This is a little creepy. On Sunday night I wrote that the Rockies needed to take Clint Barmes out of the two-hole in the lineup. Monday night, that’s exactly what Clint Hurdle did, sliding the punchless shortstop to eighth and batting Cory Sullivan second. The impact of the move was minimal at best – Sullivan went 1-4 with a strikeout, Barmes was 0-2 in the eight-hole before being double switched out of the game in the fifth inning, and the Rockies lost to Don Drysdale and the Dodgers 7-2. (Wait, what do you mean, that was Brad Penny out there and not ‘Big D’? Same difference, at least when Penny is facing the Rox.)
In that same Sunday night article, I wrote the following about Todd Helton:
“A player with his current skill set – lots of singles and a keen batting eye – should be batting second in the order, but you won’t see him hitting there in a million years…”
Tonight, Hurdle proved me wrong, slotting Helton in the two-hole for the first time since August 24, 1999. This lineup shift moved Brad Hawpe up to fifth in the order, and dropped Barmes and Sullivan into the seventh and eighth spots. Again, the move lacked impact – Helton went 1-for-4, and the Rockies could only muster 2 runs again in a 4-2 loss.
If this proves anything, it’s that Clint Hurdle is an active reader of Up In the Rockies. Hi, Clint! Glad you’re reading. And while I have your attention, let me make a few more suggestions, if I may:
-Don’t use Ramon Ramirez against the Dodgers. They’ve now touched the poor kid for 9 runs (8 earned) on 7 hits in just 4 IP in his 6 appearances against them. That’s a 15.75 ERA and a .381 OAVG. You know how some players just own certain teams, Clint? Like, for example, I think Pedro Feliz is a lifetime .667 hitter against the Rockies with something like 26 homers and 78 RBI. OK, those figures are a bit exaggerated, but he kills us. Well, Clint, sometimes the converse is true and some guys just flat out suck against certain teams. For whatever reason, the usually reliable Ramirez throws up all over himself at the mere sight of Dodger blue. Tonight, working in his third straight game, he gave up a pinch-hit RBI single to Olmedo Saenz that gave the Dodgers the lead to stay in the seventh. Let’s try and stay away from Ramon here in the next two games.
-Stop using Jorge Piedra. I, myself, actually have ‘The Book’ on Jorge. It’s a very short book; more like a pamphlet, really. And it reads like this:
DO NOT THROW THIS HITTER A FASTBALL ON THE INNER HALF. HE WILL KILL THAT PITCH. THROW ANYTHING ELSE. IF YOU’RE GOING TO THROW A FASTBALL, THROW IT ON THE OUTER HALF, HE’LL NEVER GET TO IT. IF YOU MUST THROW AN INSIDE FASTBALL, MAKE SURE IT IS FASTER THAN 95 MPH, BECAUSE HE CAN’T CATCH UP TO THAT VELOCITY. YOU’RE BETTER OFF JUST THROWING HIM BREAKING BALLS, BECAUSE HE’S NEVER SEEN A CURVEBALL HE COULDN’T SWING OVER. SO, TO SUM UP – DON’T THROW 90 MPH FASTBALLS ON THE INNER HALF. ANYTHING ELSE AND YOU SHOULD BE FINE.
Piedra is an astonishingly awful 3-for-32 as a pinch hitter this year, and has struck out in 13 of those pinch at-bats. Read that again, Clint. Under no circumstances should he be thought of as our best bench option. In fact, he shouldn’t even be on the big league roster right now. I see that tonight in Colorado Springs, Ryan Spilborghs got a start in center field. Spilborghs hit .280 in his brief call-up this year with the Rox, and is hitting over .330 with the Sky Sox this year. He’s not Cory Sullivan, but he won’t kill us in center field defensively. Get him up here, and get Piedra the hell back to Colorado Springs. This is a must, Clint. Not only will Spilborghs be a pinch-hitting option that is actually good, he might just give you the offense you’ve been looking for from your center field position.
-Get Clint Barmes out of the lineup. I don’t care if you think he’s good defensively (he’s not bad, but it’s not like we’re running Ozzie Smith out there), or if you like him because he has the same name as you, or whatever. I understand that we’ve waited for him to break out after the tease that was April and May of 2005, and that he actually hit pretty good for a week there after the All-Star break. But, Mr. Hurdle, it’s time to face the facts: HE SUCKS. HE IS TERRIBLE AT HITTING THE BASEBALL AND IS NOT PARTICULARLY SKILLED AT FIELDING IT, EITHER. THOSE ARE THE FUNDAMENTAL ASPECTS OF THE VERY GAME WHICH HE IS TRYING TO PLAY ON A DAILY BASIS, AND HE KEEPS F***ING THEM UP. I’m sorry about the capital letters, Clint, but I can’t stress this one enough. If rallies were living humans, Barmes would be the Gary “Green River Killer” Ridgeway of baseball. I don’t know what kind of ballplayer Kaz Matsui is going to be as a Rockie, but I do know that, contrary to what every Mets fan would say, he can’t be any worse than Barmes. Call Matsui up, send Barmes down. Or, if you prefer, send Luis A. Gonzalez (the A is for ‘Atrocious’) down instead of Barmes. I really don’t care. But enough is enough with Barmes.
Now, Clint, if your charges go out and manage to take the next two games from the Dodgers, you come back home with a 4-3 record on the road trip. You’re only 3.5 games off the Wild Card lead, and 4 games out in the NL West. That’s the good news. The slightly better news is that you’ve got your two best pitchers, Jeff Francis and Jason Jennings, going the next two days. But the bad news is that the Dodgers have officially made the Rockies their prison bitches. And the worse news is that the offense seems to be stuck on Level 2 – as in, 2 runs apiece in the last four games.
Time to right the ship, Clint. Some of us, perhaps irrationally, still believe in this team.