Better, But Still Bad

ROX BUMBLE INTO BREAK; IN THE ATL FRIDAY

The 2016 Major League Baseball season reached its All Star Break Sunday evening, the Colorado Rockies smarting from an ugly loss to the Philadelphia Phillies, 10-3, veteran relievers Jake McGee and Jason Motte surrendering deadly home runs in the late innings.  Colorado was trailing 4-2 with 2 outs in the top of the 7th when manager Walt Weiss mysteriously turned to McGee in favor of recently reactivated Adam Ottavino.  3 outs later McGee and Motte had gifted the Phillies 6 additional tallies, and the Rockies were left to head off on their short vacation tails between legs.  For the week Colorado was 3-4, dropping 2 of 3 to the Giants in San Francisco, and splitting 4 with Philadelphia.  The west coast power outage continued in San Fran, single runs Monday and Wednesday sandwiched around getting beyond the Mad Bum Tuesday to log a 7-3 win behind an angry 3-run Nolan Arenado blast.  The bats got loose again Thursday at Coors Field, Chad Bettis delivering a nice start, and Tyler Anderson logged his first MLB win Saturday when the Rockies solved Jerad Eickholt in a 6-run 6th.

Colorado sits 40-48 at the break, which sdcarp tells us projects to 74 wins.  The group sure seems like it ought to be better than 45% in the second half, so despite what’s been a dismal first third of July, there’s still plenty of fun and excitement to follow.

The uneven first half in a sense paralleled the plight of the starting pitcher rotation, which opened with Jorge De La Rosa in the veteran anchor role followed by Bettis, Tyler Chatwood, Jordan Lyles and Eddie Butler, along for the ride with Jon Gray nursing a late camp sore shoulder.  DLR and Lyles were a mess, pitching their way off the farm, or better put, back to the farm, in a matter of weeks.  By way of contrast, Bettis was looking good, and Chatwood, returning from Tommy John no. 2, was just short of spectacular, at least away from the intersection of 2oth and Blake.  Gray returned looking good as well, comfortable now as an MLBer in contrast to his 2015 cameo.  Gray’s return looked to bounce Butler, but De La Rosa came up lame, so Butler stuck for a bit more, holding his own with Chris Rusin rehabbing in Arizona.  Once Rusin came back Butler headed briefly to the ‘pen, but by then Lyles was flaming so alarmingly he scored a flight to New Mexico, and Eddie was back on the wheel.  DLR, meanwhile returned from his rehab, albeit as a reliever.  Butler gutted his way through a couple more harrowing appearances, at least once backed up by De La Rosa, who suddenly had regained his mojo, and inevitably the lefty regained his starting slot, Eddie once more looking to head south.  Don’t hold your breath though because no sooner could you say “Jack Robinson” than there was Chatwood trudging off to the DL with a back strain.  New life for Eddie!  Undeterred, one more bomb show finally got Eddie his trip to Albuquerque.

Unexpectedly getting the MLB call was left-hander Tyler Anderson, the one-time first rounder who’d battled injuries for much of his minor league career.  Anderson had made something like 6 starts in Hartford and 2 for the Isotopes when he got the word, and has been a revelation since his arrival.  6 starts in, he’s pitched in tough-luck, one win against 3 losses, but the ERA is 3.03, and he’s made it well into the 6th each outing.

Overall team performance has followed along the chaos in the starting staff, unable to get on a roll and suffering several prolonged losing stretches including the current struggle.  Colorado held its own in the early going hovering around the .500 mark, uncharacteristically doing most of its winning on the road.  But mid-May presented a 9-game trip east through St Louis, Pittsburgh and Boston, and from that point forward the Rockies have managed a maximum of one win in each succeeding road series.  The first of the big slides came upon the return from that trip.  Momentum has been elusive throughout.  Chatwood’s injury coincided with a prolonged bullpen malfunction, and that reached a crescendo Sunday afternoon.

Disappointment beside, there is quite a bit to be cheery about, much of it unexpected.  Trevor Story was all the rage early, sliding into Troy Tulowitzki’s vacated shortstop position and the 5-hole in the batting order seemlessly.  Jose Reyes never had a chance. Carlos Estevez emerged as the closer, at least for now.  Who knew who he was 2 months ago?  For all the speculation about the young arms ready to rise from the minors, who expected Anderson would be the first?  Jon Gray looks like a star in the making. Chatwood couldn’t have returned better.  Carlos Gonzalez and DJ LeMahieu are sparring over the batting title.  Arenado continues to vie for best-in-the game honors.  The defense in general is just about as good as it gets.

The non-waiver trade deadline is next on the horizon, general manager Jeff Bridich on the clock.  If I’m Jeff I’m feeling pretty good.  No pressure to make a deal, but all set to take one if something I like comes along.  The Rox are off to Atlanta for 3 last goes at Turner Field when play resumes.  DLR gets the start against TBD.  Colorado returns to Coors July 18 for 3 against the Rays and 4 more with the Braves.

Fun and excitement to follow.

 

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sdcarp
Admin
sdcarp
4 years ago

Nicely done! Ag has been warning us since the preseason about this upcoming “soft” spot in the schedule. I have put much emphasis on it, because in recent years we’ve done a “good” job of playing down to level of competition. So my expectations are tempered. That being said……let’s say we go 2-1 in ATL, then come back home and go 5-2. Honestly…..that’s not asking too much. That would get us to 4 games below 500. Not great by the… Read more »

Bill
Bill
4 years ago

Chatwood is great on the road and average (at best) at Coors. JDLR is the best Rockies pitcher ever at Coors and average on the road. So our high-school manager WW will start JDLR in the first game after the break and skip Chatwood on the road. Because? Perhaps because he’s an idiot?

Agbayani
Agbayani
4 years ago

Carp, you’re right — my fictional “season in retrospect” that I did as a prediction in April had us giving up all hope at the ASB, only to see the Rockies catch fire against the likes of the Braves. Of course, that was also predicated on some of our other upcoming opponents in the second half of July being in full collapse, which hasn’t really happened …. still, you gotta believe! (For another couple weeks at least)

sdcarp
Admin
sdcarp
4 years ago
Reply to  Agbayani

I revisited the pre-season predictions about a week ago. Virtually everyone has a couple that are trending right on target. The group as a whole did well. Lots of 68-72 wins predictions….so we’re trending slightly ahead of that. I thought your 500 PAT was even better in hindsight. With a few less BP blow ups and better 5th starter production, we’d be knocking on the door. Think about this……what if Tyler Anderson had started the season healthy and pitched from… Read more »

rockymountainhigh
Admin
rockymountainhigh
4 years ago

I took advantage of my time off from the Rockies to rank the prospects for the Purp30 poll on Purple Row. Here is my ballot: 1. Brendan Rodgers – I always have him #1 until he proves me otherwise 2. David Dahl – he’s past his injury and is ready to come up to The Show 3. Jeff Hoffman – He’s learned how to be consistent in his year since the TJ 4. Riley Pint – best available high ceiling… Read more »

sdcarp
Admin
sdcarp
4 years ago

As noted below – I think this is a great list. I think Carasiti should be higher.

Agbayani
Agbayani
4 years ago

Great list, RMH — really shows the depth in the system. And it’s pretty much what I’d have too. A few minor disagreements: – where’s Jerry Vasto? To me, he’s the fastest riser. He’s just been plain untouchable this year. I’d put him in the top 12 or so — lower upside because he’s a reliever, but a very high likelihood of making the big leagues. – I’m kind of down on Nunez. Tom Murphy? Not sure yet if he’s… Read more »

rockymountainhigh
Admin
rockymountainhigh
4 years ago
Reply to  Agbayani

I had my 2 catchers closer to top 10 in the winter poll, but moved them back closer to top 20 for the reasons u mentioned.

Vasto – he was on half on the PR ballots but missing on others. That’s why I passed on him for now.

As I mentioned on my PR post, I put more value on pitchers than position players cuz we need pitchers badly. Hitters – Rockies always have a pipeline of hitters.

sdcarp
Admin
sdcarp
4 years ago

Agree – great list RMH.

I personally struggle with these lists because I can’t decide if I should rank based purely on upside (in which case Brendan Rodgers and Riley Pint are in my top 5 easy), or do a temper that with some sort of heavier weighting to someone in the high minors (David Dahl for example) vs. someone low (Pint or Eusebio for example).

rockymountainhigh
Admin
rockymountainhigh
4 years ago
Reply to  sdcarp

I based my rankings on their future production with the big club, not how close they are to reaching The Show.

Agbayani
Agbayani
4 years ago

Here’s how I look at prospect rankings (and it’s by far the only way, but it’s my way): you have to take into account both their potential AND their likelihood of making it to the big leagues for at least a normal/productive career — say, 3-4 years for starting pitchers and position players, maybe longer for pure relievers. So this is certainly inexact, but it goes something like this: Jerry Vasto: upside is a Boone Logan. Not a great reliever/closer,… Read more »

rockymountainhigh
Admin
rockymountainhigh
4 years ago
Reply to  Agbayani

I like your methodology of ranking the prospects. It would be nice if you would come up with your own Purp30 using that methodology and we can compare with each other as well as sdcarp’s. I’m not as big of a numbers guy as you are. I more of a feely type except for one stat: BB/9 and durability (IP per start).

sdcarp
Admin
sdcarp
4 years ago
Reply to  Agbayani

Ha…..I’m a sucker for a formula!

I’m picking up what you’re putting down. I like the Dahl/Rodgers analogy. In a vacuum, Rodgers has a higher ceiling. But Dahl is so, so close to being in the Show. Rodgers is two years away. A lot can happen in two years. I like how that weights to Dahl.

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