Rockies Seek Home Dominance

Rockies Seek Home Dominance

Colorado returns to Coors Field leading the Wild West by 0.5 over Arizona, 2.5 over San Francisco, 3.5 over Los Angeles, and 5.5 over San Diego.  But the residents of the Rocky Mountain region don’t feel like there’s any reason to celebrate.  The Rockies did complete the nine-game trip through California with a respectable 4-5 record, but their overall record is only 26-24.  They split two in the Gaslamp District, split four in the Bay Area, and took one of three in the Chavez Ravine.

Yet the feel good spirit seem to be missing in LoDo.  There are several complaints left and right about everyone not named Nolan Arenado.  The pitchers continue to pitch well keeping the Rockies in the game nightly with the exception of Bryan Shaw and Chris Rusin.  The culprit is offensive offense with a lot of hitters not even hitting the Mendoza line.  Bud Black keeps changing the lineup nightly and as a result the Rockies lead the majors in most different lineups.  That prevented everyone from settling into a routine.  A lot of fans are blaming several hitters thinking they aren’t really motivated.  Chris Ianetta, the least likely person to speak for the team, went on Twitter to ask for some patience.

At least the team is trying their hardest to get back on track and no one is pointing fingers in the locker room which is unfortunately the best news.  They need to break out on a consistent basis starting this Memorial Day weekend with three games each against the Reds, Giants, and Dodgers.  Jon Gray, the fake ace, gets the nine game home stand started tonight.

Hitters in quick sand

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.

32 Comments

    • rockymountainhigh

      May 26, 2018

      I’m going to be at Coors Field tonight (Saturday) and my lucky charm is working hard already! I screamed three times last night on PR, “Will somebody please give Valaika a ride to Albuquerque after the game?”

      I’m going have to send that volunteer a new car for Christmas. Ryan McMahon back up with the Rockies and starting at 2B.

      Another thing I notice going into tonight is that Bud Black is putting out the same lineup for the third straight game (except 7-8) Just what Dahl, Parra, Story, Blackmon, Desmond, and McMahon need to get into a rhythm.

      Reply
    • sdcarp

      May 27, 2018

      sdcarp’s bold (and irrelevant) statement of the day…….the single player in all of Major League Baseball that would benefit most from playing 1/2 their games at Coors is Billy Hamilton. Hamilton has been around for a while now. The sample size is large. He’s NOT a good hitter. But the massive Coors OF space/size could help him a bit. He would be a great super-sub for the Rox (remember, he came up as a SS). 4th OFer, pinch runner, defensive OF replacement, change of pace type of guy, double switch candidate.

      Reply
    • Agbayani

      May 27, 2018

      RMH, good point about getting some players consistent playing time, particularly Dahl. McMahon too. A breakout by at least one of them is essential if this offense is going to turn into something better than awful. I’m no Wolters fan, but at this point I’m wondering if the proper move is Murphy up, Iannetta out for a while (where’s that “catchers get nicked up” injury that gives Murphy a chance?). McMahon at 2B while DJ is out is a great idea, and they need a similar one to get Murphy a chance to show he’s at least adequate defensively and that he can provide some offensive punch.
      Carp – I’ve always thought that a Coors team functions best with an elite defensive centerfielder. Willy Taveras provided that in 2007. Dexter Fowler in 2009 and after. Hamilton is a terrible hitter (Q. but is he worse than Desmond?), but he’s still elite defensively and on the basepaths. Acquiring him through a trade would have made a whole lot more sense than re-signing Cargo or signing Desmond. And he should still be available for a pretty low cost. He won’t raise your team’s OPS or anything, but he would also shift Blackmon to a corner (where he’s better suited now) with Dahl in the other corner, with Cargo and maybe Parra too outta here. I’d call that an upgrade.

      Reply
      • sdcarp

        May 27, 2018

        If you’ll recall coming into the year, my surprise WC contender was the Phillies (they’re proving that statement correct in spades) and my surprise “maybe come close to 500 team” was the Reds. Well…….they’re not making me look like a good prognosticator (yet). But……….they’re an intriguing organization. They’ve got some solid young offensive guys, (Senzel is still in the minors) and some BP pieces with upside (fortunately, we’re missing Raisel Isglesias – on the DL as the moment). What they lack is SP. They have perhaps the very, very best SP Prospect in baseball (Hunter Greene) – but he’s 2 years away minimum. Where is this rambling headed? I think we could match up with Reds very well for a Hamilton trade. Perhaps Yhency Almonte? Hell……perhaps even Hoffman if the Reds would take Cargo or Parra back in the deal.

        Reply
      • Bob K.

        May 27, 2018

        The Rockies are 15-7 when Wolters catches. During today’s broadcast they said that Wolters is leading catchers with +8 DRS (defensive runs saved).

        I have not seen any evidence that Murphy is even an adequate defensive catcher let alone knows how to call a game. I have not seen it proven at the major league level that he is a good hitter. But if he is such a great hitter, make a 1st baseman out of him. I would not worry about getting offense from the catcher’s position when you have a 1st baseman hitting .176. Lets get some offense from 1st base and let the catchers alone.

        Reply
        • sdcarp

          May 28, 2018

          Bob K – I’ve thought the very same thing (why not Murphy at 1st?) numerous times. At one point, I checked the ABQ stats last week and Murphy and played 34 games at C and 5 at DH. Not a single game at 1st.

          Reply
          • Bob K.

            May 28, 2018

            It really is not acceptable to have a 1st baseman hitting .176 at the major league level. Most catchers at the major league level that are good hitters eventually play 1st base. Buster Posey and Joe Mauer are just a couple of good examples. I still have not seen any evidence that the Rockies can develop a good catcher on their own.

            Reply
    • Agbayani

      May 28, 2018

      Bob K. – true about Murphy. We don’t know what we have in him. But be careful with those Catcher defensive stats! It’s easy to cherry pick, particularly with the small sample sizes we get with backup catchers. Example:
      – Rockies team ERA last year: 4.51. ERA when Wolters was catching: 5.07
      – Pitch framing: per StatCorner (BP does this too, but I don’t pay to subscribe): Wolters was terrible last year (if we trust the numbers), Murphy (tiny sample) average. This year: Wolters good, Iannetta pretty bad. Did Wolters get a whole lot better in the offseason at pitch framing? I doubt it. It’s probably luck. Outside of a very few guys with long track records – right now, Yasmani Grandal is tops in framing, and has something of a history of that – this is pretty much a junk stat.
      The eye test tells me Wolters overall is a very good defensive catcher, not surprising because he’s a guy who isn’t “just” a catcher. He’s a perfectly fine middle infielder who has learned to catch and still brings that quickness and ability to thrown off balance to the new position.
      But I prefer to go with what we know for a fact: he’s a horrible hitter, and there’s absolutely nothing to show he’s improving. In fact, his 2017 was worse than his rookie 2016, and his 2018 so far is worse still. Murphy may or may not hit; he may be decent defensively, maybe not. Wolters-Iannetta is a fine tandem for a team shooting for 86 wins and a possible (like last year) wild card play-in game. But if you want to improve and actually try to win a division, or at least try for that home wild card, you gotta get better. Right now, Iannetta is the guy I’d move aside for Murphy, even if it’s a DL stint. This team is still at the bottom of every offensive category. That’s got to change.

      Reply
      • Bob K.

        May 28, 2018

        I have a theory why Wolters pitch framing got worse last year and I blame it on the Rockies announcers. I may be wrong but I believe that last year the umpires were making up for all the “stolen” strikes Wolters got in 2016 when he ranked very high. Umpires can watch or listen to games and the constant comment “Wolters stole that strike” cannot have set very well with the umpires.

        I know you also disagree with this but Wolters is not the only person hitting worse last year and this year which coincides with having an incompetent hitting coach.

        The only stat that I really like about Wolters is that the team wins when he catches. He has caught 22 games this season and the team is 15-7 when he catches. The only games that Jon Gray has gotten a win in are the games that Wolters has caught.

        The Rockies are horrible offensively but it is far more important to get production from 1st base than from the catchers. The one constant about all of the hitters is the hitting coach. The last time Espy was the hitting coach, he got fired because of exactly the same thing that is going on now offensively. I do not accept that it is a coincidence. If you want better offense change the one thing that affects all of the hitters.

        Reply
        • sdcarp

          May 28, 2018

          For the record….I’m in agreement regarding the Hitting Coach(es). Espy at a minimum needs to go.

          Reply
    • rockymountainhigh

      May 28, 2018

      I’m at Coors tonight (Monday) Every time there’s a delay in start time, the Rockies Brett beat up badly as in double digits losses. They don’t know to be ready after a delay.

      Reply
      • sdcarp

        May 28, 2018

        What’s going to hurt worse than a rain delay……Otto to the DL.

        Reply
      • sdcarp

        May 29, 2018

        You’ve brought us two consecutive wins RMH!

        Reply
    • sdcarp

      May 29, 2018

      sdcarp getting crazy, 5/29/2018 version:

      FACT = Seattle Mariners 33-20, 2nd in AL Wild Card race (just behind Yankees, some breathing room to 3rd (Halos 4 1/2 back))
      FACT = Mariners desperately need 2B/CF help thanks to Cano’s PED suspension and Dee Gordon’s toe….and Dee Gordon really needs to play CF.
      FACT = Jerry DiPoto likes to trade.
      FACT = Rockies have DL LeMahieu coming off the DL soon. Keep in mind DJ’s contract expires this year. With Hampson, Rodgers, and McMahon in the system, LeMahieu won’t be resigned.
      FACT = Mariners have this player in their system:

      #2 Mariner Prospect = Evan White, 1B, Grade B: Age 21, first round pick in 2017 from University of Kentucky; hit .277/.345/.532 in Northwest League over 47 at-bats, small sample but successful; outstanding defensive first baseman who can also play the outfield; Gold Glove ability at first if he hits enough to play regularly; projected as high-batting-average/OBP hitter with moderate power by most observers, although in the NWL he showed more isolated power (and a lower average) than expected, again the sample is small; will likely make short work of A-ball, watch his power production when he hits the high minors. ETA late 2019.

      sdcarp’s crazy suggestion (made knowing the Rockies won’t cut bait with Desmond) = trade LeMahieu for White straight up, NOW. Keep McMahon at 2nd short term. If Hampson begins to master AAA and Desmond is still struggling in a month, bring Hampson up and move McMahon to 1st.

      Reply
      • sdcarp

        May 29, 2018

        One additional comment (unrelated to above) – that damn David Dahl seems to be the only player that we have that can pinch hit reliably…..making him valuable in two roles (as the everyday LFer, but also coming off the bench). This is a mildly unfortunate development in a warped sort of way.

        Reply
    • Agbayani

      May 29, 2018

      Billy Beane: the first third of the season is to find out what you’ve got. The second third is to acquire the pieces you’re missing. The final third is to win with them.
      We just passed the 1/3 pole yesterday. Good news: performing at an 87-win rate. You need a couple key pieces to get over the hump! This is the year to go for it … the division, that is. I like Carp’s crazy ideas, but I’d shoot more for immediate help in the lineup, not a kid who might be ready by the middle of next year at the earliest.
      Random observations:
      – McMahon may be range-limited at 2B (we’ll see when he plays enough to be listed on the advanced defensive metrics), but he has good hands, good instincts, is just a good, solid ballplayer. I remember when they stuck Ian Stewart at 2B in a similar attempt to get more offense in the lineup … you could tell right away that it wasn’t going to work. McMahon, on the other hand, is kind of Daniel Murphy-esque. It’s worth sticking with the experiment till DJ is back.
      – Bryan Shaw/Chris Rusin: you know how I’m down on Jake McGee? I’m not down on Shaw or Rusin. The point isn’t results, which fluctuate wildly for relievers. McGee has looked like crap (maybe he found a bit more velocity the last time out?); Shaw and Rusin look exactly the same to me as they’ve always looked. They’ll be fine.
      – Cargo/Desmond – it pains me to have to say it, but at the ASB last year I said the best option the Rox have for RF was still Cargo, albeit in a loose platoon since he struggles mightily now against lefties. Same thing this year. As awful as Desmond has looked, as bad as Cargo has looked, even at their ages they are better options than Noel Cuevas or Mike Tauchman or something like that. Both are showing some signs of life …
      – Freeland – he’s entering that “smooth/consistent lefty 3rd starter” lane that cruise along for a good long ride. And he’s not scared of altitude. I like him a lot.
      – Iannetta – I just got through saying he should go on the DL with a phantom injury to give Murphy a shot. But now I’m saying “same old Iannetta.” You could (and we have) done worse at catcher.
      – Story – if this is what he is, it’s pretty good. Sure, RBIs are a junk counting stat, but a 120 RBI pace for a good fielding SS is pretty impressive.

      Reply
      • roxnsox

        May 30, 2018

        That’s the first time I’ve ever heard RBI called a junk stat. I’d love to hear why you say so. (Is it junkier than runs scored or ERA? My two least favorites.)

        Reply
      • rockymountainhigh

        May 30, 2018

        I agree with roxnsox, RBI is very valuable stat. If you don’t have an RBI, you don’t score.

        Reply
    • Agbayani

      May 30, 2018

      RBI: 2003, Larry Walker had 79 RBIs. Preston Wilson had 144 (in less than 100 more at bats). He had Larry Walker to drive in! (and some other guys like Todd Helton batting in front of him). It’s just too context dependent to be a useful stat. Now, it’s not totally useless. That’s why I mentioned that even though it’s not a “good” metric, if Trevor Story is on a pace to bat in 120 runs, that means: (1) he’s playing a lot; (2) he’s a productive hitter. Oh, and (3) this year he’s batting in the meat of the order most of the time instead of 7th.

      Reply
      • rockymountainhigh

        May 30, 2018

        You have a good point, but if you ain’t clutch you ain’t getting RBI. If it was Dan Castro hitting instead of Preston Wilson, would he even have 50 RBI?

        Reply
      • roxnsox

        May 31, 2018

        Context dependent – true! See my complaints about runs scored and ERA. “Other guys-dependent” would also describe those. But then we may be venturing into a wider discussion called It Takes A Whole Team and maybe every stat is too context dependent. No, that’s going too far 😉

        Reply
    • Agbayani

      May 30, 2018

      Meanwhile … Jon Gray, what’s up?
      And is it just me, or is Charlie not covering much ground in CF anymore (having gotten older and bulkier over the years)? That’s why I want to see us acquire a true/fast centerfielder.

      Reply
      • rockymountainhigh

        May 30, 2018

        I agree about Blackmon in CF. We saw Almora rob us of several XBHs in the Cubs games. Tonight Blackmon gives up a Longoria triple that any other Rockies OF would have gotten to. Then you saw Gorkys catch CarGo’s ball heading to the alley that would have score two runs for the Rockies. CF play is the difference tonight by probably a four run swing.

        Reply
    • Agbayani

      May 30, 2018

      And RMH, I checked fangraph’s UZR (ultimate zone rating, probably still the best defensive metric out there) – for this year, Charlie is performing at a staggeringly awful rate of 22.6 runs below average defensively (prorated to a 150 game season). 9 runs created or saved generally translates into about 1 win. So if Charlie continues like this, his defense will cost the team about 2.5 wins. He’s a very good hitter, so it’s not like he’s a bad player (and maybe the leg injury has slowed him a bit this year; historically, he’s just a bit below average defensively), but he belongs in a corner OF position. Following on Carp’s Billy Hamilton idea, think about this cheapo way of improving the team:
      – Move Charlie to RF
      – Trade for Billy Hamilton (probably about a + 15 runs CFer)
      – that’s a net gain of maybe 4 wins! Since Blackmon probably isn’t really this bad in CF, let’s take that down to 3 wins. Still a lot.
      And sitting Cargo/Parra by playing Blackmon in LF or RF doesn’t cost you anything offensively or defensively, given how weak those two guys have been.
      That last gapper that got past Charlie tonight- when it left the bat, I heaved a sigh of relief assuming it would be a pretty routine catch. It wasn’t …

      Reply
      • roxnsox

        May 31, 2018

        Sounds good to me! Make the trade, Ag! I’m assuming that in this scenario our golden boy plays the other corner? (DD) (By the way, I’ve been out of touch for a week – IS Dahl blossoming? Whenever I catch a glimpse, he seems to have done something good….)

        Reply
    • sdcarp

      May 31, 2018

      Really good conversation going on here gang.

      1. I’ve seen (quite a bit recently) the RBI stat called “useless.” I prefer “secondary.” It’s a stat the player doesn’t have complete control of (players getting on base in front of at bat)……hence the term. Personally, I DONT think the RBI stat is useless.
      2. Charlie Blackmon IS slower. He’s nursing an injury, but is also getting older (aren’t we all). He should definitely by out of CF.
      3. As noted previously, Reds and Rox match for Hamilton trade IMO.
      4. Not related to above conversation……I’m loving how a couple of the new Managers are using their BPs. Last night, Calloway (Mets) brought Famalia in for the 8th to face the meat of the Braves BO. Quickly emerging Robert Gsellman (think Jeff Hoffman here) came in for the Save in the 9th. Gabe Kapler (Phillies) is doing even better. He’s juggling at least 4 guys in the 8th/9th role. And the Brewers…..Counsell is maximizing that beast Josh Hader every chance he gets. The Phillies and Brewers are LEGIT.

      Reply
    • Agbayani

      May 31, 2018

      On bullpen usage: Carp, you hit the nail on the head. This is the year the LaRussa model finally crumbles. And you didn’t even mention the most outrageous disrupter of all – the Rays with their Sergio Romo “opener” concept. That threatens to end the classic starter/reliever distinction. Stats guys have been saying these things for years, but the difference is now that front offices are being run by stats guys. I’d love to see Chris Rusin as an “opener”, throwing an inning or two, then being backed up by a Bettis or Marquez, frustrating the opposing team’s platoon attempts.
      On Billy Hamilton: well, I forgot to mention that he is a terrible hitter. So after racheting down from a max of +4 wins (if Blackmon continues to show terrible range in CF) to +3 wins (he’s not really that bad), I should really adjust to about +2 wins (Cargo-Parra-Desmond haven’t been good, but combined they’re still more productive at the plate than Hamilton, but then Hamilton gives you a bit extra on the basepaths). Still, probably one of the cheapest fixes the team could make, and someone out there may actually want Parra or Cargo too. I should mention that absolutely no one wants Desmond’s contract ….

      Reply
      • sdcarp

        May 31, 2018

        IMO…..Coors takes Hamilton from 200-210 to somewhere in the 240-250 range. It benefits him more than any other player in Major League Baseball. He just needs to slap the ball on the ground and run. The spacious Coors OF will take care of the rest.

        Reply
    • sdcarp

      May 31, 2018

      Ladies and Gents….I apologize for being negligent. One of my favorite events of the year (the MLB Amateur Draft) is coming up and I haven’t offered my incredibly valuable opinions (HA!).

      Names to watch for 1st round (#22) pick:
      1.Travis Swaggerty CF – (University of South Alabama) – the chances of Swaggerty getting to pick #22 are slim and none…..but I like the college bat. Power + Speed + tremendous CF defense.
      2. Jared Kelenic – Wisconsin HS – OFer – pure hitter. Again, chances of getting to the Rox slim and none.
      3. Tristen Casas – Florida HS – 3B/1B – Raw power galore.
      4. Anthony Seigler – Georgia HS – C – switch hitting catcher. Great athlete. Will probably go in the 20-25 range (Rox pick 22nd).

      Three college 1st basemen to watch (likely to be picked in rounds 2-3) – Greyson Jenista (Wichita State), Luken Baker (TCU), and Seth Beer (Clemson). I mention these because they’re fits for the Rox 1st base needs (really at all levels within the organization).

      Reply

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