Rockies Magic Number

Thursday, May 18, 2006

That's a mighty big salary for such a lack of clutch...

Date: 5/18/2006
Position: 3rd NL West
Games Back: 1.0
Elimination Number: 121

There is no joy in Denver, Mighty Helton just flied out to right.

I think Helton's recent slump doesn't quite leave him in the same position of respect that he still retained last year, despite his batting woes. Last year, Todd Helton dropped to roughly .250 before perking back up, but during that time, he still had an OBP of over .380. Why? Because last season, RPs would just walk him, thinking "Psh, who's this Matt Holliday guy? Preston Wilson? We can strike him out [looking]." This season, though, pitchers tremble at the triple H combination of Helton, Holliday, and Hawpe. So, Wednesday at roughly 3:45 PM in Coors Field, after 8 1/2 innings of dueling pitchers, and a 3-2 lead for the Dodgers, Cory Sullivan singled, Atkins' jersey was caught a bit by the pitch from Dodgers RP Danys Baez, bringing up Mr. Clutch himself, Todd Helton, with 2 on, 2 outs, bottom of the ninth. Helton fouled a few off before skying one that had Dodgers C Martin up with his mask off. Luckily, that pitch barely slipped out of play, giving Helton another chance to save the game for the struggling Rockies.

Instead, he popped out to shallow right field, prompting a curse and a thrown baseball cap from this writer, and the Rockies dropped 2 of 3 to the division rival Los Angeles Dodgers at home.

Helton has only driven 1 run in since May 8th, which prompts me to rephrase yesterday's question: Where have the Rockies' bats gone?

Don't give me any of this humidor crap. Yeah, that's saved a few Rockies starters from a few cheap home runs and helped the breakers break and the sinkers sink, but that doesn't excuse all the terrible flyouts I've seen from the Rockies.

The problem used to be that the dried-out balls lost some of their seams, and breakerball pitchers couldn't get their pitches to work, plus the low altitude and lighter, drier balls would leave the park on what should've been an easy deep-center flyout. So this way, the Rockies learned to hit straightball after straightball, and then on the road they'd get burned by the sliders all day long. But now that the breakers are breaking again, and only earned homers leave the park, does this mean that the Rockies' bats really aren't worth more than 3-4 runs a game? Is Coors Field really a pitcher's park after all?


Hawpe is 3rd in the NL for batting average, sitting on a cool .338 right now, and Holliday is 4th in RBIs at 36, 3 behind Andruw Jones, and....12....behind Albert Pujols.

The Rockies will have Thursday off, and Friday, Aaron Cook (4-3, 3.27) plans to embarrass Josh Towers (1-7, 8.45) in an evening interleague matchup. The real humor? Let's see Towers try and bat. Towers has been factored into every decision he's had an opportunity at this season, and with that high ERA and a 1.85 WHIP, maybe it's a good night for Atkins and Helton to find their bats in raging form.

If there's no Friday night postgame, it's because I'm moving into a summer residence.

So Good night, Rockies Fans, Good Luck, and GO ROCKIES!!!


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