Rockies Magic Number

Friday, April 20, 2007

Inconsistency reigns on high

On a Thursday afternoon in Coors Field, against division quasi-rivals the LA Dodgers, Aaron Cook finally pitched a game where the offense provided the right amount to actually make Cook the pitcher of record.

Mind you, I didn't say anyone played well.

Yesterday was a cool day in section 331, in the shade, where the LA Dodgers played Batting Cages with Rockies #1 Aaron Cook. It seemed a lot of bounces simply didn't go the Rockies way (including a chopper from Dodgers' starter Mark Hendrickson that rebounded juuuuuuussst over Cook's glove and ended up as a 6-3 RBI putout), but at the same time, the Dodgers simply outplayed them.

This is why I fear the Dodgers more than anyone else in the NL West. Their reserve #6 starter held the Rockies to 5 hits and 1 run through 5 2/3 innings of work and only 76 pitches. RP Joe Beimel went through 2 innings of work on 16 pitches (I pictured Beimel, Broxton, and Rudy Seanez all sitting in the bullpen betting on the next inning -

Beimel: "I bet I can pitch that inning in 20 pitches"
Broxton: "I bet I can do it in 17"
Seanez: "I can pitch it in 13"
Beimel: "I can pitch it in 10"
Seanez: "Pitch that inning!"
Beimel: "....crap"

Actually, Beimel finished the 7th inning in 7 pitches.

It wasn't a good start by Cook. The Dodgers just teed off on him, and while he only allowed 3ER, the hits all came as parts of massive rallies by the Dodgers, and then a 3rd inning rally-continuing error from Jeff Baker at 1st allowed another 2 runs to cross. Oh Jeff, if only we were in the AL, you wouldn't have to worry about all that nasty fielding.

The bullpen didn't look bad at all. And by that I mean Zach McLellan pitched 2 scoreless innings, only yielding 1 hit and no walks. Matt Herges, on the other hand, allowed a coffin-nailing 3 runs in the 9th to give the Dodgers a decisive 8-1 victory over the Rockies.

This is becoming a terrible cycle to watch, Rockies pitching being solid and dependable if not downright Good, and the bats piddling 3 hits or leaving 9 stranded. Baserunners being wasted on 1 out GIDP. That, or the starter gets shelled for 4 innings, and the bats provide 9 runs of support and the decision will go to LaTroy Hawkins who will somehow eke out a loss despite the Rockies winning.

Let's just take a look at the team in general for a moment here. From top to bottom.

Bottom: Minor Leagues - looking good. Woohoo.

Next: The Team

Bats - Still just bursting with potential. Holliday's hitting the ball well, but Atkins hasn't entirely found his stroke yet. Hawpe is batting .200 against lefties thus far, but he's batting .288 overall now, so I'm still expecting a good rest-of-April and then May out of Bradley. Helton is batting .340 thus far, eager to prove to the Coors Faithful that he's back. Willy Taveras laid down 2 bunts, one good, and singled on that bunt, and then used those wheels to score the Rockies only run. Carroll's batting a robust .242 so far, but he's only really appeared in utility. I'm looking to see a bit more production these next two weeks or so before Kaz returns. Oh, and Mr. Matsui was batting .361 with 5 SB before going down with back spasms. Tulo and Ianetta...well, let's just say we're gonna need some drastic improvement and soon or else they might get that time in AAA that they missed out on last year. Torrealba is batting .296 and doing a good job making up for Ianetta's battles with the Half-Mendoza line. Baker hasn't had a hit since April 9, and is staying above .300 on the virtue of a hot hot hot first week.

Defense - Defensively, this is a more or less a pretty solid team. Helton still a GG contender at 1st, the OF is learning better tracking on the ball, and Hawpe still has a cannon. Kaz and Carroll don't cause stress at 2nd and Tulo, while still solidifying his defensive range, has made some nice stops this season. Ianetta is looking good throwing out baserunners, nailing both who tried in Thursday. Atkins however, needs some serious work fielding and throwing at third. Jeff Baker, also, is a defensive liability, but can play the positions in the interest of resting the starters and getting his bat in the rotation.

--In interest of tonight's game, I'll conclude this early-season analysis in a later post. Coming up - Pitchers, Managers, and OWNERSHIP dun dun dunnnnnnn



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