Rox Cool Off vs. Nationals

Rox Cool Off vs. Nationals

After a promising start to the four-game series against Washington with a 8-4 victory, Colorado skidded to a three-game losing streak.  The Nationals were red-hot coming into Coors Field and they treated Coors as gasoline added to their flaming bats.  They scored 15, 11, and 16 runs over the last three games of the series to hand Colorado yet another series loss at home.  The Rockies are merely 2-2 in series play and 7-6 overall at home.

The theme was the same over the last three games:  walking the opposing pitcher that blew up the inning and the pitching staff tried to nibble the plate to no avail.  Washington is a very patient club and when the hitters had strike two on them, they laid off the nibbles and then dropped the hammers when a Rockies pitcher had to bring the ball back over the middle and up.  It did not help that Washington was a well oiled machine at the right time in the right place.  Their lineup had Trea Turner, Bryce Harper, Ryan Zimmerman, Dan Murphy, and company.  They probably hit over .500 and slugged 1.000 as a group.  They also had the pitching staff; even without Max Scherzer and Stephen Strasburg, they still had Tanner Roark, Joe Ross, and Gio Gonzalez on the bump against Colorado.  Their only hole is their bullpen which was not needed this week.

Colorado heads to Phoenix for a three-game set starting Friday.  It will be a challenge for the young rotation to bear down against Arizona.  The Snakes’ offense is almost just as good as Washington’s offense and they play their games in a hitting park.  Even without Shelby Miller, their rotation is still good with good talent coming up to join Zack Greinke, Pat Corbin, and Robbie Ray.  They have Archie Bradley and JDLR in the bullpen to hand the ball to closer Fernando Rodney of the arrow shooting fame.

Colorado must be resilient since after a visit at San Diego, they will be home against the Cubs and Dodgers.  It feels like the best teams are front-loaded in the Rockies’ schedule for the first month and a half of the season.  If they come away with a .500 record in mid-May, they should be in great shape the rest of the season playing a softer schedule.

The bright spots of this dreary series against Washington were Tony Wolters and Pat Valaika.  Wolters continues to hit like post ASB 2016.  And Pat Valaika played both shortstop and outfield while mashing at the plate.  He has a chokehold on the roster spot over Alexi Amarista and Cristhian Adames.  The bench will only get better when all of the regular players that missed the month of April start coming off the disabled list.  Tom Murphy swap with Dustin Garneau.  Ian Desmond will make Amarista or Adames  DFA’ed.  David Dahl will join the team and add to the bench in a job share with Gerardo Parra.  Mike Dunn will make Chad Qualls go away for once and for all (or Estevez/Gopherg optioned).

If you ask me, I put Ian Desmond in RF relegating CarGo to 4th outfielder role.  Put Valaika in LF against southpaws.  Bud Black will have a lot of options when he clears out the Amarista/Adames/3rd catcher/Cardullo.  Replaced by Valaika/anybody that Desmond replace/Murphy/Dahl.

I guarantee you that BB is going to tell everyone in the rotation to stop nibbling and attack instead.  Finish off the 2-strike counts.  In addition, reduce the BB/9 rate in half.  If Colorado follows this formula, they should be on the MLBN shows a lot more frequently.

Important intradivisional series next in Arizona

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.

40 Comments

    • rockymountainhigh

      April 28, 2017

      Walks and inability to put opposing pitchers away has been a nightmare all week.

      Reply
    • sdcarp

      April 29, 2017

      Big win!

      I remember 3-4 years ago, when it was clear the Rox were going nowhere fast, some fans (myself included – front and center) were discussing rebuilding the team via trading Tulo as step #1 (these discussions were mostly on Purple Row). I thought the Yankees were a fit. Most others pooh-poohed the Yankees. “Their Farm System is too weak.” I kept mentioning two names. Aaron Judge and Greg Bird. Last night Judge broke Giancarlo Stanton’s Statcast Exit Velocity record with a HR measured at 119.4 MPH. That kid is a physical freak of nature.

      Reply
      • Bob K.

        April 29, 2017

        What do you expect? He is 6’7″ and 282 lbs. Most teams would have wanted a person that size as a pitcher.

        Reply
    • sdcarp

      April 29, 2017

      I’m rambling this AM. Finally back and caught up from another round of travel.

      I’m excited about getting Desmond back…..in what appears to be his best role…..Super Utility. Thank you Mark Reynolds. That being said, I think the player we’ve missed the most is Tom Murphy. Wolters is great….he really is. But this lineup has needed another thunder bat for a couple of years. Murphy can provide that on a platoon basis. I wrote this on the other thread last night:

      Consider Wolters at leadoff against RHed pitching, with Blackmon moving down to 3rd.
      Consider “traditional” Blackmon leadoff against LHed pitching with Murphy down at 6th or 7th.

      Get Desmond back and move him around, get Murphy back and platoon him with Wolters……we go a long way to fixing what I believe is our biggest “problem” – the offense.

      Reply
      • Agbayani

        April 29, 2017

        Wolters as a leadoff man vs. righties would be inspired! Try it, Bud.

        Reply
        • sdcarp

          April 29, 2017

          I don’t see it as a permanent solution. But what the heck. The kid takes pitches. He works the count. His BA is over 300 since the AS break last season. He can even run a little bit. Duh??????

          Reply
      • roxnsox

        April 29, 2017

        If it (leadoff) ain’t broke, don’t fix it! And it’s pretty far from broke!

        Reply
    • Agbayani

      April 29, 2017

      Desmond coming back
      Pinch hitters won’t make me cringe
      Springtime returns now

      OK, enough. Carp, nice article on Kahnle – I didn’t realize he’d somehow become one of the hardest throwers in baseball. Don’t forget we got Yency Almonte in the Kahnle trade, and Almonte now has about a 1.50 ERA through his first 4 AA starts, so that’s looking like a trade both sides are pretty happy with.

      Reply
      • sdcarp

        April 29, 2017

        Oh…I haven’t forgotten Almonte. In no way, shape, or form am I panning that trade.

        One thing to keep in mind, Statcast is measuring pitcher velocity at release instead of HP this year. This seems to be worth a 2 MPH. Regardless….Kahnle is still impressive. I think the 2 MPH is about correct. Case in point – Trevor Rosenthal hit 101 MPH 2 nights ago. Scouts are raving about him. When he came up 4 years ago, he was at 99 MPH (measured at HP). So his 101 now seems equal to his 99 then.

        Reply
      • roxnsox

        April 29, 2017

        I think we should have a haiku contest. OK, (partly) kidding.

        Reply
        • sdcarp

          April 29, 2017

          Black-mon is great
          May-be too great for lead-off
          Bat third, pro-duce runs

          Reply
          • sdcarp

            April 29, 2017

            The Nats were awe-some
            Look-ed des-tined World Cham-pions
            Then Eat-on tore ACL

            Reply
            • sdcarp

              April 29, 2017

              Car-go was a star
              But fath-er time al-ways wins
              He’s in a tail-spin

        • roxnsox

          April 30, 2017

          Stopping losing slides
          Hit field throw run pitch
          Not our fathers’ Rox

          Reply
          • roxnsox

            April 30, 2017

            I wish we could edit our blunders! Seven syllables required in line two 😉
            Stopping losing slides
            Hit field throw run pitch RALLY!
            Not our fathers’ Rox

            Reply
            • roxnsox

              May 1, 2017

              I like yours too. Thanks for playing:)

    • Agbayani

      April 29, 2017

      Shelby Miller – no surprise he needs TJ surgery. There’s got to be no more sinister injury report for a pitcher than “forearm tightness.” This really hurts the Dbacks since he was looking really sharp again – I saw him pitch in spring and the stuff was excellent. The NL West is kind of opening up. We’re about one Kershaw “back spasms” DL stint from a real race here!

      Reply
      • sdcarp

        April 29, 2017

        Trickle Down Effect……who do the Snakes put in Miller’s place? If the put Archie Bradley in the spot, it’s a big mistake. He’s quickly becoming a very, very good RPer.

        Reply
          • sdcarp

            April 29, 2017

            Well……you see what I mean. The Snakes need to make Bradley Closer tomorrow.

            Reply
    • rockymountainhigh

      April 29, 2017

      Ag, how did it feel to hear this…”the pinch hitter is….Pat Valaika”?

      Reply
      • Agbayani

        April 30, 2017

        RMH, it feels a lot better than “pinch hitting for the Rockies, Christhian Adames.” (Although I see Amarista hit one out last night … the ball was really carrying in Phoenix) It’ll feel better still when it can be Reynolds or Desmond or Parra or Dahl off the bench. Valaika is off to a fine start though.

        Reply
    • rockymountainhigh

      April 29, 2017

      Feels great to deal punch in the gut on the opponent! Game ball to Pat Valaika.

      Reply
    • rockymountainhigh

      April 29, 2017

      If tonight is any indication, it’s going to be a three-way dogfight in September. LAD went back-to-back-to back HRs in bottom of 9th to tie the game up.

      Reply
    • sdcarp

      April 30, 2017

      Real watershed moment for the Snakes today (and moving forward). As Ag notes above, they have a long-term vacancy in their rotation due to Shelby Miller’s impending TJ surgery. They also have a Closer with an ERA of 12.60. Essentially, two vacant spots.

      Then……they have Archie Bradley. He can fill either spot. If he goes into the rotation, expect something similar to Jon Gray. I.e…..big talent learning to pitch on the job. He’s probably a year behind Gray on the SP learning curve, but same type of talent. Or…….they can name him Closer. If they do that, he solidifies the back end of their BP immediately.

      Traditional baseball thinking moves him into that SP vacancy. New school “super -reliever” thinking moves him to Closer and he’s handled a little like Iglesias/Miller/Betances (I.e.- multiple inning Saves are possible). Remember, the Snakes have a new GM (Mike Hazen). Red Sox pedigree.

      This will be fun to watch.

      Reply
      • sdcarp

        April 30, 2017

        As Rockies fans….we want Bradley to rotation, JJ Hoover to Closer. This really make their BP a dumpster fire.

        Reply
    • rockymountainhigh

      April 30, 2017

      I fear Arizona a lot more if Archie Bradley is the closer. Rox looked silly last night against him. Other teams probably looked silly as well.

      Reply
      • sdcarp

        April 30, 2017

        He leads NL relievers in K’s, and I believe he missed a little action in the 1st week (I could be wrong about that – I may be thinking of someone else). The Bradley comparable is Trevor Rosenthal. Rosenthal came through the minors as a SPer, but was pressed into action as the Cards Closer based on need. He really excelled (at least during his first year). He’s had some bumps since (physical mostly), but seems back on track.

        Reply
    • sdcarp

      April 30, 2017

      Hey – whatever became of the RMH/Ed the Ump April Rockies record predictions? Was there beer on the line?

      Reply
    • Agbayani

      April 30, 2017

      Heartbreaking to lose a 0-0 game in the 13th, but I won’t let that detract from a great final April series and a great month. What a difference a good start makes – I checked baseball prospectus this morning, and the Rockies were sitting at a projected 83 win team now (in other words, still under .500 the rest of the year) with a 40% chance of making the playoffs. And Marquez’s excellent start today makes the whole fantasy of having 3 rookie starters succeeding just a little less fantastical …

      Reply
    • sdcarp

      April 30, 2017

      I have the same take away Ag. The guys have a lot of fight. The Managerial difference is huge. Still tweaks to be made, but it’s going to be a fun summer.

      On to San Diego. I’ll say the same thing I said before San Diego came into Coors. They’re not a good team, but they have a young offense that can put up some runs. Lots of swing and miss guys. All or nothing (sounds like the Rox from 2012-2016 huh????). They’ll score some runs….so we need to get the offense going. Keep this in mind – Petco has undergone two separate renovations and is no longer a pitcher’s Park. It plays almost exactly neutral.

      Seems like I recall reading Tom Murphy will have a scan on his wrist tomorrow. Hopefully, he’ll be given clearance to begin swinging. I’m guessing he’ll be similar to Desmond. There’s no reason he hasn’t been able to workout, maintain general fitness, and throw (it was his left wrist, correct?). He should be doing all his lower body Gym workouts (big for a Catcher). So once clear, his comeback could also be relatively quick.

      Reply
    • sdcarp

      May 1, 2017

      Noah Syndergaard – the guy that refused an MRI on his arm last week (I’m not sure how the Mets allowed that to occur) now has a torn lat muscle. Not a pulled lat muscle. Not a strained lat muscle. A torn lat muscle. Apparently similar to Stephen Matz’s 2015 injury that cost him 2 months. That’s a big blow to a team in the Wild Card chase. Go Rockies!

      Reply
    • rockymountainhigh

      May 2, 2017

      I can’t complain about April. One of most important things i look at is 12-6 record vs. West teams. 9-4 record away from Coors and 7-6 at home. I do notice that almost all teams with winning records on road have losing records at home, believe it or not. Overall 2nd best record in NL.

      I scoreboard watch other NL teams expected to contend for post season. I consider Dodgers, Cubs, and Nationals heavy favorites to win their divisions. It was good to see Giants and Mets get beaten down early on. So now my focus is on Arizona and Cardinals. I’m liking our chances as long as we don’t hit the oil patch and skid out of control.

      If Tyler Anderson can rediscover himself then I’m going all in with the return of Jon Gray. (middle June?) Tom Murphy’s return will definitely boost the offense and/or bench. Looking good and up.

      Reply

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