Iannetta demoted to the Sky Sox

Today Chris Iannetta was sent down to AAA Colorado Springs to work out the kinks in his swing. With Miguel Olivo swinging the bat the way he is, Iannetta would likely not see many plate appearances. To replace Iannetta and serve as back-up catcher in Paul Phillips.

Iannetta really needs to do something. A .133 average will not get it done, even if he were to hit 20 homers. Iannetta is an all or nothing guy right now; he either goes deep or strikes out. He has been looked to time and time again to be the catcher of the future, and aside from his decent ’08 year, he has never answered that call. With all due respect to Yorvit, when you lose your job as catcher to Yorvit Torrealba, who is a serviceable catcher at best, something is wrong. Something is really wrong when you have a lower average than Miguel Olivo, who has walked a many times as he’s homered (100 times each)! Iannetta needs to find some late discipline in the springs, or else he will never find his way back to Denver. I sure hope he is able to do it, cuz I really do like the guy, but with the way he is playing now, he’s of no value to the team.

Jorge and Hammel to the DL, but don’t panic yet!

So in case you missed it, Jorge De La Rosa is headed to the DL with a torn flexor band in his left middle finger, and Jason Hammel heads to the DL with a strained groin. Up from Colorado springs for Jorge is Jhoulys Chacin and Juan Rincon for some long relief work is up for Hammel, but expect Esmil Rogers up on Sunday to fill Hammels spot in the rotation. They join Brad Hawpe on the DL, and now while the season looks bleak, let’s not forget that this is somewhat familiar territory for the Rockies.

Let’s go back to 2007, shall we. There were two rotation spots opened in August, with the Rockies on the outside looking in of the wild card race. Colorado would turn to two of their top prospects to fill those shoes; two kids named Ubaldo Jimenezand and Franklin Morales. The two went on to fill in quiet admirably and helped propel the club not only to a wild card berth, but a World Series berth. Those two kids have morphed into a top tier started and a (somewhat) reliable reliever, in case you were wondering. So what am I saying? Am I saying thatJhoulys Chacin and Esmil Rogers are going to have such a great impact that our beloved Rockies are going straight back to the World Series? Or that we are looking at the next Roy Halladay orTim
Lincecum
? Not quiet. What I am getting at is that this could turn out to be a blessing in disguise. Maybe these guys are the missing link to help this team make that jump from good to great. These kids have been raved about in the minors, and we’ve seen em in brief stints with the big club, but now is their chance to shine, like Jimenez and Morales were able to in the past. Who knows, maybe there time up here will solidify the first three spots in the rotation for years to come. All I know is that nobody should panic. This is there time. They have the talent, let’s sit back and see if they can put that talent to use in the big show.

7/5/09 – Rockies Vs. Diamondbacks

Final 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Arizona (33-49) « 0 0 0 0 0 3 1 0 0 4 4 1
Colorado (42-39) 0 0 2 1 0 0 0 0 3 8 1

W: D. Haren (8-5) L: U. Jimenez (6-8)
S: C. Qualls (15)
HR: ARI - M. Reynolds (24)   COL - T. Tulowitzki (13)

Sorry it has been a while since my last post.  It’s been a busy week.  And unfortunately since my last post,
the Rockies have been losing. 
They’ve been close games that the Rockies have been in throughout, but
losses nevertheless.  And yesterday
was no different.  A seemingly
lucky hack at a 97 mph fastball by Mark Reynolds tied it up, and a single took
the lead and the Diamondbacks never looked back, taking the series 2 games to
1.

Ubaldo Jimenez was pitching an amazing game.  Through 5 and 2/3, he hadn’t
surrendered a hit.  He was cruising
along with all his pitches working. 
Two walks later, the D-Backs most dangerous hitter, Mark Reynolds,
stepped into the box.  Ubaldo had
him to his last strike.  One more
and the no hitter stays in tact. 
But a belt high, 97 mph fastball, was driven past left field and into
the stands.  Tied ball game.  Arizona tacked on another run and held
on for their 33rd win.

Obviously Ubaldo threw a great game.  To go that long without giving up a hit
is a feat in itself.  There’s no
shame in giving up a homer on a 97 mph pitch, all the credit goes to
Reynolds.  Ubaldo is taking the
steps towards being a great pitcher. 
His velocity is there.  His
control is getting there.  The one
thing that stands in his was is his composure after giving up or cutting into
the Rockies lead.  That should
come, too, in time.  He had eight
strikeouts in 6 1/3 innings pitches. 
He currently has 93 strikeouts, good enough for 11th, along
with fellow Rockie Jorge de la Rosa. 
He has the stuff to be great. 
The work ethic is there. 
Now all that needs to come is the composure, but he is only 25, so he
still has plenty of time to mature and grow into an All-Star.

Another guy who is taking steps towards superstardom in Troy
Tulowitzki.  Coming off a rough
sophomore season, Tulo is evolving into a homerun hitter.  He is hitting from a more upright
stance, which really allows him to drive the ball.  Tulo has hit 13 homers this season, second most of any
shortstop in baseball, behind only Hanley Ramirez.  He is looking a lot like the guy form his rookie year that
hit 24 homeruns and drove in 99. 
The defense has always been there, and with the offense that he is
beginning to produce, it won’t be long before he is a superstar.

The Rockies hit one of the leagues best pitcher in Dan Haren
very well.  Ubaldo was able to
knock the ball just to the left of Haren to get things going.  Seth Smith followed up with a single,
and Ryan Spilborghs and Todd Helton were able to drive in a run each.  The following inning Tulo was able to
go deep.  Unfortunately, Arizona
did what they haven’t been able to do for Haren with much consistency; give him
run support.  Well, I guess if you
can call 4 runs support, but they got the job done.  Haren is only 8-5, but that record is a little misleading
when you look at his 2.19 ERA and his 119 K’s.  To me, Haren is the second best pitcher in baseball, only
behind Zach Greinke, but Haren probably won’t win the Cy Young due to what
could be a pedestrian W-L record.

The Rockies look to get back on track Against the Washington
Nationals.  At 24-55, they are by
far the worst team in baseball, so logic says the Rockies should be able to
win, but that’s why they play the game. 
Jason Marquis (10-5) goes for his Major League leading 11th
victory against Craig Stammen (1-3). 
I’ll be at the game Monday night, my first in a while, to cheer the Rox
back to their winning ways!        

6/27/09 – Rockies Vs. A’s

Final 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Colorado (39-35) « 2 1 2 2 0 4 0 0 0 11 16 1
Oakland (31-42) 0 0 2 0 0 0 1 2 4 9 14 0

W: J. De La Rosa (4-7) L: T. Cahill (5-6)
S: H. Street (18)
HR: COL - B. Hawpe (12), I. Stewart (14), C. Barmes (9), S. Smith (6)   OAK - None

This game is an example of why a game is never over until
the 27th out is recorded. 
The offense had a spectacular night.  Jorge De La Rosa threw a great game.  The bullpen, however, was not sharp at
all.  Aside from Huston Street, the
bullpen had an atrocious game. 
Lucky, the Rockies were able to establish an offensive rhythm early, so
the bullpens damage was minimized.

What a difference from the previous night offensively.  The start an hour earlier helped the
ball avoid that thick air and find it’s way into the seats.  The Rockies hit four home runs in the
first four innings.  After that the
ball didn’t leave the yard.  It’s
amazing to see that big of a difference in such a short amount of time.  Brad Hawpe, Ian Stewart, Clint Barmes,
and Seth Smith were all able to go yard in a game that the Rockies dominated
with the bats.  The Rockies are
able to play any kind of ball and win lately.  They can put up big numbers, they can win the pitchers
duels, they can come from behind. 
All the Rockies do now is win games no matter what.

One of the unsung heroes for the Rockies this year is Clint
Barmes.  He went 3-5 tonight with a
HR and scored 2 runs.  This is the
guy who sparked everyone’s interest his rookie year.  After a couple of down years, Barmes has finally found his
spot with this ballclub.  He’s has
been solid defensively at 2nd. 
At the beginning of the year, the Rockies didn’t know who would be their
2nd Baseman.  Now there
are no questions who that is. 
Hitting out of the 2 hole, Barmes has been a beast.  It is so nice to see this guy settle in
and become the player everyone knew he could be.

Jorge De La Rosa put together another nice start, going 6
innings and allowing 2 runs on 5 hits while striking out 5.  There no question Jorge can strike guys
out, but he tends to overthrow his pitches, and that is where he makes his
mistakes, but lately, he hasn’t been doing that.  As good as he has been, I still think that he will better
serve the Rockies as a reliever if the Rockies are able to pick up another starter
via trade.  He can go out for an
inning or two at a time and strike guys out.  Not only that, but you put another left hander in the
bullpen, and you can never go wrong with that.

To the bullpen we go. 
During this winning stretch, this hasn’t been a problem, but for some
reason, the usually solid bullpen just didn’t get the job done out there.  With an 11-2 lead, there is no reason
that your closer should even have to warm up.  The bullpen didn’t get that memo, and gave up six earned
runs in two innings of work. 
Luckily, Huston Street wasn’t affected by the funk that hit the rest of
the relievers.  Matt Daley had a
decent outing, striking out 2, but still he still gave up a run in one inning
of work.  Daley has been a big
surprise to me.  Ever since coming
back from the DL, Daley has pitched surprisingly well.  Daley, Street and Joel Peralta have
hands down been the most solid arms in the Rockies pen this year.  As long as this funk was a one game
thing, I’m not too worried.  Better
to get a bad game out of their system on a night where the bats are working
rather than one in which the pen is relied on for the victory.  They’ll bounce back, though.

Aaron Cook will try and get the sweep for the Rockies
against Oakland’s Vin Mazzaro. 
Another member of Oakland’s baby rotation will look to get back on track
after starting 2-0.  He has dropped
his last two starts.  Cook, the
franchise leader in wins, with try and grab his 8th victory of the
year.  Break out the brooms, the
Rox are looking to do some sweping!         

6/26/09 – Rockies Vs. A’s

Final 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Colorado (38-35) « 1 0 0 0 3 0 0 0 0 4 6 0
Oakland (31-41) 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 1 0 2 5 2

W: J. Hammel (5-3) L: D. Braden (5-7)
S: H. Street (17)
HR: COL - None   OAK - K. Suzuki (5)

Now that’s the way to get back on track!  Jason Hammel Pitched a gem out
there.  Well, at least to his
standards he did.  An all around
solid performance from the Rox. 
The offense came through when they needed to.  The bullpen kept the game in check, and there was really
nothing to complain about.  The Rox
really played Great.

Jason Hammel is really starting to come into his own as a
starter.  He’s now a nice 4-0 in
the month of June.  Hammel has
great command of his pitches and know what he wants to do out there on the
mound.  He doesn’t try and do too
much, and that is what Hammel needs to do to be effective.  This has turned out to be a great trade
for the Rockies to really bring their rotation together nicely.

The offense didn’t need to do a lot for the Rockies
tonight.  Oakland is such a bad
offensive team, so you don’t have to score a ton of runs on them to win.  Todd Helton was able to drive in 2
runs, making him the second Rockie with 50 RBI this season, joing Brad
Hawpe.  For all indications, Mr. Rockie
is back from his injury woes and should have a few more solid seasons left in
him.  As a Rockies fan, I couldn’t
be happier that such an important figure in franchise history is having success
as Todd is.  

Another guy on the comeback trail, Garrett Atkins, drove in the other 2 runs for the Rockies.  He has been on fire as of late.  Now the question becomes whether to trade Atkins or platoon him with Ian Stewart now that Stewart’s bat has cooled off.  Atkins could start against left handed starters, and Stewart could go against righties.  Ultimately, though, I think the Rockies need to trade Atkins to get another starting pitcher to really nail down their rotation, but we with see with the deadline slowly drawing closer.

It was really nice to see Matt Holliday out there.  It brought back great memories of the
glory days in 2007.  He had a great
game, yet he didn’t hurt the Rox as a result.  That’s one thing I want to see when I watch some of my
favorite players take on the Rockies. 
I want to see them get on, but that’s about it.  In a blow out, I don’t mind a home run
form the guy.  Not only did Matt
not hurt the Rockies, he actually help ‘em out.  After doubling with one out, Jason Giambi came up and flew
out to center field.  Channeling
his inner-Milton Bradley, Holliday seemed to think there was two outs, and
already at third by the time Ryan Spilborghs gloved it, leading to the easy
double play.  Thanks for the help
Matt!

Not only was this Holliday’s reunion with the Rockies,
Huston Street was able to close out the game against his former ball club.  In a pre-game interview, Huston said he
would like to be able to get a save in each of the three games against the team
he came up with.  Well, he’s one
for one now, throwing some of the fastest pitches he has thrown all year.  Much of that probably has to do to the
fact that he is throwing against his old teammates.  But still, Huston has had a great impact on this ballclub.  He has come in and taken that closer
spot and done a terrific job, already with 17 saves this season.  I think it’s easy to say who is making
a bigger impact with their new club between Holliday and Street.

In the next game against the A’s, Jorge De La Rosa takes the
mound against the youngster Trevor Cahill.  I have heard a lot of great things about this kid, so it
should be a fun game to watch. 
Jorge has been pitching much better as of late, and hopefully he can
keep it going for the read hot Rockies.       

Rockies Rookie Card of the Week

Jason Marquis

marquis.jpg

That look of intensity on his face is the look of a winner.  And that’s exactly what he is.  Since becoming a regular starter in 2004, he has won at least 10 games in every season he has pitched, and he will do it again this season.  He’s a guy who goes out there and grinds out every game.  He expects to win and will do whatever may be necessary to ensure victory.  He is a pro’s pro, and a more than welcome addition to the Colorado Rockies.

6/24/09 – Rockies Vs. Angels


1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
COL (37-35) 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 2 0 3 8 1
LAA (38-32) 3 3 0 2 0 1 0 2 - 11 11 1

Final

 
W: J. Saunders (8-4)
L: J. Marquis (9-5)

Wow, what a beating.  I can’t remember the last time the Rox played this badly.  Jason Marquis threw a dud out there.  He hasn’t been this bad since his start against Houston at Coors.  Hopefully the Rockies aren’t coming back down to Earth, but rather have just run into a team equally as hot as they have been.  One can only wait and see however.

There was very little to be happy about in this game.  The offense did not deliver.  The bullpen was not nearly as sharp as they have shown in recent outings.  This was just an all around dud for the Rox.  But hey, when you play 162 games, you are going to have a couple nights like this.  As long as thee Rox don’t make this a habit, they should be fine.
On a positive note, the Garrett Atkins Showcase went well.  He went 3-4 with a HR and 2 RBI.  Hopefully that can get some other teams excited in Atkins.  It a shame that a guy so important to the Worlds Series run in ’07 has sunk this low.  I really do
hope he figures it out soon and can have a successful career, but unfortunately, Colorado is not the place for him anymore.
Next up is Matt Holliday and the Oakland A’s.  It’ll be exciting to see how Matt does against his old team.  Oakland is nowhere near where Billy Beane envisioned this team to be, so chances are Matt will be on the move again.  Oakland has a terrible offense, so the Rox shouldn’t be too hard-pressed to put up big numbers, but we will just have to wait and see.  Until then, we just have to hope that the Rox will get on the winning horse once again.

Brad Hawpe – An All-Star Unrecognized

Let’s take a look at the top 15 vote getters among outfielders in the NL


1. Raul Ibanez Phillies 2,465,539
2. Ryan Braun Brewers 2,178,144
3. Carlos Beltran Mets 1,779,344
4. Alfonso Soriano Cubs 1,639,664
5. Shane Victorino Phillies 1,371,362
6. Manny Ramirez Dodgers 1,162,507
7. Mike Cameron Brewers 1,140,167
8. Rick Ankiel Cardinals 1,011,527
9. Jayson Werth Phillies 1,008,256
10. Corey Hart Brewers 959,614
11. Ryan Ludwick Cardinals 950,662
12. Adam Dunn Nationals 742,515
13. Matt Kemp Dodgers 673,979
14. Andre Ethier Dodgers 642,983
15. Justin Upton D-backs 594,185

Of all of these players, the only one with a better AVG than Brad Hawpe is Carlos Beltran.  Only Beltran and Ryan Braun have a better OBP, and the only outfielder with a SLG is Raul Ibanez, who also has the only OPS among NL Outfielder greater than Hawpe’s, as well as 6 more RBI.  No outfielder has more doubles than Hawpe, and he also has a respectable 11 home runs, one of the few offensive categories that he is not in the top five.  So why does he not even crack the top 15?
One reason is the fact that the Rockies were horrible to start the season.  Hawpe got no national recognition for having what appears to be an MVP type season.  It’s funny to think that Matt Holliday was a starter for the NL last year with numbers not nearly this good, but the Rockies were still fresh in everyones mind from the previous World Series.
The other reason is that All-Star voting is a joke.  The big markets are going to dominate for thee simple fact that people see them more.  Look at Jimmy Rollins.  He is barely batting .200, he is having a year well below average compared to his standards, yet he is the leading vote getter for Shotstops in the NL.  How does that make since?  It doesn’t, but because he is in Philly, he’s going to be recognized.  That is why the fans shouldn’t be allowed to vote, because they simply won’t pick the right guys.  Going by the numbers, the NL outfield should be Beltran, Braun and either Hawpe or Ibanez.
So I guess what I am trying to say is who cares if Brad isn’t selected to start.  He is going to be in St. Louis with the rest of them, he will have better numbers than most of them, and he stays under the radar.  In a way, that’s good for the Rox.  They don’t have all the pressure that guys in big markets have.  If they have a great game, it’s sometimes recognized.  If they choke big time, it won’t be analyzed on a national level.  So we should be thankful Brad isn’t becoming a superstar.  He’s getting the job done for the Rockies, and that is really all that matters.    
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