Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Important Announcement

Dear faithful readers,

I have made the very difficult decision to place this site on hiatus for the time being. I've been given the opportunity to take over as editor of Rox Pile, the Rockies site on the Fansided network. I've been a contributor at Rox Pile since early in the 2011 season, but will now be writing over there full time. One of the requirements now that I'm editor is that I don't write about the Rockies for any other site, so I can concentrate my energy over there. It has been a very productive and rewarding nine months for me here, and it's hard to let it go.

I sincerely hope that, if you haven't already been reading my work on Rox Pile, you'll follow me over there. I'll be continuing my Rockies Retread and Homegrown Homecoming series there, in addition to my Weekly Link Round-Ups. Once the season starts, you can count on my regular recaps there as well.

If you subscribe to my blog, please cancel your subscription and subscribe to Rox Pile instead. Also, if you link to my site on your own site, please change the url to Thank you so much for reading and interacting with me. Despite the Rockies' major failures in 2011, it was one of my most enjoyable seasons yet as a fan, simply because I have found such a great community to cheer alongside of.

See you over at Rox Pile!

Michelle (Rockies Woman)

Monday, December 26, 2011

Rockies Retread - May 8, 1993

The Braves have long been a notorious foe of the Rockies. They always seem to pitch a little bit better than we can hit. Sometimes a lot better. They were the first team the Rockies faced in the play-offs, and they won the 1995 National League Division Series 3 games to 1. The Rockies didn't sniff the postseason again until 2007. And despite 2010's very exciting three-game sweep, during the final game of which the Rox overcame a 9-run deficit to win 12-10, Atlanta owns us. They lead the all-time series 96-59.

The first time we played them was in May 1993, a four-game series at Mile High which the Braves swept, outscoring the Rockies 46-22. And it wasn't simply because of their star rotation; the only recognizable name in the win column for that series is John Smoltz. The Braves' offense went nuts, tearing up the Rockies' pitching staff. David Justice had 10 RBIs in this series all by himself, and it raised his batting average from .198 to .234.

Perhaps the most embarrassing game in the series was this one on May 8th. The Rockies lost 8-7 despite the fact that only the losing pitcher, Scott Frederickson, gave up any earned runs. And there were 2 of those.

So what happened? Bruce Ruffin, the starting pitcher, didn't give up a single solitary run until the 8th inning. He was pitching a gem, a 4-hit shutout. He did walk 5, but hadn't allowed anybody to score when the 8th began. The Rockies were up 6-0. With 1 out, Otis Nixon singled and Mark Lemke walked. Willie Blair came in for Ruffin, who should have been in line for the win. And then the wheels came off. Jeff Blauser hit a grounder to shortstop Vinny Castilla, who should have turned an inning-ending double play. Instead, he dropped it, and everybody was safe. Ron Gant came to the plate. He hit a line drive to second baseman Eric Young. Not only did EY not make the play at first, he failed to make the play at the plate as well. Two errors were charged to him as Nixon and Lemke scored.

David Justice walked to advance Gant and Blauser and load the bases. There was still only one out. Blair was clearly not handling the traffic well. His response to the situation was to give up a pinch-hit grand slam to - who else? - Sid Bream. Just like that, the game was tied at 6 without a single earned run allowed by a Rockies pitcher.

Blair ended the inning without any further damage, but Frederickson would not be so lucky in the 9th. He gave up RBI singles to Blauser and Justice, which put the Braves up 8-6. Mike Stanton (not that Mike Stanton) came in to close the game. He nearly lost it when a 2-out single by Andres Galarraga scored EY from 2nd. But Dante Bichette grounded into a force to end it.

They say defense is the difference between a play-off team and one that goes home in October. As we all know, the 1993 Rockies did not go near the play-offs.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Weekly Link Round-Up

This round-up is both shorter (holiday weekend and all) and heavy on Michael Cuddyer reactions.

  • I've got a new writer at Rox Pile, Hayden Kane, who wrote a terrific post on why Cuddyer would be a good fit for the Rockies before the deal was done.
  • Hayden also wrote this follow-up post which is even better. Kid is gunning for my job. I just might give it to him if he keeps this up.
  • David Martin says the move reflects the Rockies' inability to lock a player into a single position. It's a keen observation.
  • Mark Townsend reminds us that we would probably react strongly to any big free agent signing, especially since they rarely happen, and that Cuddyer brings a lot to the team.
  • Heyyyyyyy Justin Klugh. You're officially my biggest writing crush of all time. And now you know. XOXO Rockies Woman.
  • The Indians should know better than to put Jose Lopez back on the same team with Ubaldo Jimenez. This is just a theory, but I'm pretty sure Ubaldo's implosion last year could be blamed on his proximity to Lopez.
  • I wouldn't mind it if the Rockies got Brad Lidge. At least we know the man can breathe above sea level.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Homegrown Homecoming: David Nied

David Nied's name will always be remembered by true blue Rockies fans. He was the first player to officially join the roster, taken in the expansion draft from the Atlanta Braves. He had made his debut the previous September, so when he came to the Rockies he had only 23 innings of major league experience. When you consider who the Braves had coming down the pipe back then, it's no wonder they didn't protect Nied in the draft.

Nied earned the opportunity to start the very first Rockies game on April 5th, 1993. The offense couldn't give him a single run, so he recorded a loss. And truth be told, he really wasn't very good. He managed only one winning season (9-7 record in 1994), and his ERA was below 4.00 only once: 1992, when he pitched in six games for the Braves. In '93 he issued 42 walks and only struck out 46. In his final season, 1996, he only pitched 5 1/3 innings, but he found a way to walk 8 guys in those innings. This is especially weird when you consider his stats with the Richmond Braves in 1992 (a team that also featured Tom Glavine and Kevin Millwood). His K/9 rate was 8.52 and his BB/9 rate was 2.36. Go figure.

So what happened to David Nied? How did he go from being the pitcher Don Baylor felt most confident about on opening day 1993 to disappearing into obscurity after appearing in just eight games in his final two seasons? Well, he mostly pitched at Mile High, and that turned out to wreak more than the average wear and tear on an arm. There's also some speculation that the premature birth of his son during the 1993 season proved to be a distraction to big to overcome. And he has said that he tried to come back too quickly following the 1994 strike, not conditioning his arm properly prior to pitching.

Nied was granted free agency following the 1996 season and signed with the Cincinnati Reds. But it was clear that he was shot, and he opted to retire rather than take a minor-league assignment with the team. He was supposedly happily married and living with his family in Dallas, though if Wikipedia is to be believed, he's now married to a former contestant from The Bachelor. And if you go to the website for the TV show Southwest Outdoors Report, there is a host mentioned by the name of Heather Cranford-Nied. And YouTube has a video of her performing her hosting duties. So there you have it. I prefer to remember David Nied as the first face of the Rockies franchise. We could have done far far worse than him.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Rockies News 12/14-12/20

There was only one piece of Rockies news that mattered this past week:

  • WE SIGNED Michael Cuddyer. There is still a lot of controversy (and a LOT of arguing) among Rockies fans about whether this was actually a good idea. I've already said what I think (that it was a good idea), so I'll just briefly highlight the pros and cons here. Pros: He hits for power. He has defensive versatility. He has play-off experience. He is a good guy. Cons: He was REALLY expensive. And he's not exactly a sure thing. Let's be optimistic though, guys. I've said this before and I'll say it again: postseason is not a possibility in 2012 unless a miracle happens with the rotation. It's overcrowded and underexperienced and it looks nothing like a play-off rotation. But it could in 2013, and by then Cuddyer could be helping to anchor a reinvigorated offense. This is all speculation, but so is everything you think too. That's why they play the games.
  • Okay, one more thing. We also signed third baseman Casey Blake to a one-year deal. I'm not a huge fan of Blake's and he visits the DL more often than I'm comfortable with, but he can play 3rd till Jordan Pacheco/Nolan Arenado are ready to take over and he's not a bad hitter when healthy.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Rockies Retread - May 4, 1993

We all remember those mid-'90s days at Mile High Stadium/Coors Field, when there was always a chance that balls would start flying out of the yard in unprecedented numbers. Shockingly, none of the records for combined home runs by two teams in a single game are held by the Rockies + somebody else. Still, there was something to that whole thin air/dry air/mountain-freshness-infused air notion that kept it from ever being just a myth. Fly balls travel a little further in Denver. And a little faster.

This game between the Rockies and Cubs was certainly a home run derby. The Rockies won 14-13, with a combined six home runs between the two teams. The Rox got things going after 4 scoreless innings, with back-to-back lead-off homers by Joe Girardi and Jerald Clark in the 5th. Charlie Hayes hit a 2-run bomb in the 6th, scoring Dante Bichette. The Cubs scored the first non-homer RBI when Mark Grace drove in Jose Vizcaino with a single. Grace contributed a 2-run single in the 7th, as did Willie Wilson, putting the Cubs up 5-4.

The Rockies answered that with a 6-run 8th inning. Poor Dan Plesac allowed those runs to cross the plate, though 2 were charged to Heathcliff Slocumb, who didn't record an out. Plesac intentionally walked Vinny Castilla and Eric Young to load the bases with 2 outs. Jim Tatum came to the plate, pinch-hitting for Alex Cole, worked a 10-pitch at-bat, and hit a grand slam.

The Cubbies weren't about to go quietly, though. Scott Frederickson, who had worked a scoreless 8th, came to the mound to try to finish things off and gave up back-to-back singles. Gary Wayne was called upon to get Mark Grace out, and he did. Then Darren Holmes came in to close it out. He walked Ryne Sandberg, then gave up an RBI groundout, an RBI double, and a 3-run home run to Sammy Sosa. Tied.

Things fell apart for Chicago in the 11th. Clark hit a 2-run double with 2 outs. Then Jose Vizcaino tried to go out on a short fly ball from Castilla and fudged the catch so bad that both Clark and Hayes (from 3rd) scored. Poor Chuck McElroy. Yeah, he allowed a few baserunners. But this loss can't really be blamed on him. If those unearned runs don't score, the Cubs win 13-12. Way to go Vizcaino.

The Cubs scored three more runs in that inning on, among other things, another homer from Sosa. But it wasn't enough for them to pull out the win.

And remember that thing I said about home run derbies at Coors? This one was played at the Friendly Confines folks. So there you have it.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Weekly Link Round-Up

Stuff to read.

  • Is it just me, or did the Diamondbacks' rotation just cross the line from "good" to "others in the division better run for cover"?
  • Andrew Martin considers what the Rockies' recent moves say about the front office's attitude toward the players.
  • Seedlings to Stars thinks Drew Pomeranz is the 29th-best prospect in baseball.
  • James Loney rakes against the Rockies, but it turns out the breathalyzer rakes against him.
  • Jayson Stark insisted to us all that there was no way Albert Pujols would sign with someone before the end of the winter meetings. And then he did.
  • I am very definitively NOT a Braves, fan, but the guys over at Tomahawk Take have kind of been killing it lately. Fred Owens had the brilliant idea (which I will be copying at some point) to post a list of stats of Atlanta trade targets, minus the namesSo people could decide whom they'd choose without any of the prejudice that comes with knowing who a player is. Then he did a follow-up post revealing who each player was. It was awesome.
  • Old Time Family Baseball produced one of the best holiday gift lists I've ever seen. I personally need every single one of these items, especially that Jim Thome game, so Santa better get busy.
  • Juan Nicasio is my hero until further notice. Or more like forever.
  • The Mets have really rotten luck, and I think that's about 60% funny and 40% depressing. I realize it's a luxury to think it's even that funny, one that I wouldn't have if I were a dyed-in-the-wool Mets fan. But I will tell you that it totally cracked me up when I was at Citi Field last spring and the Rockies were sweeping the Mets in a 4-game series, and a bunch of guys wearing paper bags on their heads chanted "Fire Wilpon!" for at least a full inning.
  • Juan Marichal is going to have a chat with Ubaldo Jimenez to try to help him figure out what went wrong last season. In other news, Juan Marichal is awesome.
  • I can't think of many reasons to like the Red Sox, but I can think of lots of reasons to strongly dislike them. For starters, these.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Homegrown Homecoming: Mike Munoz

With some players from the Rockies' olden days, I don't have much of a memory beyond a gut reaction. Mike Munoz is one of those. As I was scanning the 1993 roster trying to decide who to write about next, my eyes landed on Munoz's name and I immediately felt nervous. I can't be sure if it was Huston Street levels or not, because nervous when you're 10 is not the same as nervous when you're 28. But something buried deep in my psyche is afraid of what will happen to my team when Mike Munoz comes to the mound.

No disrespect to him. At times he was a competent lefty specialist, and he occasionally went multiple weeks without giving up a run. It's just that when he imploded, he did it so spectacularly that, if I remember right, people covered their heads and ran for the exits. Granted, this was pre-humidor Coors Field, and a lot of Rockies pitchers had sizable ERA's. Munoz just happened to be one of the worst. And it wasn't even the home runs that did him in. The most he ever gave up was 9, in 1995, and in no other season did he allow even half that many.

A big issue was his ratio of strikeouts to walks. It usually hovered somewhere in between 1 and 2, which, for reference, is where Jason Hammel's was last season. And when the hits came, they came in bunches. Here's a fun case in point: in a September 1993 game against the Padres, Munoz came into the game in the top of the 9th with the Rockies up 11-0. He gave up 4 hits and a walk en route to allowing 4 runs to score. Don Baylor left him in, because not even Mike Munoz gives up 11 runs in one inning, but that's a line to mamke you cover your face in embarrassment.

Still, I've got mad respect for all pitchers who ever signed as a free agent with the Rockies back in those days, and Munoz did it twice. I have no idea where he is now, but I hope it's a less stressful place than Coors Field in the '90s. He deserves it.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Rockies News 12/7-12/13

Lots of stuff happened this week. If you really don't know about any of it, time to rejoin the planet.

  • Last week I wrote that the Rockies were shopping Huston Street and Ian Stewart, but I was pretty surprised that they managed to deal both since then. Street was shipped to the San Diego Padres last Wednesday for  pitching prospect Nick Schmidt (as well as salary relief, money that has yet to be spent), and Stewart was sent to the Chicago Cubs along with Casey Weathers for utilityman Tyler Colvin and infielder DJ Lamahieu. You can find links to expanded thoughts on these deals in Sunday's link round-up.
  • The other notable lost Rockie is Ryan Spilborghs, who was non-tendered as of last night. He could still re-sign with the team but it would have to be for less money. I love Spilly. Who doesn't? He wasn't really worth his salt last season though, so it might be nice to see if we can get somebody better in his stead.
  • The current better, and most likely, possibilities are Michael Cuddyer and Carlos Beltran. Both are free agents, but the Rockies might actually have enough money to offer one of them a contract, since they've been letting guys go right and left. I slightly prefer Cuddyer but I'd take either one. Both would bring more to the lineup than what we have now. I would like the Rockies to continue being a homegrown team as much as possible, but sometimes you have to cut your losses and plug your holes. That's what this year and the next several could potentially be about. A deal with either Cuddyer or Beltran is quite possibly imminent, or else the Rockies will revisit Spilborghs.
  • In news around the league, the Angels and Marlins have bought everybody else. The only good news for us here is that neither of those teams is in our division. And it will be fun to watch Chris Iannetta get the chance to catch C.J. Wilson, maybe even in June when the Rockies are at Angel Stadium.
  • Now for the really bad news. The baseball world was dealt a huge blow when reigning National League MVP Ryan Braun tested positive for performance-enhancing drugs. Any time this happens it's a letdown for fans, but to have it happen to an MVP, well, that blows. Obviously Barry Bonds won awards while doping, but he's universally disrespected for it, and I kind of thought we were past that. Braun is disputing, of course, but what can he really say? It's his responsibility to make sure this kind of thing doesn't happen. He needs to know what's going in his body and whether or not it's legal. If the test was messed up, that's one thing, but no one seems to be saying that. I've never been a really big fan of Braun's, but I won't pretend it's because I suspected this all along. I will say that he's going to have to somehow prove that the test was flawed and he had no banned substances in his system for me to ever take him seriously again. Look, I don't care that there's no scientific evidence that PED's improve a hitter's numbers. That's not the point. The point is, they're illegal, and until Major League Baseball sees fit to declare otherwise, anyone who takes them is a cheater. If you look at your neighbor's algebra test and copy all his answers, your teacher is not going to care whether your resulting grade is a 100% or a 60%. Whether you were smart enough to cheat productively or not, you still cheated. Bottom line. Also, Matt Kemp should have been the MVP. And Troy Tulowitzki should have been the Rookie of the Year. Maybe now, at least in the minds of the public, they will be.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Rockies Retread - April 27, 1993

The Rockies finished up their first month as a team with an 8-14 record, in 5th place and 6 games out of first. (Remember the days when you could be in 5th place and only 6 games out of first? Smaller divisions was definitely the way to go.) There was nothing of the little engine that could about them. Even though certain superstars were beginning to emerge (Andres Galarraga's OPS for April was 1.082), the team hadn't quite cohered yet in a way that was allowing them to win games.

That didn't surprise anybody though. That's what happens when you throw together a random assortment of mediocre players from other teams who protected all their best guys and give them over to the leadership of someone they may not have ever met before. The fact that the Rockies made it to the play-offs as early in their history as they did is something of a miracle. So the 1993 season isn't one we should judge too harshly.

They had some great games, though, in which their potential was clear. One of those occurred on April 27th, against the Cubs at home. Butch Henry earned his first win of the season with a complete game in which he allowed just 2 runs on solo shots by Steve Buchele and Candy Maldonado (I thought baseball players who went by names like "Candy" disappeared along with the '70s, but it appears I was wrong). Both of these occurred in the 2nd inning. After that, Henry gave up 7 hits and walked 1, but he kept anyone else from scoring.

In the meantime, the Rockies' offense was tearing Cubs' starting pitcher Mike Morgan a new one, taking him for an 8-run ride over 3 1/3 innings. They got going early, with a 2-run single by Dante Bichette and a 2-run double by Joe Girardi in the 1st. A 4-hit, 3-run 4th inning sent Morgan to the showers with only one out, at which point he was replaced by Jose Bautista (no, not that Jose Bautista). He gave up a 2-run home run to Galarraga on the first pitch he threw. By the top of the 7th, with the Rox up 10-2, their win probability was 100% and remained so for the rest of the game, which was won by a score of 11-2.

Every Rockie including Henry recorded a hit, except Charlie Hayes, who went 0-for-4. He still managed to drive in a run and score two, though, so I don't think we can single him out as the only unproductive one in this massacre.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Weekly Link Round-Up

Stuff to read.

  • WHY is Manny Ramirez trying to come back? Hasn't he done enough to permanently damage the game of baseball?
  • I just can't stop finding stuff about Tim Tebow that makes me laugh out loud. The latest involves the fact that NFL Magazine decided they liked him better than Cam Newton. I don't like either of them, but I dislike Tebow a little less since he inexplicably keeps winning games for my Broncos. So I'm glad he won this too.
  • Two things: 1. Barry Zito is only 33?? 2. How long do you think it will take Amber Seyer to figure out that he is often injured and long-term contracts with him have typically been a mistake?
  • Travis Lay dislikes the Chris Iannetta trade and David Martin dislikes Chris Iannetta. I think I agree most with what ESPN's Keith Law had to say about the deal, but you have to have money to read his stuff, so all I can find are snippets.
  • Andrew Martin ably captures my I-don't-know-what-to-say-but-I-can't-stop-words-from-coming-out-of-my-mouth feelings about Iannetta.
  • Even Giants fans have had just about enough of Brian Wilson.
  • There is still plenty of uncertainty surrounding the 2012 baseball season, but of one thing we can be sure: the potential for a game managed by Bobby Valentine in a fake mustache exists once again.
  • It is really weird that the Yankees haven't been attached to any of the major free agents still in the mix. It certainly feels Twilight Zone-ish.
  • Rockies' Prospect Report ranks the top relievers in the farm system.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Homegrown Homecoming: Curtis Leskanic

Curtis Leskanic is another of the original Rockies, taken from the Indians in the expansion draft. He made his major-league debut with Colorado in 1993, pitching 57 innings and allowing 34 earned runs. By the end of the shortened 1994 season, it had become clear that he was a better fit for the bullpen, and he was officially converted to a reliever.

After that, his ERA bounced around, and in his best season with the Rockies, 1995, it was 3.40. He also saved 10 games that year. And he appeared in 76 games, more than any other pitcher in the National League.

The Rockies finally let Leskanic go in 1999, trading him to the Brewers for Mike Myers. The transaction took place on November 17th, 7 years to the day after he was initially drafted by Colorado. He played two full season in Milwaukee, converting 12 of 13 save opportunities in 2000. He was traded to the Royals in mid-2003. There, he only pitched 26 innings, but his ERA was a career-low 1.73. Unfortunately, it catapulted to a  career-high 8.04 in 2004, and he was released by Kansas City in June of that year.

Leskanic finished the '04 season with the Red Sox, and is perhaps best known for earning the win in Game 4 of the ALCS between the Sox and the Yankees. It was no small victory; going into that game, Boston was down 0-3 in the series. Their improbable comeback and win led to the first World Series championship for the franchise since 1918.

Following his retirement, Leskanic joined the Red Sox organization as a scout. Unfortunately, not all his actions since his playing days have been good ones. This past September, he was found in his truck near his home in Orlando, passed out at the wheel. His five-year-old daughter was also in the vehicle. Leskanic's blood alcohol level was .331. I hope this was simply a misstep, and that he'll figure out what he needs to do to get back on track. I have fond memories of his time with the Rockies and would like those memories to remain as fond as possible.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Rockies News 11/30-12/6

  • Obviously, the biggest news of this week was Chris Iannetta being traded to the Los Angeles Angels. I hate losing homegrown players, but you already know that, so I won't waste your time with my boo-hoos.  It's a score for the Angels, who made the mistake of cutting Mike Napoli loose and could really use the offensive production Iannetta will provide. In exchange, the Rockies got Tyler Chatwood, a very young pitching prospect with 142 innings of major-league experience. I appreciate that Dan O'Dowd is trying to restore a farm system that's been weakened by some crummy draft picks, but I'd appreciate it more if he stops with Chatwood. I think among him, Drew Pomeranz, Alex White, and Juan Nicasio we have plenty of guys with less than a year in the bigs. O'Dowd's next target likely will be, and certainly should be, a veteran to provide an anchor for these kids. I really wouldn't mind it if that guy was Kevin Millwood, but there hasn't been a lot of buzz surrounding him. It will most certainly not be Roy Oswalt, to the surprise of no one.
  • Perhaps O'Dowd thinks he's already got his veteran SP in Kevin Slowey, acquired from the Twins yesterday for a player to be named later. Slowey throws strikes and gives up lots of fly balls. He's also coming off a zero-win 2011. So he's not really any more of a sure thing than all these young kids we have.
  • The Rockies also signed a 2-year, $6.5 million contract with former Reds catcher Ramon Hernandez. Hernandez will pick up where Iannetta left off as the starting catcher, providing slightly less offense (2.0 WAR compared to Netta's 3.3 in 2011) and holding Wilin Rosario's place. The reason this was a good signing is that Hernandez is cheap and experienced, and he'll be easier to give up when Rosario is ready to take over. I'm not opposed to Hernandez at all, I just wish Iannetta didn't have to be sacrificed to make him possible.
  • The Rockies are still shopping Huston Street and Ian Stewart, though no deals are in the works yet. And we're still sniffing around Martin Prado, but nothing happening over there either. The winter meetings are going on right now, so expect some kind of deal to come soon. Street for Reds' pitcher Edinson Volquez is being tossed around and, as he would be a more reliable option than Slowey, I could go for that.
  • Juan Nicasio is doing great and expected to compete for a spot in the rotation this spring. How unbelievable is that story? I just love him.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Rockies Retread - April 15, 1993

All right, I promise I had every intention of moving through Rockies history more quickly than this, but I just keep finding these box score gems. At some point there will be a stretch of boring and we can at least get out of April 1993. For now, though, check this one out.

After dropping the first two games of a three-game series to the Mets at Mile High Stadium, the Rockies sent David Nied to the mound in an effort to avoid the sweep. Nied dropped his ERA to 3.43 en route to a complete game in which he struck out 6, walked none, and allowed only 2 earned runs on 6 hits. A third run scored on an error by right fielder Gerald Young.

The Rockies managed even fewer hits than the Mets: just 4 total. And yet, somehow, they won this game 5-3. Here's how the bottom of the 1st inning unfolded: Eric Young led off with a walk, then stole 2nd (no surprises there). Alex Cole hit a bunt single down the third base line that allowed EY to advance to 3rd. Then Cole stole 2nd. So we have two runners in scoring position and nobody out. Daryl Boston grounded out to 2nd, advancing Cole to 3rd and scoring EY. Then Andres Galarraga lined out to the pitcher Dwight Gooden. I didn't see this, but the scoring reads P-2B-1B, so it sounds like the Mets got stupid and threw behind the runner. This allowed Cole to score, tying the game at 2 with nobody on and 2 outs. Charlie Hayes and Gerald Young drew back-to-back walks and Danny Sheaffer singled to load the bases. Freddie Benavides followed that with a 2-run single before Nied grounded out to end the inning. So that's 4 runs on just 3 hits. The 3 batters who walked all scored.

After that, Gooden wouldn't allow a hit again until the bottom of the 7th, when a bunt groundout by EY scored Benavides from 3rd. So Gooden pitched 5 hitless innings and ultimately allowed fewer hits than Nied did, earning a loss in the process. If you needed any more evidence that walks hurt and good baserunning helps, there it is.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Weekly Link Round-Up

Stuff to read.

  • Lew Freedman talks about the frustration of devoting yourself to a player who may or may not be with your team when you wake up tomorrow morning. While my Brad Hawpe shirsey gently weeps.
  • Dodgers fans are complaining about James Loney still being their first baseman. I advise them to remember that the Dodgers will play the Rockies 18 times, so that's 18 chances for Loney to be way better than he actually is.
  • Love this by Bryan Kilpatrick.
  • Of course, leave it to Scott Boras to ruin all the warm fuzzies with his whining.
  • These are my feelings on pitchers who win the MVP. An MVP should be a player who contributes the most value overall to their team compared to all the other players in the league. I realize this is a simplistic way of looking at things, but generally that means dominance in the Triple Crown categories, to me. I'm talking top five in all three. If no one achieves that offensively, chances are good somebody did it from the mound. Justin Verlander won the pitching Triple Crown, so he was WAY more valuable to his team than Jacoby Ellsbury and Jose Bautista were to theirs. WAR plays a role in this calculation as well, and Verlander's was lower than Ellsbury's and Bautista's. But it was higher than any other pitchers besides Roy Halladay and CC Sabathia and, combined with his superiority in the individual categories, it was enough to make him the standout player in the American League. That's what I think. Feel free to disagree. But he won.
  • While we're on this subject though, poor Matt Kemp! You want to talk about dominance, he led the National League in home runs and RBIs and was third in batting average. Not only that, he was first in the league among offensive players in WAR! What on EARTH was the BBWAA thinking giving the MVP to Ryan Braun? Something about it's harder to perform on a contending team and those numbers count for more. Bull. Through and through. Kemp should have won. Don't like him personally, don't like the Dodgers, but this was stupid.
  • According to MLBTR, 20% of MLB teams are interested in Huston Street. Let's pump that number up! Come on Padres, you know you want him!
  • Pirates fans continue the tradition of people who get Clint Barmes on their team not appreciating what he can do. But hey, this post has lots of videos, so there's that.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Homegrown Homecoming: Joe Girardi

I'm not sure that anyone outside the Rockies fan base knows that Joe Girardi ever played for the team. It's certainly not what he's best known for. But he was brought on board during the expansion draft and, as a member of the team for its first three seasons, he made a significant contribution. He wasn't a power hitter like the Bombers. His impact came primarily through his ability to get on base and his fielding behind the plate. He was also the starting catcher for the 1995 play-off team.

Girardi was never hard to find after his time with the Rockies ended. He played with the Yankees for four seasons, three of which earned him a championship ring. He has a special place in my heart for that reason; after moving away from Colorado, it was rare that I could watch a Rockies game, but the play-offs were available to all. I got to watch Girardi more than just about any other player that I loved during that time.

A few seasons with the Cubs and one with the Cardinals rounded out Girardi's playing career, which ended in 2004. He then began working in the booth for the YES Network, which broadcasts Yankees games locally. In 2006 he was named manager of the Florida Marlins. He didn't lead them to the play-offs, but he did squeeze 78 wins out of them despite their rock-bottom $14 million payroll, and for that he won Manager of the Year. He didn't get along with Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria though, and was let go after one season. The Marlins have had little success since that time, under a handful of managers, so the joke's on Loria.

Girardi spent a bit of time in the broadcast booth in 2007 before becoming the manager of the Yankees in 2008. That is the job he currently holds, so he's definitely the most visible of retired Rockies alumni. In his four seasons with the Yanks, he's led them to the play-offs three times, and won his first World Series ring as a manager in 2009. He is under contract through the 2013 season. He's surprisingly well-liked by Yankees fans, despite being given the nearly impossible task of taking over for Joe Torre. And for those who have given me a hard time for rooting for the Yankees, part of the reason I do is because I love Joe Girardi so much.