Well, we all kind of figured that the eight-game losing streak wouldn’t last forever for the Rox. Still, it’s nice to have full confirmation of that fact.
The bullpen made us sweat (what else is new), but in the end Chin-Hui Tsao was able to pick up his first save of the season as Joe Kennedy outdueled Jason Schmidt, helping the Rox to a 5-4 victory over the Giants.
It’s late, I’m tired, and the Nuggets blow-out loss in Houston has me mildly grumpy (I swear the Sports Gods are conspiring to keep us Denver sports fans from ever being totally and completely happy on the same day), so let’s just run through some slump-busting notes, quick-hitter style:
-Ten games into the season, Clint Barmes is our best offensive player. His .421/.476/.816 line leads the team in all three of those categories, and he’s also tops in hits (16), homers (4), and ribbies (9). He’s shown some speed and he’s been decent with the leather. So far it’s looking like I was spectacularly wrong about the former Indiana State Sycamore. But he’s fit just fine into the two-slot in the lineup, and he and Aaron Miles (.351/.351/.432) are at least presenting the heart of the order with some RBI opportunities.
-Speaking of Aaron Miles… would it kill you to draw a freakin’ walk every now and then? After 37 plate appearances, the Rockies leadoff hitter has a big fat donut beneath that ‘BB’ column. He’s not going to hit .351 all season, so he’s got to start being more patient, otherwise he’ll cease being an effective offensive player really quickly.
-The folks over at the Denver Baseball Observer have suggested that the ‘JD’ in catcher JD Closser’s name stands for “Just Defense”. Through the first ten ballgames, that’s actually pretty accurate. Closser, slotted in the eighth spot, has been worthless at the plate, going 4-for-25 and basically continuing the hitting slump that plagued him throughout the Cactus League schedule.
-Really, looking at the Rockies lineup, it’s pretty simple to figure out why they aren’t putting up a whole lot of runs. Miles, Barmes, and Helton are hitting. Preston Wilson really isn’t. Matt Holliday hasn’t gotten going yet. Brad Hawpe is holding his own (.273/.292/.318) but the power and patience isn’t there. Jeff Baker is quite clearly not going to Pipp Garrett Atkins (.160/.276/.360). We already mentioned how badly Closser has performed. You can’t score runs when only three guys are taking care of business at the plate.
-Throw out Jamey Wright’s rough outing last night, and the Rox are on a little bit of a roll in terms of getting quality starts. Joe Kennedy threw well for the first time all year today, going 6.2 and allowing just two runs on seven hits. He walked two and fanned two, marking a rare occasion for a Rockies pitcher: a walk total that isn’t obscene. Hopefully this is the start of better things to come down the road for Kennedy, who was probably pressing in his first couple outings this year after being named the Opening Day starter.
-Hey, Bobby Seay. Nice job tonight, buddy. Three pitches, three strikes, one big strikeout of Omar Vizquel with two men on in the seventh. By the way, it’s pronounced ‘SEE’, not “SAY”. So, a proper Berman-esque nickname would NOT be Bobby “Oh” Seay “Can you see?” but rather Bobby “I once was lost, but now am found, was blind but now I” Seay.
-By order of preference, the guys I want to see come in the game in a tight spot out of the Rockies bullpen as of right now: Tsao, Fuentes, Seay, Carvajal, Speier, Kim, a rusty pitching machine, whoever the hell the bullpen catcher is, a random fan in Section 116, Dohmann. Kim moves up on that list if he’d only quit distributing free passes more often than the owner of a struggling amusement park. Marcos Carvajal is quietly the only Rockies pitcher to not allow an earned run, although control for him has also been an issue (5 IP, 2 BB, 0 K). It won’t be long before Clint Hurdle starts using the 20 year-old flamethrower in some higher-leverage situations.
-Regarding Tsao’s first save opportunity tonight… he made one bad mistake to Michael Tucker, but when you’re up by three you have room for one bad mistake. In the end, he got the job done. It’s never going to be easy for a Coors Field closer, but ultimately, if you’re shaking hands on the field after a ballgame, it’s a successful save opportunity and a successful outing.
-How does a Colorado Rockies team have eight home runs in 10 games? And how does Todd Helton not have a jack yet? It just goes to show how deep this bad luck has run.
-On Baseball Tonight this evening, Steve Phillips outlined his plan for rebuilding the Rockies into contenders. His ideas: 1) trade Todd Helton to provide more financial flexibility; 2) get four or five mid-rotation quality starters and build a rotation that is similar to the quality that the Cardinals had last year; and 3) get “Moneyball” guys who get on base for cheap and throw your money at the big guns to carry the offense. Normally I’d listen whenever somebody has a plan for rebuilding the Rox, but in this case, I tuned out the guy because he was the worst GM in big league history. Like he knows what the hell he’s talking about.
That’s all I’ve got. Well, that, and a new trivia question for you:
UP IN THE ROCKIES TRIVIA CHALLENGE: When Chin-Hui Tsao made his major league debut in 2003, the first batter he ever faced hit a home run. Who was this former Rockies player that spoiled Tsao’s debut?
Answers in the comments box. Jennings and Rueter tomorrow. Hey, who’s up for two straight?