BREAKING GLAD

FREELAND TAKES NO-NO INTO 9th; OFFENSE ROLLS AS AS ROX HEAD FOR BEACH

With the current MLB season heading into its annual mid season intermission, the Colorado Rockies were looking for a win to take a weekend series from the Chicago White Sox and to secure a winning week on the end of a dismal 20 day stretch that dated back to mid-June.  Kyle Freeland (9-7, 3.77) had participated in the debacle, credited with 3 of the losses and 14 runs allowed in 17-1/3 innings of work, and was in need of a strong outing with a rotation realignment looming upon Friday’s resumption of play.  Freeland was up to the task, and held the Sox hitless over 8 innings and 116 pitches as he headed into the 9th.  The rookie left-hander dispatched with Chicago lead-off man Adam Engle on 5 pitches, and with the crowd of 36,541, including girlfriend Ashley Chrisman, on their feet, had outfielder Melky Cabrera in a 2-2 count when the nefarious former Giant lined Freeland’s 121st offering, a 93 MPH 4-seamer, onto the left-field grass in front of Gerardo Parra.  “Shit!” exclaimed Ashley with ROOT Sports cameras trained clearly upon her, echoing the sentiments of everybody else on-hand, as history declined to materialize and Colorado manager Bud Black headed to the mound to remove the local south-side hero.

It was nevertheless a delightful afternoon down at the old ball yard for a Rockies squad that despite everything has turned in a remarkable first half of baseball in 2017.  The offense got Freeland a modest edge early when Mark Reynolds walked, Parra doubled, and Pat Valaika plated Reynolds with a grounder to 2nd.  Parra would follow Reynolds home on a botched pickoff, and the 2-0 lead would have to suffice until the 6th when All-Star Charlie Blackmon led off with his 20th home run.  White Sox starter Carlos Rodón (1-2, 4.32) then walked the hobbled DJ LeMahieu, another All-Star, who exited in favor of Alexi Amarista, and after a line-out by All-Star Nolan Arenado, walked should-have-been-an-all-star Reynolds, Amarista stealing 2nd along the way.  Parra knocked Amarista-in with a single, then Valaika, who is becoming increasingly difficult to ignore, blasted a 3-run shot into the left-field pavilion to run the score to 7-0, giving Freeland plenty of cushion to go record-hunting with.  Colorado would add 3 more in the 7th on a walk to Arenado and singles by Reynolds, Parra, Valaika, and Freeland himself, and a splendid time was had by all as the group headed-off for a 4-day vacation.  Even hapless Jordan Lyles had a superior outing, knocking off José Abreu and Todd Frazier to close things out for Freeland.

It is truly bewildering to contemplate that the Rockies have managed 52 wins over 91 first-half tries, especially when you consider they’ve received next-to-nothing from the 5 returning 2016 starting pitchers, have a bullpen containing only 3 relievers you can count on, and a lineup featuring gaping gaps exquisitely spaced in the 4 and 7-holes.  Yesterday’s RC+ exposé by Agbayani put some data behind the eye-test judgments everyone’s been making about the thus-far anemic offense.  The disturbing conclusion has good fortune playing far too great a role in the unexpected success to-date.

While there was plenty of the old “new hero every night” cliché going on in the run up to late June, more often than not the hero was Reynolds, with a healthy dose of Parra mixed in, along with the emergence of Blackmon into conversations containing names such as Harper and Prior.  With Jon Gray and Tyler Anderson turning-up injured, and Tyler Chatwood stinking things up between isolated flashes of brilliance, 4 rookies, Antonio Senzatela, Freeland, and later German Marquez and Jeff Hoffman, were left to pick-up the starting pitching staff, and they did so with gusto.  Left-hander Chris Rusin has been an invaluable all-purpose rescue man for a ‘pen that’s been, if you’re nice, ordinary, and if you’re RMH, inadequate, and Jake McGee’s come back to be a reliable set-up guy for All-Star Greg Holland, the game’s top closer so far in 2017.

But all of that can get you only so far once you’ve transformed beyond the point economist Alan Greenspan might have described as Irrational Exuberance, and when Hoffman and Senzatela got lit-up on back-to-back nights June 21 and 22 the wheels started spinning-off in a big hurry.  Reynolds and Blackmon suddenly had cooled-off, Parra landed on the DL with a strained quad, and in no time it developed that everybody else was running on fumes with the break still a couple of weeks out. A losing streak ran-out to 8 games, and even when it ended with Gray’s return to the rotation on June 30, reality in the form of the red-hot Arizona Diamondbacks remained, followed by the “average at-best” Cincinnati Reds, who ungratefully still insist on running guys like Billy Hamilton, Zack Cosart, Joey Votto and Adam Duvall out at you despite the fact you’re desperately trying to recover your bearings.

The roll is over and the grind is on, and how well the Rockies manage the grind will tell the tale over the 71 endless contests that remain.

Gray moves back into the no. 1 rotation slot when Colorado returns to action Friday in the borough of Queens, New York City, which I’m told is among other things the birthplace of the President of the United States.  They’ll have 3 with the disappointing Mets, then return to Denver for 3 each with the Padres and Pirates before heading back out for 3 in St Louis and 3 in the nation’s capital against the NL East leading Nats, all with the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline fueling the rumor mill.  The Rockies are penciled-in as “buyers” who have holes to fill and bullets to fire.  Names are already floating about, in fact several of them could be seen strutting around Coors Field in gray and black uniforms over the weekend.  On the other hand there’s an argument Colorado is not quite ready for prime time, 2017 being perhaps a year early for a bold splashy move.  As noted above, Valaika is making himself nearly impossible to overlook, and what do you know but shortstop happens to be one of the positions he plays. If you’re looking for a left-handed hitting outfielder there are certainly plenty of those on-hand to choose from, including the as yet to perform in 2017 David Dahl.  Chad Bettis, slated to lead the rotation before testicular cancer side-tracked his start to 2017, is heading out on a rehab assignment, just as everybody else is taking a break.  There’s a great deal of gossip to chew through as the deadline approaches.

Chatwood will follow Gray to the hill Saturday in New York, and Hoffman is now slotted as starter no. 3, getting the call Sunday. Beyond that, no assignments have been announced.  Freeland certainly asserted himself Sunday, and Senzatela, who was expected to bolster the shaky bullpen, is now supposedly being stretched-out for a return to the rotation.  Marquez has done nothing obvious to make himself the odd man out, so the intrigue is practically unbearable.

As Charlie, DJ, NoDo and Holland bask in the All-Star glow of the no-doubt climate-controlled confines of Marlins’ Park in Miami, Florida, one has to reflect upon one intangible that rox’n’sox, in one of those uncannily cogent comments she tosses out there every now and again, hit upon last week.  This guy Donald Trump, entertaining as he is, isn’t proving much better at making me rich than any of the 44 guys who preceded him did.  It’s time to drain the swamp:  PARRA FOR PRESIDENT!

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Bob in Indy
Bob in Indy
3 years ago

Well Gang, there I was in the fishing lodge in Canada with my laptop on June20th, desperately trying to get enough signal to watch Nolan’s walk-off/cycle on Sunday and his triple that night. I gleefully returned to our cabin and bragged the Rox to everyone there and how this year was so much different than all those in the past. Of course, the implosion began the next night and I’ve been so depressed I haven’t even wanted to read up… Read more »

Bob in Indy
Bob in Indy
3 years ago

Why is it that when I leave the comment box and try to go back in I can’t edit or add to the post I’m working on?

Bob in Indy
Bob in Indy
3 years ago

Anyway, to continue, after watching Charlie lose that round to a f&#($ing Dodger I decided to catch up on all your comments over the past few weeks. Great to read all your thoughts. Here’s a couple of random thoughts: 1. I agree fully with Carp that the DH should be used in NL parks and not in AL parks during interleague play, especially in the World Series. While one team gets the home field advantage (seven games only) they also… Read more »

sdcarp
Admin
sdcarp
3 years ago
Reply to  Bob in Indy

Bob – regarding Arenado, my personal preference is get Arenado signed to a long term contract. I’m sure the team and Arenado have talked about this, at least conceptually (regardless of what’s reported in the press). I feel 99% sure the team has a good idea what it will take to extend Arenado $$$$ and length of contract. Now, it’s their job (the Rockies) to process whether these required parameters are “team friendly” (I not a fan of that term),… Read more »

Bob K.
Bob K.
3 years ago
Reply to  sdcarp

Arenado is signed through next year. He currently has a 2 year $29.5MM contract. He is under control through 2019 because of his 4th arbitration year. I do not expect to see any movement toward a new deal until the 2018-2019 off season. Under Bridich the Rockies have tended toward 2 year contracts and then trading the player before their final arbitration year (Dexter Fowler).

sdcarp
Admin
sdcarp
3 years ago
Reply to  Bob K.

I “hear” you……and you may well be correct regarding 2018-1019 season. But that’s RISKY business for small/mid-market teams. I think we’ll see something (one way or the other) this coming off-season.

rockymountainhigh
Admin
rockymountainhigh
3 years ago

Here’s what i saw on Twitter:

Baseball Reference has Kyle Freeland at 3.4 rWAR after 18 starts, on pace for a 6.0 WAR season.

That would rank 2nd in franchise history

sdcarp
Admin
sdcarp
3 years ago

Justin Bour might look good in a Rockies uniform (the Yankees have already inquired).

sdcarp
Admin
sdcarp
3 years ago
Reply to  sdcarp

Here’s the scoop on the Yankees and Bour: “ESPN’s Buster Olney hears that the Yankees’ and Marlins’ trade talks regarding Justin Bour have been “only cursory” and “non-specific.” Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald reported over the weekend that the Yankees were “pursuing a trade” for Bour, but it sounds like it might just have been them doing their due diligence as they look for help at first base. The Marlins are informing other teams that they’re “open for business,”… Read more »

sdcarp
Admin
sdcarp
3 years ago

Timely discussion on Arenado’s trade value and/or signing of contract extension. FanGraphs is in the process of rolling out their 2017 top 50 “Trade Value” players and Arenado comes in at #31 (down a whopping 23 spots from his 2016 position of #8): http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/2017-trade-value-31-to-40/ The sole reason for Arenado’s 23 spot fall is that there will only be 2 years on control remaining after this season. The single most important factor in trade value (by far, nothing is close) is… Read more »

sdcarp
Admin
sdcarp
3 years ago

Whoa – Jose Quintana to the Cubs for Eloy Jimenez and several others. Make no mistake – Eloy Jimenez is the centerpiece of the deal. Massive power Prospect. Generally regarded as about the #5 Prospect (overall) in baseball. As a point of reference, Brendan Rodgers is generally about #10 (overall) in baseball. So for the Rockies to have obtained Quintana, it would have taken Brendan Rodgers and several other Prospects in the Rox 20-40 range. The White Sox are producing… Read more »

sdcarp
Admin
sdcarp
3 years ago

One thing I’ve learned regarding Bridich – when he drops a hint, it’s normally legit. Examples – Mike Dunn’s name was dropped a couple of weeks before he was signed. Bridich was also quoted as saying he liked a Desmond “like” player well in advance to the FA signing of Desmond. Fast forward to now, and there are rumors circulating regarding the Rox, Marlins, and relief pitchers, Two names make sense. AJ Ramos and Kyle Barraclough. The Marlins also have… Read more »

Agbayani
Agbayani
3 years ago

Well, it’s clear now – this team is not at a point where trading for a Jose Quintana makes sense. Carp, you’re right – the haul for Quintana was kind of like a Brendan Rodgers + Ryan McMahon + a couple lower level kids with some promise. That’s way too much for a team that isn’t really World Series-ready like our Rockies. Some nice ideas about cheaper players, Carp, but I’d focus on the hitters rather than the bullpen arms,… Read more »

sdcarp
Admin
sdcarp
3 years ago
Reply to  Agbayani

You bring up an interesting point here – a deal that’s good for the Cubs/Dodgers/Nats isn’t automatically good for us.

Michael Pineda needs TJ surgery, The Yankees were probably already in the SPer market already, now they’ll be really deep into the SPing market.

sdcarp
Admin
sdcarp
3 years ago
Reply to  sdcarp

One more thing regarding the Cubs/ChiSox/Quintana – regardless of who you think “won” the deal (it will take years to determine that), I commend the Cubs for pulling the trigger now versus just before the deadline. They’ll likely get 4 additional starts by Quintana by doing it now. It allows him extra time to integrate into the Clubhouse also. I’m always surprised at why Clubs wait so late to pull the trigger. By now, virtually everyone knows what they need.

rockymountainhigh
Admin
rockymountainhigh
3 years ago

How about targeting this pitcher? Copied/pasted: Among the facts general managers (and Trade Deadline aficionados) should know: Lynn has a 2.84 ERA in four career starts at Coors Field, according to Matt Filippi of MLB Network Research.

Agbayani
Agbayani
3 years ago

Quintana replaces Eddie Butler in the rotation … Butler still hasn’t shown anything. Basically replacement level (which is why he’s being replaced), whereas Quintana has been a consistent 5.0 WAR pitcher. So prorating for the remainder of the season, with all else being equal, the Cubs should expect to add at least 2 wins right there. Plus they’re not thinking “wild card”, they’re thinking division, playoffs, and Quintana as one of their front end starters when they get there. This… Read more »

sdcarp
Admin
sdcarp
3 years ago
Reply to  Agbayani

And……we talked extensively about Eddie Butler’s best place being the BP.

Agbayani
Agbayani
3 years ago

David Dahl, rehab return: HR, 2B. DHing only. Bettis: solid 1st rehab start, 60 pitches. Jordan Patterson: hey, the awful start made us forget about him! He’s been hitting great since the beginning of June. Tom Murphy: still waiting for him to catch fire. I predict he will. Ryan McMahon: I thought “no way this year.” But now I think “we’ll see him in September, if not earlier. Maybe the boost we need is right there on the farm after… Read more »

sdcarp
Admin
sdcarp
3 years ago
Reply to  Agbayani

And Desmond will be activated tomorrow.

Agbayani
Agbayani
3 years ago

Not pushing the panic button just yet … but my finger is hovering just over it. 3 reasons: 1. Diamondbacks look very solid. I don’t see an extended skid. They really look like they have a lock on a wildcard. 2. Cubs are definitely not punting 2017. They were and are still the favorites to win the NL Central. 3. Brewers look kind of Rockies-ish to me, and I’m shifting them from “pretenders” to “pseudo-contenders.” So they (or the Cubs?)… Read more »

Agbayani
Agbayani
3 years ago

Chatwood and Cargo – way to perform in your contract year, boys! The Korean League is calling …

Agbayani
Agbayani
3 years ago

Is Bud Black losing it now? Freeland going 3 innings in relief?? The only reliable starter you’ve got will now get pushed back till … Thursday? He’ll miss the whole Padres series? I think I’d let position players eat the innings if it’s really that critical to save … who? Scott Oberg? I know he pitched (poorly) yesterday, but really, who cares about the status of his arm?

sdcarp
Admin
sdcarp
3 years ago

Ag – I read somewhere today (may have been a series of tweets) that the plan is to bring Senzatela back into the rotation and move Freeland to the Pen for a few weeks to manage innings. But…..I’m sure they thought it would be a single inning here and there, not chunks of 3. IMO – Chatwood is less likely to have a meaningful contribution to the Rockies for the remainder of 2017 than Cargo….and that’s bad because I’m giving… Read more »

Agbayani
Agbayani
3 years ago

If the plan is this: – skip a couple Senzatela starts, move Senza to the pen, then move him to AAA, then give him a pitch-limited start, then call him up again – watch Freeland nearly throw a no-hitter, then move him to the pen, then let him throw 3 innings of mop-up duty as a lefty Jordan Lyles – call Senza back up to start immediately thereafter Then I have to think Bridich (and it must be his idea,… Read more »

Agbayani
Agbayani
3 years ago

Meanwhile, Cargo … the Gameday summary says it all. Top 2: Carlos Gonzalez grounds out softly to second baseman Top 5: Carlos Gonzalez strikes out swinging (on a 1-2 count) Top 6: Carlos Gonzalez grounds out to second baseman Top 8: Carlos Gonzalez strikes out swinging (silver lining: took the lefty pitcher to a 3-2 count) Even so, Chatwood is still my biggest disappointment in 2017. No one should have expected this kind of collapse from Cargo, but the warning… Read more »

Doc
Doc
3 years ago

I’m not buying Chatwood’s calf injury. The past couple of games he looks to have contracted the Yips.It’s in his head now and I don’t think he’s going to help us the rest of the year or ever. We need to send Story to AAA and have Cargo slip on the stairs carrying deer meat. Long stint on the DLwill save further embarrassment to him and the club.

sdcarp
Admin
sdcarp
3 years ago

Looks as though teams may be willing to pull the trigger on deals earlier this year (witness today’s Nat’s/A’s deal as well as earlier Cubs/ChiSox swap). As noted above – I think this smart.

Some noise Rox have talked to Tiggers about JD Martinez. Martinez is a good player. Would be a rental.

Agbayani
Agbayani
3 years ago

JD Martinez: really good player who has flown under the radar nationally, but the Rockies are not the landing place for a 2-month rental who’ll probably shake a Top 20 prospect out of some World Series contender. Rockies really, really needed the offensive breakout today, and they really, really, really need to blow out the Padres at home this week too to push the reset button. Losing 4 or 5 of 6 on this homestand, or even going 3-3 just… Read more »

sdcarp
Admin
sdcarp
3 years ago
Reply to  Agbayani

He’ll definitely shake a couple of top 20 Propsects from the receiving organization. In our case, I can see something like Tapia and a lower level pitcher, Maybe someone like Tinoco (who’s re-established himself a bit this season). FWIW….I’d do that deal in a heartbeat. The Nats turned to the A’s in an attempt to fix their seemingly never ending relief woes. The Nats were rumored to be a team talking to the Marlins about AJ Ramos, Kyle Barraclough, David… Read more »

Agbayani
Agbayani
3 years ago

Well, Carp, we’re about a 1-5 homestand away from being sellers rather than buyers. And while nobody here wants that to happen, you’ve gotta admit we’ve got lots to sell if it does: – Holland. He’d bring a lot. – Reynolds. He’d bring a decent prospect. – McGee. Same. – Parra. Yeah I know he’s hitting, but Bridich could definitely clear the 2018 $9 million salary now … – Chawood? Meh. Cargo? Umm, no takers there. As for Cargo –… Read more »

sdcarp
Admin
sdcarp
3 years ago
Reply to  Agbayani

Trust me, I’ve thought about what Holland can bring in trade return. If you’ll recall, I was pushing hard for the Holland signing because I thought it was low risk because of just this scenario. I still don’t think the Nats have solved their BP problem completely, and they still have Victor Robles on their Farm, and Koda Glover only mildly injured. Ironically – the team that could really use Holland is the DBacks. But I can also see the… Read more »

rockymountainhigh
Admin
rockymountainhigh
3 years ago

Carlos Gonzalez wRC+: 2015, 2nd half. 142 2016, 1st half. 126 2016, 2nd half. 84 2017, 1st half. 49 2017, 2nd half. (-81) Doh…. what’s taking u so long to figure this out JB???? I guess I’m on a different island by myself from the other RWOers. Parra is very valuable this year and probably the next year as well. He’s been awesome in RISP situations as well as out in the field. Had he continued flailing at every pitch… Read more »

sdcarp
Admin
sdcarp
3 years ago

Hey, hey, hey…..remember I have a man crush on Desmond! I think the “problem” is fans are hung up on the contract and think they should be getting MVP production for +/- 15-20M AAV. I’ve said repeatedly (mostly seriously) that I’m frivolous with the Monfort’s money. There’s a really, really rough rule-of-thumb that 1 WAR = 8M. Prior to this season (2012-2016), Desmond was typically good for 3-4 WAR. Of course this year, with the injuries, he’s off to a… Read more »

sdcarp
Admin
sdcarp
3 years ago

Ouch – JD Martinez just named AL Player of the week. Good news for the Tigers, bad news for potential suitors. The price is going up!

rockymountainhigh
Admin
rockymountainhigh
3 years ago
Reply to  sdcarp

He’s a non-starter for JB’s consideration cuz he is bad defensively in the outfield. JB wants only guys that can play defense at Coors Field as well as a good bat. See what JB did passing up the marquee first basemen because they can’t field their position as well as Reynolds during the winter.

sdcarp
Admin
sdcarp
3 years ago

Another interesting thing……….for all of our teeth gnashing here in Rockies Land – the D-Backs have lost 11 of their last 14. So while we’ve lost an insurmountable boat-load of ground to the Dodgers, we’re virtually even with the Snakes. The Brewers are on a run, but I still see the Cubs winning that Division (meaning I’m watching the Brewers as a WC team – and they’ve caught us and the D-Backs). And…..the Braves aren’t awful. I’m keeping an eye… Read more »

Agbayani
Agbayani
3 years ago

RMH, I’m now tending toward you’re “Cargo is toast” theory for the reasons you mentioned. Of course, Desmond was almost toast in 2015 too. But if Dahl makes it back, I gotta think you cut your ties with Cargo rather than having him sulk on the bench. On the Dbacks: I thought their starting pitching was good enough to avoid this kind of skid. Guess not. So all we can say is all the wild card contenders are flawed teams… Read more »

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