Final Four vs. Dodgers in Litmus Test

Final Four vs. Dodgers in Litmus Test

Colorado took two out of three in each series against Arizona and Chicago.  The record on the current home stand is at 4-2.  Last week I mentioned that the target is a 6-4 home stand with two series win and a split against the Dodgers.  So far so good.  Tonight streaking Los Angeles visit Coors Field for a four-game set.  Tyler Anderson was scratched from tonight’s start due to a slightly twisted knee.  Jeff Hoffman takes his place against Ryu the southpaw coming off the DL.  The corresponding move was placing Trevor Story on the 10-day DL.  It would be a nice break for him to sit back and reset his plan of attack at the plate.  BB has a plethora of options at the shortstop position among Alexi Amarista,  Ian Desmond, and Pat Valaika.

Colorado ran their series record to 8-2-1 with both losses at home vs. the Nationals and Padres.  With a 22-13 record they are still in first place 1.5 games ahead of Los Angeles.  The Rockies take a 16-8 record vs. the NL West teams into tonight’s game.  They are undefeated when leading after six innings as well as one-run games.  The rookie pitchers carried the Rockies to a series win against Chicago Cubs.  The hitters busted out for nine runs (5 earned) against former Cy Young winner Jake Arrieta while Antonio Senzatela went six innings giving up two runs.  He gave way to Chris Rusin, Jake McGee, and Chad Qualls where they combined to give up two more runs in a 10-4 blowout.

The Cubs flipped the table in the nightcap of the day-night split doubleheader winning 8-1.  Kyle Freeland had one bad inning giving up five runs (3 earned) in the second tossing six innings.  Mike Dunn gave up a two-run homer and Hoffman gave up a blast to Kris Bryant, both home runs coming in garbage time.

German Marquez put a stop to a one-game losing streak carrying a no-no through six innings before finishing with eight shutout innings giving up three hits.  He helped himself with a two-run single in the bottom of seventh of Carl Edwards, Jr. to expand the lead to 3-0.  Greg Holland finished the game in a clean fashion for his fourteenth save.

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rockymountainhigh

Hometown - Champaign, IL College - Northern Illinois University, 1988 Sports Editor for my high school newspaper. Travels frequently - I can be found anywhere in the world.

42 Comments

    • sdcarp

      May 12, 2017

      Might want to extend your Litmus Test to include the Twins (AL Central leaders) and Reds (in a virtual tie with the Cards for the NL Central lead).

      Hoffman looked really good. Here’s another sdcarp broken record moment – he looked better than Lyles (who doesn’t?) and Oberg. Get Hoffman and Jairo Diaz in the Pen in place of those two (or Qualls) then you’ve got something.

      Signs of life from Cargo? I just made a trade offer for him in our Fantasy League. Looking to buy low. Traded for Byron Buxton last week.

      Given how Story has struggled at the plate so far this season, Valaika might be a very short term upgrade. I stress “short term.” But……I think Valaika is solidifying his role as the go-to Utility guy on the Club.

      Nice weather for the weekend, let’s see a sell out or two!

      Reply
    • Agbayani

      May 12, 2017

      Really encouraging start from Hoffman. I haven’t been as high on him as some, mostly because his college and minors stats don’t jump out at you. He’s always been more of a “scouts like him/projectable” guy. What’s been missing is mostly his ability to get those swing and miss strikeouts (or those freeze ’em up backward Ks). And all of a sudden they came in his second to last AAA start. And stayed through his first MLB start against a formidable lineup. I can’t bring myself to say it because young pitchers still strike fear in my heart (mostly injury), but what the hell: if not exactly a Mets 2015 crop of youngsters, at least maybe a Rockies 2007 crop? Ubaldo = Gray? Frankie Morales = German Marquez (throwing with the wrong arm)? Chatwood = Aaron Cook (vet sinkerballer hitting his midcareer peak)? Francis = Tyler Anderson AND Kyle Freeland (two for the price of one)? And Hoffman to spare? This is getting really interesting. OK, I’ll open up a bit. It’s downright fun!

      Reply
    • rockymountainhigh

      May 12, 2017

      Eddie Butler recalled to Cubs and starts tonight at St. Louis. We’ll see if the change of scenery helped him.

      Reply
      • Bob K.

        May 12, 2017

        Christian Bergman is getting the start tonight for Seattle at the Blue Jays.

        Reply
    • roxnsox

      May 12, 2017

      Here’s an idea, for fun. How about Roxwalkoff tweets to the game during broadcast? Whoever tweets for them/it/us? (I haven’t found the need or desire to get literate with Twitter – I only joined/look when there’s a fire or a flood or something in my mountain town. Of which there have been both/a few.)
      Someone? Anyone? Who can Twit? Or are we too cool for that? 🙂
      We are all certainly being quite cool about the AMAZING start for this team, despite injuries, rookies, etc. OK, I did NOT just jinx anything.

      Reply
      • rockymountainhigh

        May 13, 2017

        I’ve seen my own tweet shown on tv a couple of times. Ill have to get the password from jareddean to get @roxwalkoff tweet onto tv.

        Reply
          • roxnsox

            May 13, 2017

            Or is “handle” long outdated, from CB radio days? Haha.

            Reply
    • sdcarp

      May 13, 2017

      First person to figure out Tyler Chatwood wins a prize. I don’t mean “he pitches well on the road, sucks at home.” That answer gets you sent to the back of the line.

      RMH – you’ll like this. What is Cargo worth at this instant, in Fantasy Baseball? Well……sensing that the Cargo hot streak is about to begin, I gave up Trevor Rosenthal ($1) and Manuel Margot ($7) for Cargo ($36) and Adam Conley ($1) yesterday, Our trades have to be “whole,” hence Conley coming back to me. I’ll drop him tonight and pickup a Free Agent. Essentially a 2 for 1 trade. I’m about the only Owner in our League that can make that trade because I had significant room under our salary cap.

      Let’s not have another Washington National’s series. Remember – we won game #1, and then proceeded to get spanked in the next 3 consecutive games. Let’s win 1 of these next 2.

      Reply
      • rockymountainhigh

        May 13, 2017

        Everybody keeps saying he’s getting close. But no way he will be on fire ever again. He will always flail at balls way out of zone and strike out two times a game. Or ground out into the shift. I give up on CarGo.

        Re: Chatwood…. command all 3 pitches, don’t throw first pitch fastballs, and most importantly no deep counts. I notice he gets beaten up when he’s behind in counts.

        Reply
        • roxnsox

          May 13, 2017

          Pretty tired of Drew and Jeff’s unceasing cheerleading, if not obeisance, to Cargo. Give it a rest; we’ll see what he does. That’s all. Live in the present.

          Reply
    • Agbayani

      May 13, 2017

      Eddie Butler: 6 shutout/2 hit innings for the Cubs! Good for him. In previous years, I’d be upset about this … this year, well, I guess I’dd say he could’ve done Jordan Lyles job …

      Reply
      • sdcarp

        May 13, 2017

        Sometimes people need a change of scenery, in all walks of life, all professions. IMO, the same thing perhaps could have helped Tyler Matzek as well (had it happened earlier in his career).

        Reply
    • Bob K.

      May 13, 2017

      Ianetta hit in the mouth, fractured teeth and broken nose. From MLBTradeRumors:

      “Diamondbacks catcher Chris Iannetta took a 93 mph fastball to the face from the Pirates’ Johnny Barbato on Friday, but he’s “doing OK,” according to manager Torey Lovullo (via the Associated Press). Despite suffering a couple fractured teeth and a broken nose, Iannetta is “eager to play,” per Lovullo. However, the team is understandably taking a careful approach with Iannetta and is still deciding whether to place him on the disabled list.”

      Reply
    • sdcarp

      May 14, 2017

      I’m trying to limit the “must read” links, but here’s a must read link:

      http://www.denverpost.com/2017/05/13/rockies-loyal-fan-homeless-lives-abandoned-batting-cage/

      I actually hung out with this guy for maybe 30 minutes this Spring. We were on the deep backfields at SRF. Specifically, with Brendan Rogers’ group (mostly the Lancaster guys). It was just he and I. He was giving non-stop swing advice/pointers. I was amazed (and humbled) at what we could see. He’d say something, I’d think “huh,” then next pitch, I’d see it (only because he had pointed it out).

      Reply
    • rockymountainhigh

      May 14, 2017

      Broken record playing: Walk followed by XBH and it’s the third time it happened today.

      Reply
    • rockymountainhigh

      May 14, 2017

      What a long grinding home stand but passed the litmus test. 2-1, 2-1, and 2-2 against to 3 teams. Thank you Pat Valaika.

      Reply
    • sdcarp

      May 14, 2017

      Big, big win today. IMO – biggest win so far in the young season. The Dodgers are good (duh!). Current sdcarp NL Power Rankings:

      1. Nats
      2. Dodgers
      3. Cubs (their SP looks very pedestrian so far)
      4/5 – Rockies/Cardinals (tie)

      There’s a nickname out there for Pat Valaika. My poor brain keeps coming back to the old Cleveland “mistake by the lake.” Perhaps “don’t make a mistake to vaLAIKA.” I dunno……too long. Most people wouldn’t get it. Where’s Pete Franklin when you need him!

      Speaking of pedestrian SPing…………think about this. The Cubs need a frontline guy. The Yankees need a frontline guy. The Dodgers could use a #2. If the Cubs keep sleep-walking and keep the Cardinals in the race, they could use a frontline guy. If David Price doesn’t comeback full strength, the Red Sox could use a frontline guy. What I’m saying is this – the Rays (Chris Archer), the CWS (Jose Quintana), the Braves (Julio Teheran), the A’s (Sonny Gray), and perhaps even Blue Jays (Stroman) will be getting calls soon.

      Reply
    • sdcarp

      May 14, 2017

      BTW gang, I saw this today regarding Tom Murphy (he might be closer to returning than we thought) courtesy of Rotoworld:

      “Tests at the beginning of May showed that Murphy’s fractured right wrist was healing slower than expected, but it sounds like he’s made nice progress since then. Black didn’t reveal any hints about when Murphy might be game-ready, however.”

      Reply
    • Agbayani

      May 14, 2017

      Valaika: Carp, RMH – you saw this coming! Excellent spring training scouting, guys. I’m still scratching my head – where did this come from? – but he’s starting to get really intriguing. Trevor Story, you better start putting things together in that rehab assignment that’s coming soon. By the way, when we were talking about Story maybe being sent down to AAA to fix that swing, we kind of assumed that Amarista or even Desmond would get the starts at SS. Here’s another example of Bud Black making the right call early in this season, going with Valaika instead.

      Reply
      • sdcarp

        May 15, 2017

        What I think we’re seeing – across the board – all positions, is that increased competition created by better level of talent is making the team better, at almost an exponential rate. Trevor Story is watching these games knowing he better do everything in his power to cut his K rate, because if he doesn’t, he won’t play. We’re seeing that in the BP. We’re seeing that with the SPers. You think Gray hasn’t noticed the Club is moving along fine without him?

        Did anyone notice how pissed BB was when he gave Oberg and Otto the hook yesterday? I watched the post-game press conference last night. He made a not so veiled reference to both when he said the “walks will have to stop” and that we’ll be taking corrective action. Goes back to that competition thing. He knows Jairo Diaz is getting closer. He knows Carlos Estevez is getting things sorted out in ABQ. He knows Jeff Hoffman is on a role and desperately wants to be in Denver.

        Reply
        • roxnsox

          May 15, 2017

          Think young Mr. Story ever heard of Wally Pipp? And what in the world is wrong with Otto?

          Reply
          • roxnsox

            May 15, 2017

            And hey, Pat Valaika is no Gehrig, as far as we know. But the analogy still holds….somewhat…maybe.

            Reply
    • Doc

      May 15, 2017

      I noticed Carp, especially how he jerked the ball out of Gophberg’s hand. Sense BB is getting very serious and proving to be even better than I first anticipated; he’s hungry and is instilling a winning attitude. Imagine, a manager who leads and doesn’t just babysit. Love it.

      Reply
      • rockymountainhigh

        May 15, 2017

        Yup I noticed what BB did when he came out for Gopherg and Otto. If you watched the game with me Sunday like my wife did, all you would have heard was my incessant ranting about deep counts and walks. Each game I become a bigger fan of BB all because he shares my no walks philosophy. That’s why I have a man crush on Jack Wynkoop.

        Reply
    • Doc

      May 15, 2017

      What’s up with Desmond? A few weeks ago I sensed he was about to take on an important leadership role but now I wonder if he even wants to be part of this team. Hopefully, he’s just pressing but it looks like–for whatever reason–his heart isn’t in it.

      Reply
      • roxnsox

        May 15, 2017

        Doc, I think he’s pressing. I’m sure his heart is in it. (And who knows what’s going on in a person’s private life?)

        Reply
      • rockymountainhigh

        May 15, 2017

        I don’t feel like Ian Desmond is hurting at all. In fact just the opposite as he benefits the lineups way more as the 4th or 5th hitter with CarGo slipping to the six hole. I’m still waiting for CarGo to be relegated to 4th or 5th outfielder. Parra, Tapia, Desmond, and Dahl are way better options than CarGo in the lineup. He’s still grounding 75% of the plate appearances into extreme shifts. And striking out nearly 100% of the time with runners on base. Finally he can’t even bunt hard down the third base line where there’s nobody there to play the bunt.

        Reply
    • sdcarp

      May 15, 2017

      I want to challenge everyone to go back “up” about a dozen comments to my challenge – why does Chatwood have command issues at Coors? RMH took the challenge, and gave a good answer…..but it was really just stating the results, not the “why.” I’ll give him a “C.” Subsequently, he’s texted me with a really solid “B” answer.

      I’ll give you a hint to my theory. It lies in advanced metrics (Ag will love it….this will be like a big challenge).

      So far this season, PitchFx has over 12,700 measurements of “Release Spin Rates” by various pitchers. Mr. Chatwood has 11 of the top 250 Spin Rates so far in 17 (for the record, Sonny Gray has about 25 in the top 250). Chatwood REALLY relies on the movement of his pitches. For reference, no other Rockie with a single measurement in the top 250.

      There’s no way you remember my “Physics of Baseball” article from 2015 explaining why the ball flies so far at Coors Field. So you’ll have to trust me, these two things are related. The air “density” at 5280 is 87% of the density at sea level. Less density = longer travel on fly balls. Less density = less air “grip” against the high spin for Chatwood’s pitches. Chatwood still gets plenty of movement at 5280 mind you. But because he generates big pitch movement, he’s dealing with a bigger differential from sea level to 5280 than anyone else.

      What does this nonsense mean. Well…..he certainly shouldn’t try to spin it anymore. When I look at the names on the list that generate those top 250 spin rates (maybe 25 pitchers total), I see a lot of injuries. Chatwood doesn’t need to spin it anymore. What he does need to do is to “recalibrate” more than any other Rockie pitcher every time he steps on the mound at Coors. I contend he can do this by throwing more fastballs in the first couple of innings (he’s got great fastball velocity). We can “waste” some curves and sliders when he’s ahead in the count to get “calibrated.” He’s a great athlete. He will intuitively adjust the aim of the curve and slider after a handful of each and relatively quickly get in sync. He can then lead with the curve/slider the 2nd time through the lineup.

      Two sidebars.

      1. The Rox shouldn’t trade for Sonny Gray. He would struggle more than Chatty.
      2. The Rox should trade Chatty before he becomes a FA. These high spin rates are an injury indicator to me (and to others smarter than I).

      What the hell do i know?

      Reply
      • rockymountainhigh

        May 15, 2017

        My first reply to sdcarp on the challenge was commanding the pitches at home, too many deep counts. He gave my only a “C” grade, so I came back saying that Chatty has trouble adjusting the target locations to throw a “soft” pitch. At altitude adjust closer to center to make a curve as opposed to starting at the hip of the batter to break back over the plate. sdcarp gave me a “B” grade. LOL. He wanted to drill down the problem all the way to a level that only sabermetricians can understand. Not my forte. LOL. That would be something that Agbayani would have done well for his doctorate theme paper. 🙂

        Reply
        • sdcarp

          May 15, 2017

          You did well Sir.

          Simplified, Chatty throws some pitches that move ALOT! More than the average ML pitcher. So he has a bigger adjustment to make when he gets back to 5280. That’s the physics. I don’t think it’s a problem per se. He just needs to come out with fastball on the brain for the first couple of innings. Get a feel for things, then adjust to a little less movement (but still plenty) to his off speed stuff and start relying on it a bit later.

          Corollary is the Rox should sit fast ball on any opposing pitcher with high Spin Rates. Make that opposing pitcher prove he can throw the benders for strikes before swinging at them. IMO, we can always use 5280 to our advantage.

          Reply
    • roxnsox

      May 15, 2017

      Stat gang – educate me on what is a “good” OBP? A poor one, an excellent one? How about explaining to me (again; I’ve heard it but not taken it in) slugging percentage and OPS? And same question about what’s good. Thanks.

      Reply
      • sdcarp

        May 15, 2017

        OBP = 400 excellent
        OBP = 350 good
        OBP = less than 300 – bad.

        A player should have an OBP +/- 60 points higher than their batting avarege. You should expect a guy with a 250 BA to have an OBP of about 310.

        Essentially, it’s {Hits + Walks}/Plate Appearances. I think HBP counts. Reaching by error does not count. Reaching by Fielders Choice does not count. There’s a few other minor nuances. It’s actually a great stat. In fact, I think it was the go-to “Money Ball” stat for Billy Beane.

        Reply
        • roxnsox

          May 16, 2017

          Thanks, carp! So you explained OBP? What about slugging percentage and OPS (on base plus slugging, right)?

          Reply
          • sdcarp

            May 16, 2017

            Slugging Percentage is It is calculated as total bases divided by at bats. So it’s heavily weighted to power hitters.

            Reply
            • sdcarp

              May 16, 2017

              450 is a good slugging percentage, 500+ is really good.

          • sdcarp

            May 16, 2017

            Correct regarding OPS. 1000 is a great OPS….perhaps League leader.

            Reply
          • sdcarp

            May 16, 2017

            By the way, the exact OBP formula is = (Hits + Walks + Hit by Pitch) / (At Bats + Walks + Hit by Pitch + Sacrifice Flies)

            Reply
          • sdcarp

            May 16, 2017

            Bottom line Roxnsox – some of these stats get redundant. If you look at a player that has a high HR total, lots of RBIs, and solid BA and OBP – you’re automatically also getting a high slugging percentage and high OPS.

            Reply
    • Bill

      May 16, 2017

      Haven’t commented much but have been watching at least part of most games this year. Like quite a many of you I am frustrated by Cargo but I’ll take him any day over Parra and Tapia although I haven’t seen enough of Tapia to know him well. Cargo still makes some inning saving and game saving fielding gems while Parra still makes some awful read on balls in the OF.

      I was happy and a bit surprised that when Wolters was called back up today Dustin Garnaeu was sent down. I’ve been pleasantly surprised with Hanigan. And great news today! Chad Bettis has finished his treatments. Back to baseball? I don’t know but he’s sounding positive.

      Reply

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