Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Watching teams celebrate should crush the Colorado Rockies decision-makers

Playing out the string isn't too much fun to watch.
On Tuesday night it was the Pittsburgh Pirates, a few nights before it was the Angels. Tomorrow night could be the Dodgers turn.

Meanwhile, the Colorado Rockies finished a 3-1/2 hour game in San Diego that literally means nothing. It would have been a nail biter--if anyone still cared. Instead, while making his 998th career appearance, LaTroy Hawkins worked his way out of a lead-off walk to finish a 3-2 rare Rockies road win.

The champagne was probably being cleaned up off of the Pirates clubhouse floor when the Rockies finally finished their road affair on the west coast. The six-game road trip to finish off the season feels like salt in the wound for Rockies fans who don't want to miss a game. The 11:30 pm finishes make it tough for fans to stay tuned until the final out.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Failure to make changes might hurt the Colorado Rockies more than they think

Dick Monfort simply doesn't get it.
Dick Monfort is fiercely loyal. Nearly everyone agrees on that.

That is what everyone says about the Colorado Rockies owner. That is why he hasn't done what the owners of 27 other teams have done, some several times, since he hired Dan O'Dowd to be the general manager of the Rockies. Since 1999, when O'Dowd was brought on board, all but two teams have fired their GM's. Both of those teams, the Yankees and the Giants, have won multiple World Championships under their current GM.

The Rockies, however, haven't come close to winning two World Series in that time. In fact, over that course of time, O'Dowd's Rockies have only had four winning seasons. They have been to the playoffs just twice, and they have failed to win a National League West title. In the same amount of time, every other team in the NL West has won that division at least twice.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Colorado Rockies finish off home schedule with a sweep of the Diamondbacks

Coors Field closed it's doors for the season on Sunday.
Believe it or not, the Colorado Rockies played a game on Sunday.

It might seem hard to believe, as the entire focus of the Denver sports scene was on the Denver Broncos trip to Seattle to avenge their Super Bowl blowout loss.

Strangely, the Rockies had more success over the weekend than the Broncos did. The Rockies got a good pitching performance from Christian Bergman, who went 5-2/3 innings, giving up two runs on six hits. He only threw 67 pitches before giving way to Franklin Morales after giving up a two run bomb to Mark Trumbo.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Eddie Butler shines in return to Colorado Rockies rotation

Much of the hope for the Colorado Rockies immediate future rests on Eddie Butler's right arm.

On Saturday, Butler gave far more reason for excitement than he did in his lone big league start back in June. His six innings of one-run baseball was impressive, even if it came against the one team int he National League worse than the Rockies.

Butler only struck out one, but he got eight outs by ground ball and four by fly ball. The lone run that he gave up was on a home run to Jake Lamb. He wiggled out of trouble on two occasions. In the end, Butler threw just 81 pitches in his six innings before the Rockies decided to hand the ball to the bullpen.

It was a very impressive performance from the guy who the Rockies need to be the real deal. It was the type of performance that many Rockies fans had envisioned seeing throughout June and July, not for the first time in September.

Michael Cuddyer wows with his bat as Colorado Rockies avoid 100 losses

Michael Cuddyer is fun to watch, but should the Rox re-sign him?
Crisis averted.

The Colorado Rockies will not lose 100 games, as so many had predicted that they would. A 15-2 drubbing of the Arizona Diamondbacks at Coors Field ensured that the most they can lose is 99 games. Two more wins in their final nine games will keep them from posting a franchise-worst record.

The hero on Friday night was Michael Cuddyer, who provided plenty of fireworks for the fans long before the actual fireworks display started. In the 6th inning he connected for a grand slam. The ball was a no-doubter deep into the left field seats. In the following inning he came back to the plate with the bases jammed again. This time he drilled a 1-1 pitch into the left-center gap for a bases-clearing double.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Colorado Rockies win on Wilin Rosario walk-off home run

Wilin Rosario has the power to be a big impact bat.
What might have been.

That is the phrase that fans of the Colorado Rockies have been saying all season long when it comes to Wilin Rosario. Throughout the course of the season, the catcher has proven to be yet another disappointment in a long line of disappointing catching prospects for the Rockies.

Heading into the 2014 season, many fans were excited to see what kind of progress the catcher would make, both at the plate and behind it. After two full seasons in the big leagues, history suggests that a catcher finally takes the next step forward.

The problem, however, is that Rosario not only didn't take the next step forward, he took one back. Starting on Opening Day when he couldn't get on the same page with Jorge De La Rosa, and continuing all season long, Rosario has been not just an average catcher, or a bad catcher, he has been brutal.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Are the affiliate changes signs of even bigger changes for Colorado Rockies?

The Rockies said goodbye to the Sky Sox.
Goodbye, Colorado Springs. Nice knowing you. Goodbye, Tulsa. It was fun while it lasted. See ya later, Pasco, good luck in the future.

The Colorado Rockies announced big changes on Wednesday, moving their two top level minor league affiliates from Colorado Springs and Tulsa and signing on with Albuquerque and New Haven, Connecticut respectfully. The new Single-A affiliate is yet to be determined.

The move comes as a slight surprise. Colorado Springs specifically has been the Rockies Triple-A affiliate from the beginning. The one hour drive up I-25 has been a very convenient trip for the players shuttling back-and-forth between the two teams.

Going away from Colorado Springs is something that has been coming for quite some time. The relationship between the two clubs has seemed to be at odds for a long time. For at least 10 years, the Rockies have had issues with the playing field at Security Service Field. If the playing surface wasn't bad enough, the altitude, something that concerns the Rockies greatly, has never been a good fit for the Rockies.

Colorado Rockies 2015 starting rotation might not be all that bad

Tyler Matzek was good again on Tuesday night.
In the midst of all of the negative, a few things positive might be coming out for the Colorado Rockies.

On Tuesday night at Coors Field, Tyler Matzek proved that his recent success wasn't simply because he was facing bad teams. The rookie went 5-1/3 innings, giving up just two runs. He gave up 11 hits, but was good enough to wiggle off of the hook and only give up the two runs, both of which came in the 6th inning.

Matzek continues to shine. The Dodgers team that he kept off balance is one that is likely to cruise into the postseason. They have four outfielders capable on starting on the majority of big league rosters, but simply can't find them all enough playing time. They also have one of the emerging forces in big league baseball in Yasiel Puig. However, Matzek wasn't shaken.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

What's new? Bullpen implodes again for Colorado Rockies

Rex Brothers has been terrible in 2014 for the Rockies.
Oh Brothers.

If the Colorado Rockies want to prove to their fans that they are serious about winning, the statement will be made early and often in the offseason. The focus of building the Rockies will being and end with revamping the entire bullpen.

On Monday night at Coors Field, Walt Weiss called upon Rex Brothers in the 6th inning to try and keep the Rockies in a 3-3 game. Whether Weiss actually believed that was possible or not is debatable, but the fact of the matter remains the same, Brothers was awful. Again.

Nick Masset then stepped to the mound and did what has become commonplace for him and the rest of the Rockies relievers. He gave up even more runs. Suddenly, the tie game was an eight run advantage for the Dodgers. Thanks for coming out to the ballpark, goodnight.

The Rockies have attempted to build their bullpen over the past two seasons. Two years ago the team dealt failed trade chip Alex White to the Houston Astros for Wilton Lopez. The reliever had closed games for the Astros and had the potential to be a great late-inning arm.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Colorado Rockies strike out sixteen times in finale of six-game road trip with no wins

The Rockies can't help themselves.
It wasn't a sweet sixteen for the Colorado Rockies on Sunday.

A six-game road trip against a bad New York Mets team and a very good St. Louis Cardinals team completed on Sunday with the Rockies returning to Denver without a single win. That team plane will land back in Denver without a single addition to the win column.

As another brutal September comes to an end, a few things shouldn't be forgotten. The first, and perhaps the biggest issue with the road Rockies, has been their approach. Everyone wants to talk in depth about how to figure out the club's hitting woes on the road, but no one mentions their approach.

On Sunday, the Rockies combined to strike out 16 times against Cardinals pitching. With all due respect to Colorado native and Cardinals starter Marco Gonzales, the Rockies weren't facing Adam Wainwright on Sunday. The rookie made the Rockies look silly. But frankly, who hasn't when the Rockies are wearing their gray pants?

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Season can't end soon enough for Colorado Rockies fans, expect more excuses from the front office soon

Franklin Morales couldn't help the Rockies score runs on Saturday.
Every game counts.

Baseball purists will talk about how important every game is in a 162 game season. They will point to several seasons in which it came down to the final game, and even on occasion the 163rd game in order to sort it all out.

Don't tell a fan of the Colorado Rockies how important all 162 games are.

For the few Rockies fans who haven't checked out and figured out something else to do with the waning days of summer, it is a matter of counting down the days. With the Rockies in the midst of a six-game road trip in which they have had next to no chance in any of the first five games, watching the Rockies stumble through nine innings is a huge waste of time.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Colorado Rockies lack of scoring on the run has become historic

Admit it, you just don't care anymore.
When Matt Holliday drilled a three-run homer to put the St. Louis Cardinals up 3-0 over the Colorado Rockies in the bottom of the 1st inning, the game was over. There were eight innings left to play and the game was over.

With Adam Wainwright on the mound for the Cardinals, there was no chance for the Rockies.

However, the issue wasn't just Wainwright. When the Rockies cruised in with yet another lousy offensive performance in which they scored just one run, they set a record. For the first time in the big leagues since 1964--five years before Woodstock-- a Major League Baseball team had scored two or less runs in ten straight road games. Disgusting.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Tyler Matzek continues to improve as Colorado Rockies drop another game

Tyler Matzek has been very good in his rookie year.
Many fans of the Colorado Rockies gave up on Tyler Matzek years ago.

Check out the comments section on pieces written on the night that he pitches. There are plenty of people who still don't want to believe. There are Rockies fans who insist that he isn't good and that he won't amount to much. His five rough years in the minor leagues frustrated fans enough that they jumped off of the bandwagon.

The problem with those fans is that they are so jaded by Matzek's long journey, coupled with the Rockies continued failures on the field, that they refuse to see that Matzek is living up to his potential. Fans have every right to have jumped off of the bandwagon. The expectations were high when he came out of high school in 2009. The fact that the Rockies were able to pick him at 11th was a huge surprise. However, his struggles quickly made fans feel that he would be a bust.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

As eyes turn attention to football, Colorado Rockies fans shouldn't quiet down

Dick Monfort needs to feel the heat all winter long.
When Wilin Rosario grounded out to shortstop to end the game and the Colorado Rockies late rally on Tuesday night, something became official that was bound to happen for months.

The Rockies were officially eliminated from playoff contention.

Most would have believed that the club was eliminated sometime back in June, but it took until September 9th for it to officially happen. The irony is that it concludes the fifth straight season in which the Rockies will fall short of the postseason.

Why is the fifth straight season without a playoff appearance important? That is the magic number that Dick Monfort has continuously told the media when it comes to making the postseason. Monfort has said that he believes that in a Denver market, the Rockies should compete for a playoff spot twice in every five year span.

Monday, September 8, 2014

It is time for Major League Baseball to change their schedule

Major League Baseball needs to fix their schedule issues.
Today was the beginning of hope for next year for many Major League Baseball teams. Each team released it's 2015 schedule, allowing fans of teams like the Colorado Rockies to start thinking about what might be.

However, there is one thing that is clear when it comes to the people running Major League Baseball. They are tone deaf.

Look around the corner at the NFL. The sport, despite huge health issues from veteran players, continues to grow hand over fist. The interest in football extends year-round. For proof, turn on sports radio in Denver in the middle of March. The Broncos are being discussed at length.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Lessons that the Colorado Rockies should learn from their three-game sweep of the Padres

Wait, the Colorado Rockies three-game sweep of the San Diego Padres isn't the lead for all of the local late night newscasts?

There must have been something else going on in town that overshadowed the Rockies.

While the Broncos were destroying the Colts, then watching them claw their way back into the game, the Rockies were heading to the airport after completing their first home three-game sweep in more than a year. That's right, the Rockies haven't won three in a row against the same opponent at Coors Field since August of 2013.

For those still paying attention to the Rockies, and there can't be may left, there was a very important lesson that the Rockies should have learned from their three wins against the Padres. That lesson is simple and it has been taught time and time again since baseball first was played. The lesson is the age-old adage, good pitching wins baseball games.

Sunday's game came as a surprise, when Franklin Morales dealt six shutout innings at Coors Field. However, the two games prior to him were a little more predictable. Jorge De La Rosa and Tyler Matzek are both very talented pitchers who have shown the composure to succeed at the big league level, Morales is a roller coaster ride, but when he harnesses his stuff, he is also good.

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Colorado Rockies win on extra innings walk-off from Drew Stubbs

Drew Stubbs was the hero on Saturday night for the Rockies.
Apologies for the cynicism in advance.

The Colorado Rockies won on a 12th inning walk-off single from Drew Stubbs and it couldn't have been less exciting.

Make no mistake, a win is always a good thing for the team that you root for, but what ended up being the second longest game of the season was more about how quickly it could get over instead of who would win the thing.

The win counts. They all matter. It doesn't matter if both the Padres and the Rockies have been out of the playoff race since June, they still count. They are still Major League Baseball games and every single pitch that is thrown gets recorded in the record book, so it matters.

Tyler Matzek throws first complete game shutout for Colorado Rockies since 2011

Be mad at the front office of the Colorado Rockies, be mad at the ownership, but don't be mad at the players.

On Friday night, Rockies rookie Tyler Matzek pitched the best game in at least three seasons for the Rockies, and perhaps the most memorable since Ubaldo Jimenez tossed the club's one and only no-hitter on April 18th, 2010 in Atlanta. He twirled the first complete-game shutout for the Rockies since 2011.

Matzek was brilliant. Since his June 11th debut, when the lefty is pitching well the most impressive part of his game has been his efficiency. On Friday night Matzek had less than 100 pitches when he walked back out to the mound for the 9th inning. He was successful by filling the strike zone over and over again. Matzek walked only one Padres batter while striking out six. He gave up just three hits on the night and no Padre made it to third base until the 9th inning.

There is plenty of disappointment among Rockies fans. The past three seasons have been huge disappointments. This Rockies team has suffered devastating injuries, however, those injuries revealed the flaws that were always apparent with this team. The vitriol from fans has reached a new level in 2014. The fact that it seems like status quo is just fine at 20th & Blake has angered fans the most.

Despite the bad things that have gone on, despite the realization that this franchise isn't anywhere close to a contender, there have still been some very good things that have happened in an overall disappointing season.

Matzek is certainly one of those good things for the Rockies. The reality is, without the injuries to Rockies pitchers, Matzek might be just making his debut in September. Remember, Matzek wasn't the first pick for the Rockies from their farm in 2014. The Rockies went with Jordan Lyles, Eddie Butler and Christian Bergman before deciding to give Matzek a shot.

The left-hander, in reality, was essentially written off by the Rockies. He struggled through his minor league career. He was only promoted through the minor leagues because it was time for him to be given a shot at the next level.

There probably has never been a more highly touted pitching prospect in Rockies history. Matzek was drafted 11th overall in 2009 and when he drooped all the way to the 11th pick, many experts thought at the Rockies had gotten a steal. However, that feeling quickly faded when Matzek literally watched his mechanics collapse and disappear in Single-A Asheville. At one point, Matzek was granted permission by the Rockies to fly back home to California to work with his high school pitching coach. The move reeked of desperation.

When Matzek returned, things simply weren't that much better. When Matzek was drafted he was throwing in the mid-90's and had a strong command of the strike zone. In Asheville, Matzek's fastball was all the way down in the low 80's. To say there were concerns would be a huge understatement.

However, Matzek kept plugging away and he finally earned his call-up. Ironically, ever since making that debut, Matzek has looked like the first round draft pick that the Rockies anticipated getting.

For most, making a big league debut is one that involves all of the nerves in that player's entire body. For Matzek, it almost seemed like making his debut came with a big sigh of relief. After having the idea of being a bust hanging over Matzek's entire minor league career, finally getting his chance at the big league level seemed to be what it took to get Matzek over the hump.

What the Rockies do in the offseason looms large over this team. However, having Matzek looking like a strong contributor to the rotation is huge for the Rockies. This is a team that has tons of holes in every department. Having a few solid aspects of the team will be extremely helpful in the process of rebuilding a team that will actually be respectable.

With Matzek and the newly re-signed Jorge De La Rosa, the Rockies rotation will have at least two solid contributors. That is a really good place to start.

Make no mistake, the Rockies have a long way to go to turn the ship around. However, seeing Matzek turn the corner is a great sign of encouragement for the Rockies. In a season like this, seeing a performance like Friday night's is a very welcomed sight.

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Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Corey Dickerson continues to impress with the bat; Colorado Rockies win, then sign Jorge De La Rosa to extension

The Rockies were wise to re-sign Jorge De La Rosa.
The Colorado Rockies launched the ball out of the park all afternoon, then finished off the night with the announcement that they have re-signed Jorge De La Rosa to a 2-year $25 million deal.

On the field, Christian Bergman continued to look like a very impressive 20th round draft pick, and the offense poured on the runs in a way that was reminiscent of the Blake Street Bombers.

While the Rockies season has been nothing short of awful, the results of the games simply don't matter anymore. However, looking forward to the years to come, the Rockies and their fans are interested in seeing who is going to be a contributor and who isn't.

Colorado Rockies abysmal season continues with another huge lead blown

Jordan Lyles pitched decent, but was left in the game too long.
What is left to be said?

The Colorado Rockies are the only team in baseball that goes up 7-1 and their fans feel like it won't be enough. The fans are rooting for the starter to work deep into the 7th inning, just so the terrible bullpen doesn't have to come in and do what it does best; throw gas on the fire.

Couple a terrible bullpen with even worse game management from Walt Weiss and it is a recipe for disaster. Combine the terrible bullpen, the horrific management from Weiss and sloppy, lazy, little league style defense and get a team that will lose close to 100 games.

Monday, September 1, 2014

September should bring something to keep an eye on for Colorado Rockies fans

Kyle Parker is one call-up worth watching for the Rockies.
Admit it, the last two months of Colorado Rockies baseball is one big blur.

With the exception of a few games, they all seem the same. Bad baseball, poor pitching, terrible management, and mounting losses have dominated this team. Yet, if you are reading this, you are probably still taking the time to watch this team.

Well, for the committed, or maybe more accurately, those who have nothing better to do than to watch Rockies baseball on a daily basis, there is hope. The Rockies season is winding down. They will soon conclude the 2014 season and it will be time to set sights on 2015. However, with the expanded September rosters, there will be something new to watch for.