Saturday, August 31, 2013

Greg Reynolds shuts down Colorado Rockies as Todd Helton comes up short in bid for 2,500 hits

Todd Helton waits another day for hit no. 2,500
The statement can finally be put to rest. When Greg Reynolds was struggling for the Colorado Rockies, fans would constantly hark back to the failed 2006 draft in which the Rockies selected Reynolds second overall.

Reynolds become a Rockie, then Evan Longoria went to Tampa Bay, Clayton Kershaw went to the Dodgers, Tim Lincecum went to the Giants, and Max Scherzer.

Well, on Saturday night at Coors Field, Reynolds proved that he is a better player than all of those guys. Just kidding. The Rockies, however, made him look just as dominant as those guys. He returned to Coors Field and pitched like he had never pitched before. At least when he was wearing purple pinstripes.

Reynolds went eight innings. He gave up three runs, two of which came in the 8th with the game well in hand. He gave up seven hits, walked none and struck out five. The brilliance was something that Rockies fans never had a chance to see. Unfortunately for those fans, the first time they got to see it came against the Rockies.

Todd Helton storming closer to 2500 hits as remarkable career comes to a close for Colorado Rockies

Rockies fans should give Todd Helton the ovation he deserves.
Maybe it should be called Heltember. The Colorado Rockies are playing for nothing in the final month of the season, so why not honor the guy who put them on the map?

Todd Helton, the grizzly veteran who leads the Rockies in every offensive category--save triples--showed that he isn't done quite yet. On Friday night against a Cincinnati Reds team in desperate need of a few wins in town, Helton basically ensured that the Reds would be in for a fight this weekend.

The first baseman launched a no-doubt, 3-run home run deep into the Rockies bullpen in right-center field in the 4th inning with two men on. The bomb broke a 1-1 tie and gave Jorge De La Rosa, the Rockies starter, some wiggle room.

Helton drilled a 1-0 change-up from Bronson Arroyo with a vintage Helton swing. There was no doubt about the result.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Jhoulys Chacin takes no hitter into seventh inning as he continues making his mark for Colorado Rockies

Jhoulys Chacin flirted with a no-hitter for the Rockies on Wednesday.
The Colorado Rockies haven't had a great season. They haven't had much to be excited about. Wednesday night, however, was a night that will go down as one of the top moments in the 2013 season.

Jhoulys Chacin, in the midst of a breakout season, flirted with a no-hitter into the 7th inning on Wednesday night at Coors Field. Chacin didn't give up a hit until Brandon Crawford looped a fastball into center field with two outs in the 7th inning.

Chacin was brilliant. He mixed all of his pitches, keeping the Giants off-balance for the entire duration of the outing. On Wednesday, a night after manager Walt Weiss didn't know if he would be available after a upper-respiratory issues were effecting him on Tuesday. The sickness didn't seem to be an issue, as Chacin went out and dominated.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

A little progress shouldn't be enough for the Colorado Rockies

Is the 2013 season a success or failure for the Colorado Rockies?
With April enthusiasm tempered and reality building a strong foundation, the average Colorado Rockies fan must ask what kind of progress is enough to be satisfied with a 2013 season that looks like it will be better than 2012.

When describing the 2013 season, it is easy to use the words "disappointing," or " rough." Every time those words pop up, however, the question must be asked, is the Rockies season really all that disappointing? Has it been rough?

The Rockies lost 98 games in 2012. That is rough. Is it still a rough season when the team the very next season has a chance to equal the win total with a whole month left to play? There has been no "Road to 100," there has been no concern about being the worst team in baseball. That alone means that there has been progress.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Juan Nicasio takes a step forward in confidence building start for Colorado Rockies

Juan Nicasio had his best start of 2013 on Monday.
The Colorado Rockies put plenty of weight on the shoulders of Juan Nicasio heading into the 2013 season.

After making a total of 24 starts in his Major League career, and having both of his big league seasons cut short due to injury, Nicasio was asked to be the 4th starter in a rotation that was widely expected to be the worst in the league.

Nicasio had never thrown a pitch at Triple-A, called up from Double-A when Jorge De La Rosa was injured in May of 2011, the Dominican was truly still a project when he was forced to make his Major League debut. His fastball was live, but the off-speed pitches weren't there yet. He was talented enough to make the jump and develop at the big league level.

That thought may have been true. However, everything changed in August of 2011 when Ian Desmond drilled him in the head with a line drive. After amazingly returning less than a year later, things weren't quite the same. His mechanics were slightly different, and as Woody Paige of the Denver Post said, he had to make adjustments because of a lack of mobility in his neck.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Jorge De La Rosa notches 14th win as Nolan Arenado continues his impressive rookie season

Nolan Arenado has had an impressive rookie season for the Rockies.
Take a look at the stats and it doesn't seem very impressive.

Nolan Arenado is hitting .264 for the Colorado Rockies in his rookie campaign. He has an on-base percentage of just .301, he has nine home runs and 43 RBIs. As far as stats go, Arenado has put together a fairly average rookie season. Not great, but not bad either.

However, anyone watching this team knows that Arenado's contributions to the Rockies go much further than the stats say. To start, has their been a play that Arenado can't make at third base? In the Rockies quest to find an everyday third baseman who will stick, the California native seems to have made enough web gems at third base to make up for the lost time that the revolving door at the position provided since Vinny Castilla left.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

As Todd Helton's final month approaches with Colorado Rockies, the question is will he make the Hall of Fame?

Todd Helton will quietly finish his career next month.
The next month will probably go just as Todd Helton would have planned it.

As Denver and the rest of Colorado turn their eyes towards the Broncos and their chances of winning the Super Bowl, the Colorado Rockies will play out the final string of games with barely any fanfare. It is a common scenario.

This season, however, is different. Helton has all but announced that he won't be returning to the team next year, fading into retirement with no party, no honorary Todd Helton day, no hoopla and very little talk about it. In some ways, it seems like a slap in the face to the guy who owns every offensive record in club history, and will for a long time. In other ways, it seems like the perfect way for a guy like Helton to go out.

There is no arguing that Helton's better days are long behind him. The fans that jumped on the Rockies bandwagon during the 2007 run never got to see the Helton that quietly put up numbers that no one in the game of baseball had put up. Those days came when the Rockies were seeking an identity and Helton was the only player worthy of purchasing a ticket to see.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Colorado Rockies scratch out a win for Jhoulys Chacin

Jhoulys Chacin has been phenomenal all season long for the Rockies.
The stat-geeks claim that pitcher's wins is one of the most overrated stats in baseball. It makes some sense, why does a pitcher who gave up one run in seven innings get a loss when his team doesn't score, then another pitcher gets a win when he gives up five runs in five innings because his team offense crushed it.

The Colorado Rockies have been giving credence to that claim for the better part of the 2013 season. On Friday night in Miami, it was no different.

Jhoulys Chacin, returning to the team after going back to his native Venezuela following the death of his grandmother, was absolutely phenomenal. His performance was something that the Rockies have become used to in his breakout 2013 campaign. He went seven innings, giving up two runs on four hits. He struck out five and walked four. After not giving up hit until the 5th inning, Chacin left the game on the hook for the loss when his offense struggled to hit.

Off-season decisions are going to be tough for Colorado Rockies fans

Rockies fans are going to make tough choices if nothing changes.
Chad Bettis will have to wait at least one more start before picking up his first Major League win on the mound.

The rookie looked like he was going to pick up the win, giving the Colorado Rockies a split of the four game series with Philadelphia before Josh Outman, Matt Belisle, Rafael Betancourt, and Jeff Francis, of all pitchers, combined to give up four runs in 1-2/3 innings. The final blow was a walk-off single from Dominic Brown.

There simply isn't much to like about a walk-off loss. When it happens in consecutive days, it makes it even worse. When the team's closer who has been as steady as can be since he was acquired in 2009 goes down with an elbow injury, it makes it even worse.

Elbow injuries and 38-year-old pitches don't tend to mix well. The Rockies will find out shortly if Betancourt's injury is serious or something that might only set him back a few weeks. Of course, the hope is that it isn't serious, but it isn't a good sign for the club, and it certainly wasn't good to see Betancourt blow his second consecutive save.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Phillies beat Colorado Rockies in walk-off fashion, but Juan Nicasio shows growth

Juan Nicasio has actually enjoyed success with one real pitch.
Walk-off losses sting whether they are in April or September, whether the team is 20 games over .500 or 20 games under .500. The sting just seems to go away a little quicker when it's August and the race is over.

At this point, with the Rockies buried in the National League West race, and nowhere near the wild card leaders, wins and losses are still important, but it becomes easier to focus on the silver linings of losses, rather than their impact on the pennant race.

On Wednesday night in Philadelphia, one of those silver linings started shining through. After a very difficult first half of the season, Rockies starter Juan Nicasio has looked very good in his return to the big leagues. On Wednesday night, he went 5-2/3 innings, giving up one earned run on seven hits.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Jorge De La Rosa continues incredible season as Nolan Arenado amazes again

It's fun to watch Jorge De La Rosa pitch.
Poor Jorge De La Rosa.

All the Colorado Rockies left-hander does is go out and dominate. However, it seems in every one of his games, something else happens that makes his continued outstanding performance become a subplot.

On Tuesday night it happened again.

With the Rockies up 5-3 in the 7th inning and two men on base, Nolan Arenado made a play to rob Jimmy Rollins of a game-tying double. Arenado ranged to the 3rd base line, snagged the grounder, jumped and threw in time for Todd Helton to be able to tag Rollins on his way to first base. Well, in time for Helton to tag Rollins according to first base umpire Jim Wolf, who is all that matters.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Colorado Rockies rally falls short as Manship continues sinking

The Jeff Manship has sailed. 
Sometimes numbers lie. That is the case with the Colorado Rockies offense.

Despite trailing only the Atlanta Braves and St. Louis Cardinals for the most runs in the National League, the Rockies offense is a huge disappointment.

When the Rockies score runs, they come in bunches, as seen a week ago when the team scored 14 runs against the Padres in a rain-delayed affair. Often times, the Rockies will score seven or eight runs in a game, then watch the bats go cold for four or five days, then return to score another large number of runs.

In the end, the average number of runs and the total number of runs look very good on paper, but the reality is, many of those runs are hollow, scored after the game has been decided, padding a large lead.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

In a tough season, young Colorado Rockies give signs for optimism

Corey Dickerson has shown signs of being a good Major League player.
It's tough to put lipstick on the pig that is the 2013 Colorado Rockies.

The Rockies are not contenders, they have gaping holes both in the back end of their starting rotation, in their lineup and on their bench. However, their have been many good aspects of this team. There have been some reasons to think that this club isn't that far away from being very good.

One of those reasons has been well documented on this blog, as well as others. The starting rotation has three members that give them team more than a chance to win every time they take the mound. Jhoulys Chacin showed that on Sunday, once again. Despite not having his best stuff, he still only gave up three runs in 5-1/3 innings against a very good hitting Baltimore Orioles team. No one is going to say that it was a great outing, but he never let the game slip through the cracks. He battled and kept his team in it.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

What you will hear from the Colorado Rockies in the next few weeks

Bill Geivett will be on the excuse-tour shortly.
It is very predictable. The thing about having a front office that stays largely the same since before the Y2K panic, is that their moves are easy to see coming. The Colorado Rockies will be dusting off the same old stories very shortly.

After a loss to the Orioles, dropping the second game of the three-game set 8-4 behind another sloppy performance, highlighted by a bad error from Troy Tulowitzki that led to a seven run 3rd inning, things are becoming very clear for where this team needs to improve.

However, those improvements that are so obvious to many of the people who follow this team day-in and day-out won't be acknowledged by this front office. In fact, there will be a myriad of excuses that will be told to the media and fans alike.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Offense moving in the right direction as Colorado Rockies win opener in Baltimore

Nolan Arenado took a phenomenal at-bat on Friday. (Getty Images)
Six runs in a road game? Most thought the Colorado Rockies would score six runs on the entire 10-game road trip.

The Rockies belted four home runs on Friday night in a 6-3 win over the Baltimore Orioles. Juan Nicasio threw six strong innings, giving up just two runs. He settled in after giving up a lead off home run to Nate McLouth in the 1st inning.

The home runs and the solid pitching was a welcomed sight for Rockies fans, but what fans should take away from the game on Friday wasn't about the long balls, or what happened on the mound.

The biggest positive to take away for Rockies fans came in the 5th inning. Wilin Rosario lead off the inning with a double to left field. After McLouth made a great catch going back on a Todd Helton fly ball, and a wild pitch that allowed Rosario to move to third base, Nolan Arenado was at the plate with a job to do.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

De La Rosa dazzles once again in Colorado Rockies win over the Padres

Remember Jorge De La Rosa's critics? Good luck finding them now.
Remember Ramon Ramirez? Some Colorado Rockies fan do. With all due respect to the right-handed middle reliever, there isn't a single Rockies fan who wants him back on the team.

Why bring up Ramirez? When he showed up to spring training out of shape in 2008, Dan O'Dowd shipped him to the Kansas City Royals in a controversial move for the defending National League Champions. Ramirez had shown promise, despite a large ERA, many Rockies fans thought that '08 would be his year.

Suddenly, he was gone, traded for a player to be named later. A month later, the Royals sent the Rockies back that player. His name was Jorge De La Rosa. The move was heavily criticized. De La Rosa was a highly-talented left-handed starter. He threw in the mid-90's and possessed a slider that was as good as anyone in the league. However, he wore his emotions on his sleeve. When something bad happened, instead of minimizing the damage, he would let the inning spiral out of control.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Colorado Rockies can't keep streak alive as Jeff Manship struggles, underscores lack of depth

Jeff Manship was asked to make another start for the Rockies.
Jeff Manship was given an opportunity to pitch in an emergency situation last Thursday in New York. He pitched five decent innings, enough to give the Colorado Rockies confidence to let him get another start.

Or was it because the Rockies had no option?

Either way, the Rockies had Manship on the hill for his second start of the season, and he pitched the way a guy who was sporting a 4.85 ERA in Triple-A might pitch at the big league level.

After the Rockies offense got things going in the 1st inning, scoring four runs and giving Manship a three-run cushion, the Rockies call-up proceeded to give the lead away, allowing the Padres to score four runs of their own in the top of the 3rd inning.

Is gambling popular among former players?

For the last few years, casinos and particularly poker have exploded in popularity, helped at least partly by the slew of famous sports stars who have turned to professional poker, whether that’s online or in casinos. It seems there is a direct correlation between successful sports players and an ability to play poker at the highest of levels.

Baseball players in particular have been getting in on the act with many former Major League players showing up at poker tournaments and in online casinos around the world. It’s likely that the skills necessary to become a world class baseball player translate well when it comes to the poker table. The same intense concentration is needed, as well as staying power, a calm demeanour and a willingness to take calculated risks. It’s no surprise that many baseball players have been showing great skill in the casinos.

Former Major League starting pitcher Orel Leonard Hershiser IV is a great example of a baseball player who is showing an increasing level of skill at high stakes games, and has the wins to prove it. Currently a professional poker player for PokerStars, Hershiser is also a three time All Star and won the Cy Young Award, NLCS MVP and World Series MVP with the Dodgers back in the late 80s. He holds many records, including for pitching the most scoreless innings consecutively and has had a full and glorious baseball career.

Colorado Rockies run streak to four straight behind Jhoulys Chacin's gem, offensive outburst

Jhoulys Chacin has had a breakthrough season for the Rockies.
Who would have ever thought this? The Colorado Rockies one of the best one-two punches at the top of their rotation in all of the National League.

When Jorge De La Rosa has a good outing, it seems like it puts a charge into Jhoulys Chacin to go out and have a great game himself, then De La Rosa raises the bar a little higher, and Chacin tries to match. In a year of overall disappointment for the Rockies, the silver lining has come from two guys who most didn't give the credit that they deserved, including the front office of the Colorado Rockies.

On Monday night, the Rockies ran their winning streak to four games, which feels like 15 straight after a 5-5 homestand against the National League's worst, followed by a 1-9 road trip that they barely showed up for.

The win on Monday came courtesy of an offense that looked like the one that was advertised at the beginning of the season. They put up eight runs before a 1:03 rain delay, then came back and scored another six in the 8th inning to turn a beating into a laugher.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Solid performance from Bettis, clutch hitting from Arenado help Colorado Rockies complete sweep of Pirates

Nolan Arenado has shown to be dependable late for the Rockies.
The Marlins and Brewers were too tough for the Colorado Rockies at home, but apparently the Pittsburgh Pirates, who flew into Denver with the best record in baseball, were no problem.

On Sunday, rookie Chad Bettis took the mound for the first time at Coors Field. His first start in Atlanta was a nerve-filled event that didn't end well. His second go-round was better in New York, but not good enough to get his first win.

In a 3-2 victory over the Pirates, Bettis didn't pick up his first big league win, but he certainly helped the Rockies complete their first sweep since April. In all, the rookie went six innings, giving up two runs on four hits. He struck out three and walked two. He was removed for a pinch hitter in the bottom half of the 6th inning, finishing his day with just 80 pitches thrown.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Exciting night at Coors Field ends in a Colorado Rockies victory

Dexter Fowler was a big contributor to the Rockies win on Saturday.
Saturday night's Colorado Rockies game is the kind of game that breeds new baseball fans.

It was the type of game that had someone with no rooting interest on the edge of their seat the whole night. Good pitching, clutch hitting, rallies, questionable calls, close plays, and momentum shifts were commonplace on Saturday. In the end, the Rockies won 6-4,

With Pirates starter A.J. Burnett fooling the Rockies at the plate, it looked like a familiar scenario might play out at Coors Field after Rockies starter Juan Nicasio gave up two runs in the top of the 6th inning to give the Pirates a 3-1 lead.

The standard story for the Rockies over the past two months has been to keep flailing at pitches out of the zone, swing for the fences, then wonder what happened when a potent lineup finished another game with only one run.

Friday, August 9, 2013

Colorado Rockies break out the bats after a team meeting

Wilin Rosario broke out in a big way for the Rockies.
After scoring three runs in three games, and a total of 23 runs in 10 games, the Colorado Rockies decided it was time for a meeting.

Apparently it worked. The club came out and looked more relaxed at the plate. The Rockies had 10 runs before the start of the 4th inning. The scoring was highlighted by Wilin Rosario, who busted out with a two run double in the bottom of the 1st inning to score the second and third runs of the game.

Rosario returned to the plate in the 2nd inning and launched a home run into the left field seats with two outs.

The double was a welcomed sight for Rosario not just because of the result, but also because of where the ball went. Rosario lined the pitch from Francisco Liriano down the right field line. For the past six weeks, the catcher has been struggling with hitting the ball the other way. He has been waving at pitches on the outside half of the plate, opening his hips and trying to pull the ball.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Colorado Rockies wave the white flag but they won't admit it

Dick Monfort either thinks Rockies fans are dumb, or it's the other way around.
The Colorado Rockies headed into game 10 of 10 on a pathetic road trip needing a win. Whether they are in the race or not, no team wants to go 1-9 on a road trip. Well, no team besides the Rockies, apparently.

Adding insult to injury, the Rockies "tried" to avoid a three game sweep at the hands of the Mets by putting a lineup on the field that looked more like a split-squad road game in the middle of March during spring training. Six of the nine starters weren't on the Opening Day roster.

The Rockies had an outfield that consisted of Charlie Culberson, a lifetime infielder who is just learning the outfield in left, Corey Dickerson, a rookie who made his big league debut six weeks ago, and Charlie Blackmon in right, another player doing a good job earning a big league roster spot, but not exactly an All-Star.

With Dexter Fowler on the bench, it would make sense to leave Troy Tulowitzki on the bench as well, right? Apparently so. Jonathan Herrera was penciled in at shortstop. If Jordan Pacheco was available to play first base, it is almost certain that Michael Cuddyer would have had the day off as well.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

The beat goes on for the Colorado Rockies, but Jhoulys Chacin shines on

Jhoulys Chacin has been a bright spot for the Colorado Rockies.
It's the same old story for the Colorado Rockies. On Wednesday it was time for them to see what the Matt Harvey hype was all about. They found out in a bad way, getting shut out in a complete game performance from the All-Star, 5-0.

Games like Wednesday night is exactly why a team like the Rockies can't keep thinking that they have plenty more games to play. Throughout a season, every team is going to run into a guy like Harvey, who simply will shut down any offense when his stuff is on.

Bill Geivett, just over a week ago at the trade deadline, told Troy Renck of the Denver Post that the Rockies were "painfully in the middle," which led them to not be buyers or sellers at the trade deadline. The fact that Geivett's statement was just one week ago makes it laughable. A team in the middle, even with a week of losses, wouldn't be as far out of the race as the Rockies are.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

As the Colorado Rockies lose again, Dick Monfort continues to bury his head in the sand

The bad news keeps coming for Colorado Rockies fans. 
The Colorado Rockies lost 3-2 on Tuesday night in New York. It was the latest in a long stretch of baseball in which the Rockies have failed to get the job done.

Former Rockie Eric Young, Jr., however, did get the job done. He made a brilliant catch to rob Todd Helton of an RBI single with the bases loaded and two outs in the 6th inning, then scored from second base on an infield single from Juan Lagaras.

There is plenty to critique from the game on Tuesday. However, the loss was only the second most troubling bit of news for Rockies fans.

During a visit to the MLB Fan Cave in New York City, Dick Monfort had a quick interview with MLB's Mark Newman. The answers to the interview questions were troubling to say the least for anyone who believes that this team is only a step or two away from being a winner.

Monday, August 5, 2013

As Denver turns it's eyes to the NFL, the Colorado Rockies play on

John Elway doesn't accept losing. He demands to win. 
The common line heard in Denver is "the Colorado Rockies just need to be good enough to keep people interested until training camp starts."

The reason that the Rockies play second fiddle in Denver (or even third fiddle) isn't tough to figure out. According to online NFL betting sites, the Denver Broncos are the favorites to at least play in the Super Bowl.

The Broncos demand success.

Listen to sports talk radio in Denver and the topic isn't about how good the Rockies could be if they just figured out how to hit with runners in scoring position. The talk isn't about the emergence of Jhoulys Chacin and Tyler Chatwood, or how Jorge De La Rosa is a no-brainer for the Comeback Player of the Year award.

Sunday, August 4, 2013

With contention out of the way, what has to happen for 2013 to be a positive season for the Colorado Rockies?

Juan Nicasio didn't have a great outing on Sunday for the Rockies.
Ok, dreamers. Time to admit it. The Colorado Rockies aren't going to the playoffs. There will be no Rocktober in 2013. That run everyone has been waiting for isn't going to happen. If it does, frankly, it still might not be enough.

The Colorado Rockies are skidding their way into August, and are headed in the wrong direction in the standings. After another day of barely drawing blood against their opponent, the Rockies limped into New York City with a 5-1 beating from the playoff-bound Pittsburgh Pirates.

Juan Nicasio stumbled for the second straight outing after giving the Rockies signs of hope in his previous two starts. He barely made it through four innings, giving up four runs on six hits in 4-1/3 innings. He walked three and struck out four. Again, the opponent has figured out that Nicasio's secondary pitches aren't good enough to get them out with, so they can foul them off until they get a fastball. That drives up his pitch count, and ultimately his ERA as well.

Saturday, August 3, 2013

It's tough to be a fan of the Colorado Rockies

Do these guys really think the Rockies are still in the race?
Wilin Rosario bounced into a double play to end the Colorado Rockies rally in the 8th inning on Saturday night. He did it trying to pull a ball off of the outside part of the plate. It was the same pitch that pitchers have been getting him out with for two months. The Rockies lost 5-2, continuing a road trip that has buried them.

With one frame left to play and the Rockies down by three runs, the game was essentially over. The Rockies had their chance in the 8th inning and couldn't climb all the way back from a 5-0 deficit.

Some are still going to argue that the Rockies are still in the race. They are going to say that all this team needs to do is go on a run to get back in the race. In fact, even the front office continues to believe that they are in the race. With the trade deadline last Wednesday, Bill Geivett told Troy Renck of the Denver Post that the Rockies were "painfully right in the middle."

Friday, August 2, 2013

Jhoulys Chacin becoming an ace for the Colorado Rockies in 2013

Jhoulys Chacin continued his breakout season.
With all of the struggles the Colorado Rockies have had in the past six weeks, a few bright spots have popped through the cloudy skies.

On Friday night in Pittsburgh, one of those bright spots continued shining. Jhoulys Chacin pitched eight dominant innings against a very good Pirates team. He scattered six hits over those eight innings, limiting the damage to one run, in large part to the fact that he was throwing strikes. He struck out three and didn't walk a Pittsburgh batter.

Through 96 pitches, Chacin pounded the strike zone. All but 24 of the pitches were in the strike zone, or swung on by Pirate batters.

The victory gave Chacin his 10th of the season, one short of his career high, set back in 2010 when he went 11-14. At 10-5, there is little doubt that the 2013 season has been the best one yet for the 25-year-old.

The biggest reason for Chacin's success has plenty to do with the number of strikes he is throwing. However, that is only focusing on the results of what has changed. The key to Chacin's success has been because he isn't afraid to throw his entire arsenal of pitches to any hitter. Early in his career, Chacin wouldn't throw his changeup to right-handed hitters. When he is successful, he is able to locate that pitch and get weak ground balls out of it.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Walt Weiss and Colorado Rockies sleep through four game sweep in Atlanta

Was Walt Weiss sleeping in the dugout?
If the Colorado Rockies brass tries to say that the team hasn't given up, all one needs to do is point to the 2nd inning of the Rockies embarrassing 11-2 loss to the Braves on Thursday night.

Following a called third strike on the Rockies All-Star shortstop to end the inning, Tulo turned to home plate umpire Marvin Hudson and told him what he thought about the call. The field microphones caught Tulo saying that a pitcher couldn't have both sides of the plate, meaning the umpire can give the outside, or the inside off of the plate, but not both. Tulo continued to jaw. He turned his back, and slowly started heading back to the dugout, continuing to talk. Tulowitzki was talking for so long that Rockies first base coach Rene Lachemann was able to stand between Hudson and Tulowitzki.

Even with Lachemann trying to end the discussion, Tulowitzki continued his argument, clearly shaking his head and saying "that's not a strike." The argument, in which both Tulowitzki and Hudson remained 10 feet apart from each other, continued long enough for the TV broadcast to go to commercial break.

Suddenly, upon return to the park, Tulowitzki had been ejected from the game.