the postseason has made him one of the richest pitchers in the history of the game. This is who Rutledge had to face on Friday.

If there were any nerves for Rutledge, they didn't show. In his first at-bat, he ripped an RBI double to give the Rockies a 1-0 lead in the 2nd inning.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Colorado Rockies will be better in the second half. Count on it.

Drew Pomeranz is a bright spot in the Rockies 2nd half.
Every bit of criticism that the Colorado Rockies have received has been well deserved. It is extremely difficult to find any positives in this horrible season. In fact, the truth is, the Rockies probably deserve even more criticism than what blogs, newspaper articles, and local radio shows have thrown their way.

This is a terrible team. It isn't just the players on the field. It is a top-to-bottom failure. From ownership to the scouting department to the players on the field, this franchise has been terrible.

The good news is, however, the worst is behind the 2012 Rockies.

Most people think that is a crazy statement. Most who follow the club know that the trend suggests that the team that is on pace to lose 100 games for the first time in franchise history is only going to get worse as the season goes on.

However, that might not be the case. In all of the losing, the talent on this team is starting to surface. Instead of pitchers like Jamie Moyer wasting innings for the Rockies, the team is letting it's young talent gain valuable experience. Jeremy Guthrie, another albatross in the Rockies staff, should soon be shipped off to a team looking for another arm for the stretch.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

What to expect from the Colorado Rockies in the second half

Wilin Rosario has been a bright spot for the Rockies in 2012.
In a way, the home run derby and the All-Star game was very fitting for Colorado Rockies fans.

The Rockies had a participant in each in the form of Carlos Gonzalez, but he made little impact while the guys around him put on the real show. It was strangely symbolic for a team that has been as bad as any team in the league throughout the first half of the season.

With the Denver Broncos set to open training camp in a little more than two weeks, the Rockies are soon to be an afterthought in Denver. The clamoring for Dan O'Dowd to be fired will turn into clamoring over how many victories Peyton Manning will lead the Broncos to.

So what else do Rockies fans have to look forward to in 2012?

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Colorado Rockies finish first half the way the way they should have played all year

If Jeremy Guthrie had been even decent, the season would be better.
If this Jeremy Guthrie would have shown up at the beginning, the Colorado Rockies might be in a different position.

The embattled right-hander went six strong innings, giving up just two runs on six hits. He struck out three and walked only one. The lone mistake Guthrie made was driven by Ian Desmond over the wall for a two-run homer.

The performance was what Dan O'Dowd had expected when he traded Jason Hammel and Matt Lindstrom for the veteran "innings-eater." He thought he was going to get a guy who would pitch to contact, give up a few hits, but find ways to get outs and keep his team in the game long enough for the offense to throw a punch.

On Sunday, Guthrie gave his offense a chance to win, and the offense took advantage. The decisive blow came off of Eric Young, Jr.'s bat. He launched a pinch-hit home run to lead off the 8th inning, helping propel the Rockies to a comeback 4-3 victory over the best team in the National League.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Colorado Rockies victims of their own sloppy baseball

Jeff Francis was the lone bright spot.
Don't let the score fool you. The Colorado Rockies lost 4-1 in Washington on Saturday afternoon, but the visiting club was never in the game.

Lost in the poor starting pitching that has dominated the headlines for the Rockies has been their poor defense. Poor is just one of several words that can be used to describe the dysfunction that is the defensive approach for the Rockies.

On Saturday, the club committed four errors. The errors weren't questionable either, they were all ugly, sloppy errors that have no place on a big league field.

The 6th inning is when the circus music was playing at its loudest. After a wild pitch by Josh Roenicke, catcher Wilin Rosario made an ill-advised throw to second base in an attempt to throw out Ryan Zimmerman. The throw was wild, glancing off of Jonathan Herrera's glove and trickling to the side, allowing Bryce Harper to score easily from third base.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Colorado Rockies show off talent that had fans believing in April

Drew Pomeranz was incredible on Friday night.
There is no way that this Colorado Rockies team should lose 100 baseball games.

Rockies fans got a break from negativity on Friday night as the team put on an exhibit showing why they should be closer to the top of the standings than the bottom. The spotlight for Friday night's game was supposed to be on a young pitcher and a young hitter, but going into the game, it was supposed to be a young pitcher and hitter from the Washington Nationals.

Instead, the Rockies stole the stage. Drew Pomeranz was simply phenomenal. He gave a glimpse into the level of talent he possesses and the mentality that he brings to the mound. His 6-1/3 innings of one-hit baseball was enough to show that he was probably left for far too long in Colorado Springs.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Colorado Rockies see what good baseball actually looks like

Despite a poor 5th inning, Friedrich gave reason to be hopeful.
It is almost unbearable to watch. The Colorado Rockies are so bad, and the outcome is so predictable that it isn't worth wasting a summer night to watch them play, and presumably lose again.

That was the case on Thursday in St. Louis, as the Rockies dropped their 51st game of the season 6-2, dropping 3-of-4 to the defending World Champions.

There were a few compelling reasons to watch. First, rookie lefty Christian Friedrich was on the mound for the Rockies. Despite an ERA that sits just below six, he has been one of the bright spots for the Rockies in a season full of darkness. He has been shelled a few times, but extremely dominant other times. His stuff is one of the few things that gives a glimmer of hope.

Once again, Friedrich looked like a pitcher getting comfortable at the big league level. He pitched four strong innings before unraveling in the 5th. Even in an inning where he gave up five runs, he had a moment where he looked as if he is growing up. After a base hit and two walks, the second coming to Cardinals pitcher Lance Lynn, who was trying to sacrifice bunt, Friedrich was in a jam. The bases were loaded with no one out and the top of the lineup coming up.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Colorado Rockies reach halfway point right on pace for 100 losses

The Rockies should take whatever they can get for Guthrie.
The Colorado Rockies and the Los Angeles Angels are the only two franchises who have never lost 100 games in a season.

That might change if the Rockies keep the same pace in the second half that they have been on in the first.

Dropping the Independence Day game 4-1 to the World Champion St. Louis Cardinals, the Rockies hit the halfway point at exactly 31-50. Double that and the magic number is 62-100. Unacceptable for anyone who roots for the team, but possibly acceptable for the people running it.

Game 81 was a fitting way to finish off the first half. It was as bland as many of the other games the Rockies weren't really ever in. The positive for Colorado is that they may have received a good enough start from Jeremy Guthrie to push his trade value up enough to get more than a few batting practice baseballs for him.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Colorado Rockies win despite head-scratching moves

Jeff Francis has been great in his past four starts.
Three hours before game time, Colorado Rockies manager Jim Tracy told the media that he was relaxing the 75-pitch limit for his starting pitchers.

Five innings in, and everything Tracy had said went out the window.

Despite another phenomenal outing by Jeff Francis, the Rockies failed to let conventional wisdom prevail. In fact, once again, Tracy took the lack of brilliance to a new head-scratching level.

Francis had thrown 77 pitches through five innings of work. Based on Tracy's comments, the lefty figured to throw at least one more inning, despite being due up third in the top of the 6th inning. It appeared as if that would be the case and Francis would continue on when he strolled to the plate to take his at-bat with two outs in the inning.

However, anyone who has watched Tracy manage baseball games knows that to assume Francis would throw another pitch would be assuming too much.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Colorado Rockies continue to prove their theories incorrect

The Rockies issues run deeper than the losses on the field.
One thing is clear. The Colorado Rockies pitching struggles have nothing to do with Coors Field.

As the club dropped another game, losing 9-3 to the St. Louis Cardinals, they got to see what a good looking baseball team looks like. They got to see a team that doesn't make excuses, a team that lost it's franchise player, and is still in a position to make a run to the postseason.

The Rockies can continue down their self-imposed 75-pitch limit for starting pitchers, but really, nothing will be solved by silly theories until the root of the problem is discovered. What is that problem? The talent isn't where it needs to be to compete at the big league level.

Whether the pitchers are young, or simply not good enough is besides the point. The Rockies need to either figure out how to develop their pitchers, or find a way to bring in already developed talent. The latter of the two isn't going to happen anytime soon, so the answer is to develop pitchers better.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Colorado Rockies shut down by Kip Wells and the San Diego Padres

Pomeranz showed the he belongs in the big leagues.
Kip Wells dominated the Colorado Rockies at Coors Field on Sunday. Yes, that Kip Wells.

Dan O'Dowd must feel really good about his excuse-laden diatribe that he went on during a season ticket holder conference call on Wednesday. In the call he made it very clear that Coors Field simply is playing differently than it has in the past. He said that traditional baseball just doesn't work there. Pitching in the park is impossible, according to O'Dowd.

Well, Kip Wells might disagree. The former Rockie, former Royal, former Cardinal, but mostly former minor leaguer who has a career record of 68-100 pitched seven shutout innings against the Rockies on Sunday. The shutout came on a hot, dry day at Coors Field, when the ball usually flies out of the park.

The seven innings that Wells threw were good enough to net a victory, as the Rockies couldn't scratch a run across the plate. They had just six hits against the righty. The win was Wells' first since 2009 when he wore a Cincinnati Reds uniform.