GOING ANYWHERE?

GOING ANYWHERE?

ROX BREAK EVEN ON TRIP; DETROIT, DBACKS UP NEXT

The Colorado Rockies shut out the Atlanta Braves 3-0 Sunday afternoon, taking the series from the Braves 2 games to 1 after dropping 2 of 3 to the Kansas City Royals in Missouri earlier in the week.  The Detroit Tigers are in Lodo this afternoon, prepping for 3 with Colorado at Coors Field, beginning tonight at 6:40 pm MT.

The Tags, as the late George Kell was prone to call them, are not up to much this season, in fact they stink, sitting 56-73 in 4th place in the American League Central, some 17 games south of the Division leading Cleveland Indians, and have not been much of a factor since making a run at the World Series in 2013, when they featured a rotation that included Justin Verlander, Max Scherzer, Anabal Sanchez, Doug Fister and 2016 AL Cy Young Award winner Rick Porcello, but still fell with a thud in the ALCS to the eventual champion Boston Red Sox.  Detroit’s domination of the Central during the early years of the decade, and the resulting subsequent dearth of choice draft picks likely explains the current malaise under manager Brad Ausmus, who succeeded legendary Rockies fan favorite Jim Leyland after the 2013 flameout.

Despite taking their only road series for the month of August, Colorado lost ground on its Wild Card competitors for the week, 2 whopping games to the Arizona Diamondbacks, who follow the Tigers into Denver for 3 on the weekend, and 1/2 game to the Milwaukee Brewers.  The Florida Marlins have moved ahead of the St Louis Cardinals and trail Milwaukee by a game and a half, 4-1/2 games out of the money.

On Tuesday, Kansas City’s Danny Duffy became the latest unfamiliar left-hander to buffalo the Rockies away from Coors Field. Jon Gray allowed 3 runs on 6 hits in a 6-2/3 inning performance, but Colorado went meekly against Duffy until Nolan Arenado homered in the 6th with DJ LeMahieu aboard on a walk.  Four Royals relievers stifled Colorado the rest of the way.  Wednesday the Rockies took a 4-3 lead into the 9th for Greg Holland.  Antonio Senzatela hadn’t been sharp, but got through 5 surrendering only 2, and the offense tallied single runs in the 1st, 3rd, 5th and 6th.  Holland, who has struggled for much of August, followed fellow relievers Chris Rusin, Pat Neshek, and Jake McGee to the hill in the 9th.  The righty walked leadoff hitter Alex Gordon and survived line-outs by Whit Merrifield and Lorenzo Cain, but then Melky Cabrera singled to left to bring Eric Hosmer to the plate, and Hosmer drilled Holland’s 1-1 slider into the right-field stands for a 6-4 KC walkoff.

Colorado got a bit of respite Thursday afternoon.  German Marquez turned-in another nice outing, but trailed 2-1 when he exited after the 6th.  Gerardo Parra, who had singled and scored on a Carlos Gonzalez double in the 6th, had another single with one out in the 8th and came around on a clutch 2-out home run by Pat Valaika, who got the start at short in the day game over Trevor Story.  Holland handled the 9th and got a save, although the outs came ominously on two line drives and a substantial fly ball that Charlie Blackmon tracked-down in center-field.

The trip moved Friday to the Braves’ new digs in Marietta, which sits north and west of Atlanta.  Chad Bettis made his third start of 2017 and fell behind 5-0 after just two innings and the Rockies offense could manage but a pair of runs versus Julio Teheran, who worked 7-1/3, and two thirds of the way through the 6-game trip Colorado was looking-up at 1-3 deficit in a region that hasn’t hosted a whole lot of pleasant Rockies memories.  Saturday Kyle Freeland was out for 6 innings, exiting with matters tied 4-4 in a back and forth affair that Colorado led, trailed, then led again before Freeland surrendered 2 in the bottom of the 6th.  The tie persisted into the 9th when Gonzalez singled ahead of Blackmon, who drove him home with a big fly into the seats in right-center, then LeMahieu, who had drilled a solo homer over the right-field wall in the 5th, followed with another one deep to left.

That brought about one more trial for Holland, and the results were horrifying.  Ozzie Albies led off with a single and a batter later scored behind another late night homer, this time by Matt Adams.  Rockies’ manager Bud Black jerked Holland following an Ender Inciarte single, and while Jake McGee coerced Brandon Phillips into a game-ending double-play, the pain and suffering Colorado was imposing on its fans was starting to cause concerns among public health officials.  One called the Rockies’ performance “fundamentally inhumane.”

Gray was back out Sunday.  He delivered 6 shutout innings on 5 hits, striking-out 7, and Neshek, Mike Dunn, and McGee each contributed shutout innings of their own to close-out the series win.  The Rockies got a run in the 2nd on a Parra single and Story double, and Mark Reynolds contributed the big blow, a 2-run shot to left in the 6th, also with Parra aboard.

Senzatela (10-4, 4.52) gets the start tonight against Jordan Zimmerman (7-11, 6.11), the former Washington National.  Marquez goes Tuesday against Mike Fulmer and Bettis will be back out Wednesday afternoon in a television-free contest against the still dangerous Verlander.  There’s a day of rest Thursday before Arizona hits town for 3.  The week presents a major opportunity for Colorado if it hopes to make something special out of the 2017 campaign.  Detroit ought to be fresh meat, the weekend a chance to make-up ground on the hated Dbacks.

Meaningful games in September start Friday.

jim-miller

Architectural Spec Writer Born Toledo, Ohio 4-9-55 Tiger Fan Braves Fan Rockies Fan

22 Comments

    • sdcarp

      August 28, 2017

      The road trip wasn’t as disasterous as I had feared. In fact, the SP is downright fantastic for the most part.

      FWIW – I’ve always thought Justin Upton could be a good fit at Coors Field.

      Reply
    • roxnsox

      August 29, 2017

      Fundamentally inhumane! Good one. And fundamentally “I’ve seen this (fade) before.” Feeling pessimistic, guys and girls – sorry. I know there’s a month left, but this is not a playoff team as currently performing.

      Reply
      • roxnsox

        August 29, 2017

        Bought tickets quite awhile ago for Friday’s opener in the D-backs series, thinking it might be quite exciting and meaningful. We’ve treated ourselves to primo seating. Excited! Nervous! I guess this is what it’s all about, September tension. I don’t dig feeling tense, though. Ha!

        Reply
      • roxnsox

        August 29, 2017

        I was thinking how Bud pretty quickly made a change with Holland (granted, a few shaky outings) and it makes me wonder why Cargo is still in the everyday lineup. Why? Seriously, anyone know what the team management might be thinking? I’d be really interested to hear what your theories are. Huge money? Fan favorite for a long time? “He’ll catch fire?” (It’s almost September!!!) He’s dead weight and pulling the team down with him.

        Reply
        • sdcarp

          August 29, 2017

          My theory is more practical circumstance than “theory.”

          Regarding Cargo – Dahl has been hurt literally all season, and Desmond for a significant chunk of the season. Tapia has been a disaster defensively (I’m convinced this is the result of mental errors – not physical – and he may become a solid average defensive player. But he’s not there now). So……..that leaves Cargo.

          In Holland’s case, it’s not like McGee, Dunn, and Otto have been that good either (Otto is a disaster). Chris Rusin has been our most reliable BP arm. Ironically – I think SP injuries (I’m thinking Bettis and Anderson) and Chatwood’s meltdown have delayed Senza’s 2017 BP move – and I continue to maintain he can be really good in that role.

          I don’t want to come across as a BB apologist, but I think to large degree his hands have been tied on these two personnel issues.

          Here’s my Bud complaint – he’s gone completely opposite of WW and has ridden the regular’s really, really hard. Therefore, I think we currently have a bunch of tired, beat-up regulars. IMO – a L/R platoon of Reynolds/McMahon at 1st, liberal use of Valaika at SS and 2nd and occasional 3rd, and L/R Wolters/Lucroy C platoon could really help over the long haul. With Desmond now healthy – Cargo shouldn’t see another LHed SPer in 2017.

          Reply
          • roxnsox

            August 29, 2017

            Great insights as always, carp. It hadn’t even occurred to me that they were “short” on outfielders. (I agree on Tapia and that he’s likely to mature as a fielder, too. And that the team and Nolan would benefit from some rest for him, and strategic rest in general.) Now let’s win ALL of the next ones at home, and (gag) root for the Dodgers as they play in Arizona!

            Reply
    • sdcarp

      August 30, 2017

      Rox move to 72-60 after last night’s win. Coming into 2017, I predicted an 81-81 record, so only 9 more wins necessary to meet my originally anticipated threshold. Obvioulsy, I think we’ll get more than 9 wins in the remaining 30 games. I don’t want to take my attention off the remaining 30 games except for this brief moment.

      Brief moment – the 2018 pitching staff REALLY excites me:

      1. Gray
      2. Freeland
      3. Marquez
      4. Anderson
      5. Bettis
      (Jeff Hoffman & Yency Almonte waiting in the wings, and of course Senzatella perfectly capable of being a SP)
      RP – Rusin
      RP – Senzatella
      RP – Dunn
      RP – Holland (I think he comes back)
      RP – Oberg/Diaz/Estevez (I’m betting one of these three make a big step forward
      RP – Otto (big question mark here)
      RP – James Farris/Austin House (I believe one of these two will make the jump in 18)
      RP – FA #1
      RP – FA #2

      As you can see, some work to be done with the Pen, but that happens every year to every team. That being said – lot’s of promise here!

      Reply
      • Bob K.

        August 30, 2017

        That is a quote from his post game interview last night.

        Reply
    • Agbayani

      August 30, 2017

      Well, this ain’t exactly blasting the playoff door wide open through great play, but … the Cards looked like our main rival for that 2nd wild card a couple weeks ago, but today they just traded starter Mike Leake away to the Mariners, a signal that they don’t think they’ve got a realistic shot. The Marlins were single-handedly boosting into competition by Stanton, but the rest of the team isn’t catching fire (although I worry about that late home series we have against them). The Brewers are sputtering along Rockies-style, and everyone else is done. This year won’t require any 21 of 22 Rocktober heroics … but is .500 too much to ask for? Come on, Rox, get it done …

      Reply
      • sdcarp

        August 31, 2017

        Disagree with this:

        ” today they just traded starter Mike Leake away to the Mariners, a signal that they don’t think they’ve got a realistic shot.”

        IMO this is typical Cardinal’s brilliance, independent of where that are in the standings. They traded away a bad contract (Leake) to make room for a promising young starter (Luke Weaver) knowing that Adam Wainwright is likely capable of coming off the DL and pulling off some sort of late season heroics if necessary. In other words – they dealt from a stacked hand. I give the kid they got in return for Leake a 1% chance of being a MLB player – but they saved some serious $$$$, which will help them in the FA market this offseason.

        The Rox can learn from this. We could have (and should have) traded Chatwood while he still had some value.

        On a generally unrelated note, I see where Tulo went on another rant stating that he’ll never change positions. He wants to finish his career at SS. Oh well…..that career may well end 2-3 years earlier than if he moved to 1B/DH (note that there isn’t much reason to think he can even handle 3B now).

        Reply
      • roxnsox

        August 31, 2017

        What a fantastic time for the Dodgers to lose a few. ACK! Dang those D-backs, they’re good. Now we can’t even regain a tie for the WC with a weekend sweep (unlikely).

        Reply
    • sdcarp

      August 31, 2017

      Damn it…..looks like the Angels may make a waiver wire deadline move and acquire Justin Upton. I had secretly held out hope the Rox would do this.

      Reply
    • sdcarp

      August 31, 2017

      Tiger’s Shane Greene has cleared waivers and is available. Really nice, Club controlled BP piece. Someone will jump on this.

      Juan Nicasio made it all the way (snark intended) to the Phillies before he was claimed.

      Reply
      • Bob K.

        August 31, 2017

        ROFL, the Phillies have first rights to anyone waived by an NL team. Nicasio has real solid BP numbers this year.

        Reply
        • sdcarp

          August 31, 2017

          Really don’t understand the Pirates logic (or lack thereof) on this one. They’re saving 600K. I guess that’s something.

          Note the Tigers shed about 90M in salary commitment in today’s Upton deal. The Cardinals shed something like 50M in the Leake deal. I think we’re seeing lots of teams position themselves for the “Shohei Ohtani Derby” – which is guaranteed to be the highlight of the upcoming Hot Stove season. Hopefully (fingers crossed) the Rox go all-in this time. They’ll have Cargo and Tulo coming off the books. I’m not kidding when I say Ohtani is the perfect player for the Rox. He’s the impact bat we desperately need who can be used as a RPer in mop-up situations.

          I’m also watching the Rox in regards to Shane Greene and Justin Wilson tonight. Either one of those guys could be a nice Closer next season (and beyond in Greene’s case).

          Reply
    • sdcarp

      August 31, 2017

      Dang it! From Ken Rosenthal (regarding Ohtani’s game today):

      “Teams, according to scout in attendance, that requested seats to see Otani: AZ, BAL, BOS, CHC, CIN, CLE, LAD, NYY, PIT, SEA, TEX, TOR, WAS.”

      Reply
    • Agbayani

      September 1, 2017

      Carp, I see your point on Leake (your classic 4th starter/innings eater type) and the Cards, but the Cards also failed to acquire anybody, and the reports I’ve seen suggest a disheartened clubhouse as their players see this as a punt on 2017 while they’re still in the thick of the wildcard race. I think there’s some truth to both ways of looking at it: the Cards are not really competitive with the Dodgers/Cubs/Nationals. Given their history of being a winner, it just wasn’t worth it to them to go all in on the shot at a brief playoff appearance this year.
      Meanwhile, good news for us: ABQ eliminated from PCL playoff competition, so we can raid that roster right away. Tyler Anderson was sharp yesterday (3 innings, 0 R, 4 K), and Hoffman the day before. Murphy, Patterson: also some key hits.

      Reply
    • Agbayani

      September 2, 2017

      25-36 since June 20 (thanks, Denver Post). I was happily assuming we were sputtering along just below .500, but … still between a 55 – 60 % chance of grabbing a wild card depending who you look at, but while the Marlins fade, the Brewers are sticking around and we’re letting the Cards right back into it. My confidence is dipping even faster than the Rox playoff chances. I’m also disappointed we didn’t see a small scale acquisition or two at the deadline – but maybe we’ll still see that? Bridich, gimmee something to hang onto here!

      Reply

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