While watching the game and keeping up with baseball in general last night I had a few thoughts run through my head. Not all of these thoughts are clean enough for any sort of public forum and even some of my thoughts relate to baseball. None of them are deep enough for me to justify an entire article on them but altogether might make a worthwhile read.
Rockies starting rotation
What a disappointment this group has turned out to be. Going into the season Ubaldo Jimenez, Jorge De La Rosa and Jhoulys Chacin were supposed to be equal to about any three starting pitchers on any team in baseball. Sure teams like the Phillies and Giants might have had a better first three but the list would end about there. Even a team like the Red Sox had some questions about Josh Beckett and John Lackey. Some might toss the Brewers into this conversation but Zack Greinke wasn’t ready to begin the season.
Now the Rockies are left with a haphazard bunch of arms and the downer is that some of these arms aren’t even living up to what they were thought to be capable of. The Rockies were forced to insert a guy into the rotation probably about a year before they would have liked in Juan Nicasio but that moved seemed to be mostly positive until the ugly scene last Friday night. Aaron Cook and Jason Hammel remain in the rotation not due to performance but because the Rockies have no other options. They are so desperate at this point they had to sign Kevin Millwood (more on that below). Esmil Rogers was OK last night but don’t let that “W” or any talk of “fighting through six innings” talk fool you that Root Sports will surely try to sell tonight. It was borderline awful as he allowed 10 base runners in those six innings and it took him 111 pitches to get through six.
Chacin remains in the rotation and is pitching well and leading the rotation but can anyone really expect for the Rockies to put together a winning streak with Cook, Hammel, Rogers and Millwood pitching four out of five days a week?
Yesterday I kind of sort of questioned the Giants pitching, but not really. While they have had three not-so-great starts from three of their more stable pitchers in the past two weeks it is a really small sample size and just a coincidence.
Yesterday Madison Bumgarner threw seven innings of shutout baseball and only allowed four hits and one walk while striking out 10. Ya, the Giants pitching is going to be OK.
If the Rockies are not out of it why is Jim Tracy experimenting?
I have actually seen some tweets and other stuff from fans the past few days that they are actually getting excited about the Rockies playoff chances. Slow your roll, Rockies fans. The Rox are still closer to being dead last in the division than even in second place, much less first. Which brings me to the conflicting stories Jim Tracy constantly provides on a daily basis. He keeps telling the beat writers and anyone else who will listen that the Rockies need to get to .500, then pass the team in second place in the NL West and then they can worry about winning the division. If he truly thinks that the Rockies have any sort of shot then why does he keep putting Eric Young Jr. in right field? Seth Smith hits two home runs and then rides the bench. I don’t think for one second that Smith should be guaranteed a spot in the Rockies outfield in 2012 but he is certainly a better option for 2011.
Maybe Tracy has to keep a positive front for the media and fans?I would rather hear honesty.
With all of that being said I think the Rockies are out of it and experimenting is fine by me. Chris Nelson should play everyday at second and Ian Stewart everyday at third. EY is not an outfielder. He doesn’t have the arm and the Rockies cannot afford to put a guy into a power position who is void of any sort of power. They need more big bats (who would have thought anyone would say that about the Rockies…ever…?).
Kevin Millwood starting in GABP
Get ready for a shelling tonight. This is exactly the kind of pitcher a sleeping offensive giant like the Reds need to come along and give them a sniff of fly ball smelling salts. As I wrote yesterday:
Millwood’s home run rates have steadily risen over the past five years and in each of the past five seasons he has allowed at least one home run per nine innings pitched. Millwood allows more hits in the air than on the ground (think the opposite of Aaron Cook) which is a bad recipe for the spacious outfield turf at Coors Field.
And with the home run rates of GABP the fly ball pitcher might be an even worse idea in Cincinnati tonight.
Troy Tulowitzki vs Jose Reyes
This was sparked on Troy Renck’s Twitter last night and I found it somewhat humorous because before the season began the debate was between Hanley Ramirez and Tulo and now that Ramirez is having a bad year and Reyes is sort of having an “out of nowhere” year the argument has switched, but Tulo is still in it. (I know Reyes has amazing capabilities but coming off of injuries no one expected a legitimate MVP campaign from him.)
Tulo and Ramirez are similar in that they are both big and hit for power. Tulo plays a much better shortstop than Ramirez but Ramirez steals more bases. Personally I don’t think it is a close argument as to who is better between Ramirez and Tulo, both in fantasy and real baseball. When you compare Reyes and Tulo you are comparing apples to oranges. Reyes is speed, all speed and tons of speed. He lives for triples, stealing bases and generally flying around the bases. Think EY with a decent bat. However I have to go back to defense because it’s what separates Tulo from all the other “great” shortstops currently in baseball.
There are some defensive whiz’s at the shortstop position, Brendan Ryan for example, but those guys generally cannot hit. There are some that can hit pretty darn well, Starlin Castro for example, but if Castro’s defense was a IPO he would pick right now to go public on the stock market. Tulo is both. Reyes is great at the plate but according to UZR/150 he is quite ways behind Tulo defensively. Tulo consistently ranks as one of the better defensive shortstops in baseball while Reyes actually cost his team runs defensively in 2010 and isn’t fairing much better in 2011.
Those were some of my thoughts last night. If you were going to start a team who do you take first? Do you take Tulo or Reyes? What about the Rockies rotation? Any hope of the team putting together more than three wins in a row the rest of the season? Leave a comment with your thoughts, I am curious.
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