Upcoming Litmus Paper Test

Upcoming Litmus Paper Test

Colorado Rockies return home for a tough 10-game home stand after a 4-2 quick trip to the Southwest.  After winning the series 2-1 in the desert, they traveled to the Gaslight Lamp district to narrowly escape the Friars with a 2-1 series win to end a 4-2 trip.  The Rockies are now 11-5 away from Coors and 7-6 at home.  They have won or tied every series against the NL West teams so far this year except for the home series against the lowly San Diego Padres.  That is the key to being in first place with a 18-11 record just ahead of the Snakes (17-13).  But the world knows the Dodgers will wake up sooner or later and leapfrog into first place.  Colorado’s challenge is to stay ahead of Los Angeles as long as possible.

On Tuesday, Bud Black’s squad never showed up as they went 20 innings without a RBI including a 13-inning shutout to take an embarrassing 6-2 loss.  The only runs scored were on a Little League play when Ian Desmond raced all the way home from first on a stolen base attempt aided by a throwing error. The other run scored on a bases loaded 20-feet dribbler.  The Padres’ rally were started with a walk to the opposing pitcher that blew the game open.  It was the third or fourth time this year a walk to the opposing pitcher blew the game open in favor of the bad guys.  Maybe if Chuck_Nazty had played just  a little better defense on the triple and double in that inning, Colorado might have escaped a bad inning.

The Rockies woke up temporarily for a night on Wednesday when pounded San Diego, 11-3.  Ian Desmond knocked Jered Weaver around with a couple of home runs while Antonio Senzatela pitched very well except for the fifth inning when he threw away the double play come backer after giving up a lead-off homer.  It is rumored that teammates are calling Senza “Little Prince”.

Today Ryan Hanigan, who was signed in late spring, to provide the veteran presence among the green corps of catchers, made his first appearance. He replaced Tony Wolters who was put on the 7-day concussion list.  While everyone else were no-shows, Hanigan hit a solo homer in the seventh to pad the lead to 2-0.  Kyle Freeland pitched a gem until the seventh when he walked the bad guy before a run-scoring double.  He gave way to Gopherg after he issued yet another free pass to put runners on first and second.  Gopherg struck out the pinch  hitter before Mike Dunn came on for a two-pitch third out to keep the score at 2-1.

Then Otto tried to commit suicide in the eighth by walking three batters while inducing a  fly ball out.  BB popped out of the dugout and gave the ball to Jake McGee.  He got a ground ball in which Alexi Amarista tried to start a double play, but runner beat out the throw to first to knot the game at 2-2.  Then McGee got the Rockies out of a jam with a pop up to end the inning.  McGee gave Otto a CPR rescue effort, yet he was tagged with the blown save.

In the eleventh, two walks and a base hit loaded up the bases with two outs for Hanigan.  He had his second RBI with an infield hit for the go-ahead run to make the score 3-2.  Like clockwork, Greg Holland comes on for his 12th save in 12 opportunities with two strikeouts while giving up only a two-out dribbler back to the mound base hit.  Ag’s man crush, Chad Qualls, got the credit for the win by pitching the 10th inning giving up only a surprise bunt for a hit by Will Myers and a rare free pass.  The Rockies ran their one-run record to 9-0 on the season which is often said to be unsustainable, but the club will take it any day of the week.

The litmus paper test over ten games begins Friday with Arizona making a return trip to Coors, followed by world champions Chicago Cubs, and then closing out the home stand with a four-game series against NL West favorites Los Angeles Dodgers.  On a neutral field, the Rockies would like to win five games, but since they are at home they should aim for six games.  The Dodgers and D-backs are more important than the Cubs in order to keep them down in the standings.  Ideally the goal is to win 2-1 series over the Snakes, avoid a sweep against the Cubs, and at least split the series against the Dodgers.

I am forecasting a blood bath within the West division during the summer.  If you haven’t noticed, all West teams have a stout closer:  Giants – Mark Melancon; Padres – Brandon Maurer; Dodgers – Kenley Janssen; Rockies – Greg Holland; Arizona – Archie Bradley (my guess, but if he gets promoted watch out for Arizona).  The separation will come down to the links between the starters and closers.  Rockies and Dodgers have the advantage there.

Las Vegas bookies have given the Rockies better odds in many categories.  The Rockies now have a 25-1 chance to win the World Series and their odds for the NL West crown improved to 5/2 from 9/1.

The key for making the dream a reality will be the rotation.  Senzatela, Freeland, and German Marquez are showing promising starts to the season.  When Jon Gray returns, the rotation will be that much better. That allows the club to have flexibility to make adjustments to the rotation while the so-called veterans haven’t done as well as the rookies.  Looking at you Chatty and Tyler Anderson.  Then there’s Jeff Hoffman who has started to heat up in Albuquerque.

On the other side of the ball, CarGo had cramps in his leg today and hopefully he will be benched for a while.  He has continually been a Great Wall in the middle of the lineup which explained Colorado’s frequent offensive struggles.  Trevor Story has been given a two day break while letting Alexi Amarista and Pat Valaika start in his place.  Raimel Tapia has been raking in AAA and he’s ready to bump CarGo down to fourth or fifth outfielder.

4-2 on quick road trip to AZ and SD

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.

29 Comments

    • sdcarp

      May 5, 2017

      “the world knows the Dodgers will wake up sooner or later and leapfrog into first place.”

      Of course this will probably end up being correct, but Dodgers SP after Kershaw is so fragile, mostly due to health concerns. Rich Hill is great when he’s healthy, which almost never. Ryu…big health question mark. McCarthy….big health question mark. Maeda….nice pitcher, not great. Urias…..big upside, rookie. Normally I’d say “doesn’t matter, they’ll go out and get someone at the deadline.” But with Yankees looking like serious contenders with the same SPer question marks, the Chris Archer market now has at two heavyweight players (and I wouldn’t count out the Cubs either).

      Reply
    • sdcarp

      May 5, 2017

      RMH – I’m sure you noted Cargo left yesterday’s game with a calf cramp/strain/tweak…..whatever you want to call it.

      Could be a good “opportunity” to rest him this weekend and play Parra in RF (with Desmond in LF, Nazty in CF). Personally, I’d play if safe (if you catch my drift) and put him on the DL for 10 days.

      Reply
      • roxnsox

        May 5, 2017

        It’s 5-0 against, time to call the loss, Debbie Downer and jinx us into a win!

        Reply
    • rockymountainhigh

      May 5, 2017

      We can’t win games at home all because of Will Myers, Ryan Zimmerman, and Paul Goldschmidt. Plus umpire is giving Greinke borderline pitches while calling balls on the same borderline pitches while the Rockies are pitching.

      Reply
      • sdcarp

        May 6, 2017

        Sometimes you have to tip your hat to great players (or just walk them!). I don’t think Marquez was that bad tonight (mind you – he wasn’t that good either).

        Get ready, you’ll see Kris Bryant and his pals as well as getting an eyeful of the Dodgers best prospect (Cody Bellinger) in the next two series.

        Reply
    • Bob K.

      May 5, 2017

      Adames cleared waivers and has been assigned to Albuquerque.

      Reply
      • sdcarp

        May 6, 2017

        Not surprised by this (clearing waivers).

        Reply
    • rockymountainhigh

      May 6, 2017

      I’m becoming a big fan of Ryan Hanigan. Very demonstrative and assertive behind the home plate managing Tyler Anderson.

      Reply
    • Doc

      May 7, 2017

      Agreed. Veteran presence a positive for these young pitchers. Just another great move by Bridich this season.

      Reply
      • sdcarp

        May 7, 2017

        Doc (and others), as I recall, Hanigan was picked very late in ST. After Tom Murphy broke his forearm. Pure speculation on my part……I think Mike Redmond likely had some solid input on the pickup.

        Reply
    • Agbayani

      May 7, 2017

      Hanigan: very good defensive catcher, hasn’t ever looked totally lost as a hitter, so it’s hard to understand how he had no MLB job until late in spring. I guess it’s just because he turns 37 this summer. This was an excellent pickup.

      Reply
      • Bob K.

        May 7, 2017

        The Rockies signed Hannigan late in spring training because they had to wait until the Phillies DFAed him. He was not on the market as a free agent very long before the Rockies signed him.

        Reply
    • Agbayani

      May 7, 2017

      The DP – trying to generate sales/clicks no doubt – runs “Cargo’s slow start worrying” and “Trevor Story may need a trip to Albuquerque” stories all at once. On Cargo, I’m on the record as saying he’ll be o.k. Not good, just o.k. over the course of a season. This looks like normal aging to me, so I still expect him to be average-ish as a RFer, and it’ll help if Desmond/Reynolds allow him to sit more often vs. lefties. (It also wouldn’t hurt to drop him some in the batting order!)
      As for Story, I’m more concerned. This fangraphs piece says why:
      http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/trevor-story-might-be-going-too-far/
      A lot of advanced stats, but it all comes down to this: he’s swinging for the fences all the time, launching a ridiculously high percentage of flyballs with an uppercut swing. Of course, many of these flyballs are routine popouts. I think it’s time to give him that AAA reset. I keep seeing people saying Desmond was a poor defensive SS, which just isn’t true. I’d expect him to have declined a bit with age, but with Reynolds having played his way into the everyday lineup (it won’t last forever, but much like Spilly keeps saying, I do see a different approach at the plate as a concession to aging, so I don’t expect those 35% K rates anymore) there’s a chance to do that now. The point isn’t to give up on Story; the point is to get a really flawed hitting approach corrected so he can contribute to a team that’s looking better than expected. It worked for Dexter Fowler back in 2010 …

      Reply
      • sdcarp

        May 7, 2017

        I have to say, the Little Ninja (Amarista) hasn’t been awful. If all it takes is 2-3 weeks in ABQ to “re-set” Story, the Ninja (as wells as Desmond) can help out. Valaika also has a SS history as well.

        Reply
    • rockymountainhigh

      May 7, 2017

      Today is a throwaway game. Game over. A giant sinkhole (CarGo) in the middle of the lineup is back. Plus Arenado day off. Chatty starting at Coors is just more gas for the Arizona lineup.

      Reply
    • Agbayani

      May 7, 2017

      The Sunday lineup is back! Little Ninja actually has been o.k. Primary good thing: he hasn’t be overused. If we ever get Dahl back (and Wolters…he can play the IF in a pinch too), it’ll be nice to be a one utility infielder roster again. And as for Chatty: I’m still going with the “not spooked by Coors, it’s still too small of a sample to draw any conclusions from his huge road/home splits” theory. Chatty, go out there and prove me right.

      Reply
    • sdcarp

      May 7, 2017

      PAT VALAIKA. Saw it in Spring Training. Not in the ST games so much (although I saw it there as well). I saw it on the backfields. I saw it in the batting cage. The kid has a swagger. Not “I’m going to be an all-star swagger.” But enough swagger to be a very good Utility player. He can give Nolan a breather. He can give Story breather. He can give DJ a breather. He’s already been in the OF once this season (or maybe twice). I called him a poor man’s Jeff Gyorko. I’m sticking by that.

      Reply
    • rockymountainhigh

      May 7, 2017

      roxnsox, my reverse jinx superstition worked out well today. 🙂

      CarGo sinkhole continues to widen. Pat Valaika showed he can down the fort while Trevor Story works out his kinks in Albuquerque for a couple of weeks.

      Reply
    • sdcarp

      May 7, 2017

      Cubies play the Sunday night ESPN game against the Yanks (shocker, right?). Hopefully they go 16 innings, use everyone in the Pen, and get to Denver about 4 AM.

      Stormy, wet forecast next 4 days, especially Wednesday and Thursday.

      Reply
      • Bob K.

        May 7, 2017

        Not there yet but it is 4-4 in the bottom of the 12th.

        Reply
        • sdcarp

          May 8, 2017

          Holy sh*t, 18 innings. Game time listed at 6 hours. I believe I’m correct in saying that game began at 7 CST, which means it ended at 1AM. Figure it took more than an hour to do media, shower, get to airport. Wheels up at 3 if they were lucky. At DIA around 5:30 minus 1 hour time change (4:30 MST) if they were lucky.

          Reply
    • sdcarp

      May 8, 2017

      Let’s see if we can get RMH’s blood pressure to spike this AM:

      National Baseball Media pre-writing their story for tonight’s Rockies-Cubs game. Two options as follows:

      1. Cubs lose. “World Champion Cubs and Reigning MVP Kris Bryant didnt have a chance after arriving at their Hotel at 5 AM. A Liitle League team could have beat them.”

      2. Cubs win. “World Championions lead by MVP Kris Bryant miraculously beat Rockies even with no sleep.”

      Reply
      • Bob K.

        May 8, 2017

        From what I recall, it is not uncommon for the team without sleep to have a good first game of the series. It is the following games where they end up worn down and do poorly.

        Cubs got swept at home by the Yankees so will be looking to do damage at their home away from home against the Rockies.

        Reply
    • rockymountainhigh

      May 8, 2017

      Bob K, this is what i fear. They play loose and relaxed when feeling tired. One advantage we do have is bullpen, but only if we do not let Jake Arrieta go 8 or 9 innings in less than 100 pitches.

      The surprising thing was that Cubs did not send Arrieta to Denver ahead of the team to greet a good night’s sleep like most teams do.

      Reply
    • Bob in WV

      May 8, 2017

      We may never know the effect of the long game. Whether the weather allows the game to be played at all tonight is the issue. I’d assume that it hurts the Cubs even more if they have to sit around for a couple hours to get the game started.

      Reply
    • Bob K.

      May 8, 2017

      It appears that the 18 inning game didn’t hurt the Yankees as they won tonight. Unlike the Cubs, the Yankees did send their pitcher Tanaka to their next site ahead of time.

      Reply

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