SINGULAR IMPERATIVE

SINGULAR IMPERATIVE

ROX, DBACKS IN ONE MORE DANCE FOR SPOT IN TOURNEY

It is without doubt uncool to be talking baseball while we’re all struggling to come to terms with another exercise of grotesque inhumanity, this time in the city of Las Vegas, Nevada.  The load of wrath and sorrow that’s come down on mankind over the past month or so is barely comprehensible.  It is knocking down the spirit on the edge of a season that could be cause for joy.

The Colorado Rockies logged their 87th and final win of the 2017 regular MLB season Friday evening with a rousing 9-1 triumph over the Los Angeles Dodgers at Coors Field in Denver.  On Saturday afternoon the (then) 85 win Milwaukee Brewers blew a 6-0 lead over the St Louis Cardinals and fell 7-6, a strategically fatal miscalculation that left them trailing the Rockies by 2-1/2 games with one to play.  There were no further mathematical combinations the Brewers could fall back upon.  Colorado got the grab on the visiting National League Wild Card and will face-off with the Arizona Diamondbacks Wednesday at 6:00 pm MT in Phoenix at Chase Field.  Jon Gray (10-4, 3.67) goes against Arizona’s Zack Greinke (17-7, 3.20) in a battle of ace right-handers.

The Rockies decided to mail-it-in for their final two games with Los Angeles once news of the Brewers’ demise became official.  They took a 3-0 lead after 2 on Saturday before giving it back and falling 5-3.  22 Rockies played, 6 of them pitchers, and a big celebration occurred following the contest, despite the result being a loss.  Sunday Colorado fell behind 5-0 by the 5th inning before scoring a run in the 6th and 2 in the 7th.  The Dodgers would nevertheless prevail, 6-3.  20 people saw action on Sunday, again 6 were pitchers.  Call me an old fuddy-duddy, but it all seemed unsuitably casual to me.  After all there are still fish to fry, or at least rattlers to subdue.

But back on Friday, when consequences were still in-play, the Rox got busy early, getting 3 in the 1st and 2 in the 2nd against Los Angeles left-hander Hyun-Jin Ryu.  Nolan Arenado got the party started with a gigantic 2-out solo homer to center, then Trevor Story knocked a single and came around on an even larger blast off the bat of Mark Reynolds.  Ian Desmond worked Ryu for a walk leading-off the 2nd and scored run no. 4 when Charlie Blackmon, who has become the National League Batting Champion, drilled a big shot of his own, opposite field, to right.  Walker Buehler held Colorado in-check for an inning, but in the 4th Arenado singled with two out and this time it was Story who would drop one over the wall in center.  Tony Cingrani took over for Buehler in the 5th and was immediately greeted with a Carlos Gonzalez double.  Desmond made out on a line drive, Jonathan Lucroy got a base-on-balls after a 9-pitch at-bat, and starting pitcher Chad Bettis loaded the bases when he reached on an error.  Gonzalez scored on a passed-ball while Blackmon was batting, then the MVP candidate drove-in Lucroy with a single, pushing the lead to the final score of 9-1.  Bettis worked 7, giving-up a run on 4 hits, and Carlos Estevez and Scott Oberg each delivered an inning of scoreless relief.

So now we come upon this most curious of events, MLB’s one-and-done contest to determine which Wild Card advances to the post-season.  Certainly capricious, perhaps unfair, the one chance to make good on the other 162 is uniquely baseball, where if you haven’t taken care of business by securing your Division, you subject yourself to the whims of a single contest of skill and chance.  The New York Yankees and Minnesota Twins take their turn tomorrow night, also at 6:00 MT, going after it at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx.

The Rockies, who headed to Phoenix this afternoon, and Diamondbacks have played 19 times in 2017, Arizona taking 11 of them.  But as sdcarp has pointed-out several times, Colorado has had greater success in the desert than home here in Denver, a marker of 5-5 at Chase Field versus one of 3-6 at Coors.  The DBacks were back and forth the first half of 2017 before taking control after the All Star break and emphatically winning the home card.  Colorado conversely got off to a big start then had a long, grueling drive to the finish, virtually backing-in to secure the other one on the Milwaukee loss.

Arizona has a strong, deep, veteran lineup, richly deserving of a post-season run.  But our Rockies are strong and deep too, even battle-tested after a contending season’s long grind.  It’s just one more test against a rival we’ve already beaten 8 times.

I like our chances.

jim-miller

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

42 Comments

    • roxnsox

      October 4, 2017

      A singular imperative indeed! Eerily quiet here among the RWO crowd, but I hope we all have lots of happy comments later on and tomorrow Let’s go, Rockies!

      Reply
      • roxnsox

        October 4, 2017

        I won’t be checking in until it’s over since I’m wedded to watching the DVR slightly behind (skip the commercials). Kind of miss the chat from olden days, though, and if we still had it I’d be joining in real time.

        Reply
    • Agbayani

      October 4, 2017

      I’ll save all the “what a great season overall” pleasantries for later. For now, it’s time to vent:
      1. WHAT THE HELL IS BUD BLACK DOING LETTING HOLLAND PITCH TO POLLOCK WITH FIRST BASE OPEN??? I know Descalso is on deck and had a HR already and is lefthanded … blah blah blah. Pollock is a far superior hitter! Come on, Bud, wake up! It’s Daniel Effin Descalso! If your ace closer vs. a career utility infielder isn’t the matchup you’re dreaming about, well, then, you haven’t been paying attention to this little sport we call Major League Baseball. Or you could even go with Mike Dunn vs. Descalso if you’ve lost faith in Holland. Whatever. It’s all great matchup world for the Rockies if you pull the right strings! When Holland uncorked that wild pitch I said, “well, at least he doesn’t have to get Pollock out now.” And then … he pitched to him, and Pollock stuck the knife squarely in our backs. Bring back Walt Weiss!!
      2. PLEASE EXERCISE THAT PLAYER OPTION AND MOVE ON, GREG HOLLAND! You gave us a great two months. Hell, you pretty much are the reason we made the pseudo-playoffs. But … time to move on. Holland, you stunk it up in the second half, and when I saw you lumbering in (by the way, what players put on 25 pounds DURING the season?) I felt an existential dread the likes of which I haven’t felt since Alan Roach boomed out “Pinch hitting for the Rockies, Ty Wigginton.”
      3. Jon Gray, I hope this was your baptism of fire. I hope you got it out of your system, these pseudo-playoff jitters. Over amped, over throwing that curve, getting killed. And you deserved it. This wasn’t lucky bouncers and bloopers night. These balls were … ripped.
      4. 4 triples? Or was it 5? Not at Coors. At Chase! Outfield positioning, anyone? How does that happen? I mean, I kind of get Bradley because I assume they were playing very shallow. But 3 more? Really? By the way, I think I’ve found our new rightfielder. His name is Charlie Blackmon. Get me a damn CF how can cover serious ground!
      5. Also get me a pitcher or a RH hitting corner outfielder for DJ. Valaika should have 2B now. Or if not him, you gotta find somewhere to put that Human Bad Contract known as Ian Desmond. DJ, you had a good run. An empty .310 at Coors ain’t gonna take us to that next level.
      6. Pat Neshek: how on earth do you let a relief pitcher with 4 ABs all year drill a TRIPLE off your weirdo siderarmy delivery? I mean, that absolutely cannot happen. But it did. Again, I think “you got Mathis out, now they have to let Bradley hit … he’s an automatic K.”
      7. Chris Rusin: I love you man. I think you’re the only guy who shut ’em down. Example: 4 pitch walk to Mathis, .211 hitter. Is he losing it? Nope. He’s ready to get Robby Ray out, since he knows Ray needs to hit to stay in the game. I’m surprised Bud didn’t tell him to go right after Mathis just like he told Holland to go right after Pollock.

      Enough. I’ll be all “our lads put up quite a fight” tomorrow.. I think.

      Reply
      • roxnsox

        October 5, 2017

        Five stars, Ag! 🙂 (I’ll join in the “great season” pleasantries later as well. 🙁 )

        Reply
    • Bob in WV

      October 4, 2017

      Eight of their 17 hits came with two strikes, and most with pitches to waste. Three led to runs where one more strike ends the inning. The Rockies bats showed up, but with pitching like that there was no chance of winning. As Ag said, only Rusin came through admirably. Frustrating end to the season. Win or lose, I am not a fan of a one game series. It requires an entirely different strategy and substitution usage than you see all season.

      Reply
    • Bob in WV

      October 4, 2017

      Also, we will never know, but my guess is that if the pitcher doesn’t get the triple and go bonkers afterwards, he doesn’t lose steam/concentration in the next inning and give up those back-to-back homers.

      Reply
    • Agbayani

      October 4, 2017

      Bob in WV, I agree: I hate the one-game “playoff” – really, it should be called the “play in” game like the 65th team thing in the NCAA tournament. Having said that … it’s actually a lot less fair to the first wild card team. The Dbacks pretty soundly put away the Rockies this year, and then could’ve lost it all in one night.

      And you’re right too about the situational pitching … big fat 2 strike pitches well within the zone, including that one to Archie Bradley. Add to that the failure (with the exception of Arenado’s HR) of our big bats to do anything and that was more than enough to make the difference.

      Reply
    • Bob in WV

      October 4, 2017

      On a side note, Ag, while announcers all mention Arenado getting 130+ RBI’s each of the last three seasons, none have ever mentioned just how many more RBI’s he has over every other player during that time. If I remember right, he went into this season with 33 more over the past two seasons. That number must surely increase. Do you know of an easy way to determine this other than chasing down all the RBI leaders and adding up there totals over the last three seasons? there must be a database available that can quickly compile this.

      Reply
    • sdcarp

      October 5, 2017

      Executive Summary Initial Post Mortem (more to come later)….and as usual, in no particular order:

      1. Keep an eye on Mike Redmond. Teams with Manager vacancies will want to interview him. Hope he stays.
      2. I really liked the Chris Rusin/Pat Neshek back-to-back funky delivery/quick pitch, left/right, one-two punch. I hope we resign Neshek.
      3. WW gave too many days off to key players. BB went to the other extreme and played the key guys so much they were worn down the last 6-8 weeks. Next year Pat Valaika should start 3 days a week, once at 2nd, once at SS, once at 3rd. We need a legit 50/50 platoon at 1st. We need to get Charlie a few more games off in the OF.
      4. I’d like to see us resign LuCroy and float Murphy (or Wolters) on the trade market to see what they can bring in return.
      5. We need for Oberg and Estevez to take significant developmental steps this off-season.
      6. Agree with Ag……..let Holland walk. He’s running on fumes. The smoke and mirror act was only good for half the season.
      7. Extend the foul territory netting at Coors….don’t give us the cop-out “we’re investigating it.”
      8. Want to be bold? Really bold? Historically bold? Man up – sign Shohei Otani.
      9. If we’re not bold enough to sign Otani, other interesting FAs include: Eric Hosmer, Lorenzo Cain, Andrew McCutchen, Michael Brantley, JD Martinez, Justin Upton (maybe – he has an opt out), Jay Bruce……….and Mike Minor, who really intrigues me.
      10. If you knew with some confidence that David Dahl (RHed) will be back and can remain relatively injury free moving forward – signing Eric Hosmer (LHed) is also really intriguing.

      Reply
      • sdcarp

        October 5, 2017

        A quick note on the DBacks –

        Coming into the season, I had them pegged as about a 500 team, similar to us (remember, my Rockies prediction was 81-81). I saw a really good offense, good SP, bad defense, lack of depth, bad bull pen. So what happened?
        1. Yasmany Tomas getting injured actually helped them, I believe. He was a defensive liability in the OF, but his bat kept him in the lineup. Well….they have plenty of offense. Getting David Peralta in the OF everyday helped them defensively, gave them a leadoff hitter, and he was/is no offensive slouch.
        2. Archie Bradley stabilized the Bullpen. He’s their MVP (sorry Goldy).
        3. I would have guessed Nick Ahmed’s season ending injury would have really hurt their IF defense…..but Marte has really stepped up.
        4. And of course the BIG thing…..the JD Martinez deadline trade. An historically great trade for them….and it kept him away from us (would have been a great fit).

        Reply
      • roxnsox

        October 5, 2017

        Five stars. We should buy this team and run it (more) right, guys and girls.

        Reply
    • Agbayani

      October 5, 2017

      Troy Renck did a little post-mortem (and a look forward) on one of the local radio sports shows this afternoon. The post-mortem part:
      – worst single decision: Neshek (and Lucroy) deciding to throw a slider to Archie Bradley, who (according to Renck) had shown no ability to catch up to Neshek’s sidearm fastball. Oh, and then failing to bury the slider in the dirt …
      The look forward part:
      – interesting: according to Renck, the scout contacts he has are not at all sold on Brendan Rodgers defensively at SS. He thought the most likely scenario is Story at SS, Rodgers at 2B. DJ has one year of arbitration left, so that may fit nicely with Rodgers’ timetable.
      – Catcher: he’s an advocate for re-signing Lucroy. Seemed to think that Tom Murphy hurt himself defensively by bulking up a bit too much. Not a fan of Wolters as a starter (or even really as a reserve) as Tony’s shown no power development at all. Suggested maybe a Lucroy-Murphy catching tandem next year.
      – Reynolds: Renck thinks he may have played himself out of the Rockies price range (suggesting a 1 year/10 million deal! … I don’t

      Reply
      • Bob K.

        October 6, 2017

        “according to Renck, the scout contacts he has are not at all sold on Brendan Rodgers defensively at SS.”

        Just a reminder that the scouts said that Arenado was a defensive liability before he was brought up. Scouts make lots of mistakes such as saying that Trevor Story has just average speed.

        To me whether or not Wolters has power as a catcher is nowhere nearly as important as how he does calling games and how good a defensive catcher he is. Just because Murphy has power does not make him a good catcher, just remember Wilin Rosario.

        It is my opinion that in the past the Rockies have failed to properly develop their catching prospects. What I have seen since the management change has not led me to believe that they have figured it out yet.

        Reply
      • sdcarp

        October 6, 2017

        Ag – I too don’t see B-Rod ultimately being a SS.

        Reply
    • Agbayani

      October 5, 2017

      (continued)
      I don’t see Reynolds getting any 10 million buck deal. I think he could be brought back for half that. But Renck also mentioned the “where to play Desmond” issue. To me, it’s obvious: trade DJ, stick Desmond at SS.
      – Holland: also sees him walking. Mentioned that 6.00+ ERA in the 2nd half. That’s why I fear Holland will exercise his option and come back. If he’s gone, Renck saw only Estevez and Senzatela as potential in-house closer candidates.

      Reply
    • sdcarp

      October 8, 2017

      As feared – Mike Redmond to interview for Tigers Managerial position. All sorts of Redmond/Detroit ties, direct and indirect. IMO, he the front runner.

      Reply
    • Bob K.

      October 9, 2017

      From MLBTradeRumors.com

      Projected 2018 arbitration salaries.

      DJ LeMahieu (5.128) – $8.8MM
      Charlie Blackmon (5.102) – $13.4MM
      Chad Bettis (3.096) – $1.5MM
      Chris Rusin (3.092) – $1.4MM
      Zach Rosscup (3.021) – $600K

      Arenado is already under contract for $17.75MM in 2018 and will have one more arbitration year in 2019.

      Reply
      • sdcarp

        October 9, 2017

        Bob – where does this put the Rox in terms of total salary commitment for 2018? 100M-ish?

        By my ballpark math, we’ll have about 30-40M to play with, assuming a 130M-140M payroll. We’ll buy at least one RP @ +/- 5M. I think we’ll go with a veteran catcher (LuCroy or similar) @ +/- 10M. So that leaves us +/- 15-25M to chase Hosmer or similar.

        Reply
        • sdcarp

          October 9, 2017

          Here’s my first blush logic with Hosmer:
          1. “only” 28….most of the other prime FAs are 30-32.
          2. Premium defender at a non-premium position. I can see him playing well in the field until he’s 35. So he’s not a bad long-term risk.
          3. Really solid BA/OBP guy….as opposed to a “swing for the fences” first mentality….which could be a good fit for the Rox. We need one of those.

          To me, this comes down to the Club’s assessment of Ryan McMahon. If they think he’s the next great thing….then play him (and don’t sign Hosmer or similar). However, if there’s internal doubt about McMahon, leverage his great minor league season and try to get a premium RPer as a trade return (and sign Hosmer).

          Here’s what I know…..we have to upgrade the offense for 2018. One guy, if he’s the “right” guy, can make a huge difference. This is a good lineup:

          Blackmon (L)
          LeMahieu (R)
          Hosmer (L)
          Arenado (R)
          Dahl (L)
          Story (R)
          Parra (L)
          LuCroy (R)
          Pitcher

          Sub Desmond into a corner OF spot 2 of every 3 days (sort of a Parra/Dahl/Desmond rotation), sub Valaika into an IF spot 3 days a week.

          Reply
          • Bob K.

            October 9, 2017

            Just my opinion, the quickest and cheapest way to improve the offense is to get a good hitting coach.

            Reply
        • Bob K.

          October 9, 2017

          Current payroll is about $172MM minus $54MM (Cargo, Reyes, Motte, Qualls, etc.) which leaves approximately $118MM before known additions. Desmond’s salary increases to $22MM for 2018, Arenado’s increases to $17.75MM for known increases of $14MM and $6MM for $138MM before any unknown arbitration raises. Suspected arbitration raises are approximately $12MM spread over 5 players bringing the total to $150MM before any possible additions or subtractions.

          They did really well on attendance this year which I am sure helped offset the $172 MM but is there any way to know just how much management is willing to spend this year? It is entirely possible that Holland may not want to opt out of his $15MM for next year. Lucroy has implied that he would be willing to take a team friendly contract for a contending team. That contending team may or may not be the Rockies. My opinion is that Hosmer is very likely to bring higher offers than the Rockies are willing to make.

          There are always the possibility of trades completely changing what the team becomes.

          Reply
          • Bob K.

            October 9, 2017

            Of course if Holland opts out and the Rockies make him a qualifying offer, he can very easily turn that $15MM option into an $18MM one year contract by accepting the qualifying offer.

            Reply
          • Bob K.

            October 10, 2017

            I can’t remember where I read the $172MM figure but apparently it is wrong. According to spotrac.com the 2017 payroll was $146.7MM. Parra gets a $2MM raise for 2018. The non arb guys also get raises.

            The total before any more additions or substractions will be around $127MM leaving around $20MM available to get back to the same payroll. Reyes is on the payroll for one more year at $4MM for the buy out of his option.

            Reply
            • sdcarp

              October 10, 2017

              This (146M) sounds better. I had in my head (from who knows where?) it was +/- 135M. Regardless….I think we can expect a 10% increase in 2018 based on this year’s success, attendance spike, etc. If true, that will give us more like 35M of available funds.

    • sdcarp

      October 11, 2017

      Dare the Red Sox buyout Lovullo’s contract in ‘Zona and bring him back to Boston?

      Does John Farrell being available hurt Redmond’s chances in Detroit?

      Reply
    • Bob K.

      October 11, 2017

      Tidbit from tonight’s Cleveland/Yankees game. According to the announcers there have only been three times that teams with 100 or more regular season wins that have gone on to win the world series during the wild card era. Two of those three times belong to the Yankees.

      Reply
      • sdcarp

        October 12, 2017

        4th is coming this year IMO. This tournament is setting up perfectly for the Dodgers.

        Reply
    • Bob K.

      October 12, 2017

      Other pitching free agents of the Rockies are Tyler Chatwood, Jake McGee and Pat Neshek.

      Reply
    • Agbayani

      October 13, 2017

      I’m kind of hating how the playoffs are developing. All big money marquee franchises left except for the Astros: Yankees, Cubs, Dodgers, and sorry Roxnsox, I’m not much of a fan of the Red Sox anymore (“to defeat the evil empire we had to become the evil empire”). I guess I’ll pull for the Cubs based on how much I hate the Dodgers, but my biggest fear is a Dodgers-Yankees World Series. MLB would love that (probably not as much as Cubs-Yankees, but they’d still love it), but I think I’d have to sit that one out …
      … Meanwhile: Holland – glad he exercised the option. This team can’t afford a 17 million buck mistake. I’d also let McGee and Chatwood walk. Neshek fits my Quirky Delivery profile of relievers that succeed at Coors, so despite his age I’d get involved in the negotiations for him. Hosmer? Not the right guy. Obviously JD Martinez is, and if we hadn’t signed Desmond, he maybe would’ve been a plausible target. Oh well. We’ve got the young players, it’ll be up to them to take this team to that elusive next level …

      Reply
      • Bob in WV

        October 13, 2017

        I was going to write my thoughts on the playoffs so far, but Ag mirrors my sentiments exactly. Only hope left are the Astros. Should the Dodgers win, does that help us next year with perhaps some complacency setting in for the Dodgers? It would be my only positive coming out of a Dodgers-Yanks series which I too would probably not bother to watch.

        Reply
      • roxnsox

        October 13, 2017

        GO! ASTROS! Win it for your city. And I hear you on the Red Sox. Especially since they’ve won it 3 times in 13 years, I can kind of take or leave them…i.e., the pressure is off:)

        Reply
    • Agbayani

      October 14, 2017

      Verlander: on his way to being the best trade deadline pickup EVER. The Astros held out as long as possible, then almost reluctantly pulled the trigger on that trade. Meanwhile: just flipped on Cubs-Dodgers. Without my mind being terribly focused (a few beers this afternoon, a glass of wine with a steak on the grill, you know how it goes) I see Kershaw on the mound. Immediately: damn, I forgot about that. I hope he’s not on tonight. Then … it dawns on me that it’s the Cubs, so my anti-Cubs instinct kicks in. Is there a way both teams can lose? That’s why I’m all in on the Astros, plus Houston is the feel good story of the season.

      Reply
      • Bob K.

        October 16, 2017

        As much as I detest the AL and the DH, I really dislike all the proposals moving the Rockies to the AL and I really have no use for the four 8 team divisions completely eliminating the AL and NL. None of the proposals have the Rockies in with their traditional rivals.

        Reply

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