Nameless, Faceless Opponents

Since the ASB, the Rockies came up with a new team theme:  Each game is against a nameless and faceless opponent.  The latest game was a 12-2 romp over the Dodgers.  After Justin Turner spotted the Rockies a 2-0 lead with a two-run homer in the first inning, they came back with a roar in the bottom of the inning on a three-run blast by NoDo and a two-run shot by Mark Reynolds to dead center.  Ball game right there with Tyler Anderson going seven easy innings to pick up the win.  Colorado raised its record to 54-53 the latest (August 3rd) it has been above .500 since 2010.  They are now three games back of WC #2, five back of the Dodgers, and seven back of the Giants.

Since the ASB, they swept the Braves, won the series in Atlanta, Baltimore and New York.  They won the first two games against Los Angeles to start the eight-game home stand.  There were no jumping for joy the last two nights.  That is a great thing to see;  it shows that the Rockies are very confident and has a swagger to boot.  Colorado has a record of 14-5 since the break, best in the majors.  Their theme of nameless and faceless opponent continues tomorrow at 6:40 pm MT with a chance to broom A-Gon and company.

The confidence grows exponentially when the rotation pitches quality start after quality start.  That makes it a six-inning game when the soft underbelly can be avoided.  Jake McGee and Gonzalez Germen are part of the very soft underbelly.  Jordan Lyles is starting to show that he can pitch in higher leverage situations (still a small sample, but nevertheless promising).  Wild Thing and Zero are starting to bloom as a 8th-9th lockdown pair.  Chris Rusin appears to put long relief concerns to rest.  That leaves Steve Foster and Darren Holmes with Gopherg and Boone Logan to put out fires at any time in the late innings.  Remember there’s Miguel Castro, Matt Carasiti, and Sam Moll in Albuquerque that could harden the soft underbelly instantly.

When the pitching staff is suddenly pitching both at home and at altitude, it gives the offense plenty of swagger.  They no longer have to squeeze the bats harder nor do they need to press individually.  The offense has started to figure out how to produce quality at bats.  They have learned how to be more patient and work the pitchers harder.  It was evident when they beat Chris Tillman who has never lost at home and the gauntlet of the New York Mets rotation (deGrom, Matz, Colon, and Syndergard.  Nearly every at bat were quality at-bats whether it was an 8-pitch battle, RBI ground out beating out double play, bunting for hits, or PUTTING BALLS IN PLAY!

Thunderstory is lost for the season, but it might actually be beneficial.  Dan Descalso, with his post season and World Series experience (Cardinals), is showing the young team how to win games with his intangibles.  He is a steadfast, calm presence in the bottom half of the order.  Thunderstory hit a lot of home runs and drove in over 70 runs, but David Dahl has simply replaced his bat in the lineup and he has a nine-game hit streak to begin his career.  He has been in the middle of the order behind CarGo and NoDo right from his first career game.  All that in addition to his superb defense in the outfield.

The local media has been talking about how close they are to the wild card.  I say let’s raise the bar even higher.  Write the date down for the statement I’m about to make.  We are going to battle for FIRST PLACE in the Wild West division.  The reason I believe we can win the pennant are pitching, pitching, and pitching.  Who has a better rotation health-wise:  Los Angeles or Colorado?  Colorado hands down.  The Dodgers are scrambling to find arms from scrap heap.  The Rockies on the other hand have pieces that will be of immediate help in both rotation and bullpen down on the farm.  I think we are seeing fatigue set in big time on the aging Giants.  Colorado gained nine games on San Francisco in three short weeks since the ASB.

Go ahead and try to bring me back down to earth with reality, my fellow RWOers.  But my horse has the blinders on and I’m whipping the horse in the stretch run of the Belmont Stakes gaining speed like a runaway train.  This is an age-old adage in any sports – defense (or pitching in baseball) is what takes a team a long way late in the season and post season.  Jon Gray has emerged as the ace of the staff who can go toe to toe against any Cy Young winner.  Come on over Jake Arrieta, let’s see if you can beat Jon Gray at Coors Field in a couple of weeks.  Denver will no longer be a flyover city for the national media when we flip the calendar to September.

Tomorrow (Thursday) night, I will be going to the game at Coors Field.  Of course, I’m switching back to the Tulo jersey with the WS patch.  Tyler Chatwood goes against Maeda.  Chatwood is probably the weak link of the rotation at Coors Field.  Please don’t repeat the last game I attended and that was you pitching a stinker against the Rays of Tampa Bay.  From a fan point of view, I wouldn’t mind another night of home run derby contest by the Colorado hitters.  But just win the game, baby, whether it’s 1-0 or 8-2.

Time for Agbayani to come up with a new PAT that will find us nine more wins to be ten games above .500 in October.  Time for EdtheUmp to stir up a purple Kool Aid drink.  Time to hear pooter come up with the latest predictions, this time 100 wins in his update.  Don’t you go to Washington D.C. BobinWV.  You bring bad luck when the Rockies come to town to mingle with you.  sdcarp will come up with a gem in a waiver trade when advising the Rockies.

After tomorrow night, our next game will be the “Bark at the Park” game against the Nationals (August 16).  I’m confident that my golden retriever, Otto, is going to catch plenty of HR balls from the men in purple pinstripes.  Screw you Strasburg.

ROY:  Wild Thing   MVP:  CarGo   GG: NoDo 4th straight    BA champion:  DJLM      HR champion:  CarGo  Comeback Player of Year:  tie between Chatty and Dahl.

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sdcarp
Admin
sdcarp
4 years ago

Keep in mind my Nuclear Option was presented last year before the Tulo trade. Subsequent to that, I presented two lesser options. The Tulo trade changed the landscape (and was borderline Nuclear anyway). Honestly – as the deadline approached concurrently with us playing really good ball in Baltimore and NY, my stance transitioned to “the only thing we really need to do is trade Hundley.” Here’s one thing I’ll be watching this off-season – Boone Logan. We originally signed Logan… Read more »

Bob in Indy
Bob in Indy
4 years ago

Relax, rmh. While the Rox are in our nation’s capital I will be splitting time between officiating a local hockey tournament and umpiring softball across the street from the rink. If either of those fall through I will be helping teach a USA Hockey Officials Seminar in Charleston, WV. There is Otto (zero) chance I will be in DC.

sdcarp
Admin
sdcarp
4 years ago

Dilemma (and I think I know the answer before I ask the question):

I’ve been super busy and unable to watch the NY and LA games the last week. I’ve only seen highlight replays on the MLB App. Now….it appears I have some free time but I don’t want to jinx the streak. So I’m guessing I should stay tuned out even though I have time?????

Agbayani
Agbayani
4 years ago

RMH, you ask for a new PAT that puts us in the playoffs. Sweep the Dodgers and I’ll work on it! In the meantime, not to toot my own horn here, but … I’m going to look for that original predictions/PAT thread and bump it up here. If I must say so myself it was pretty damn good. The only real difference between my PAT and reality is that Tyler Anderson is playing the role I thought Kyle Freeland would… Read more »

sdcarp
Admin
sdcarp
4 years ago
Reply to  Agbayani

Feel free to toot your horn….it’s a good thing!

Agbayani
Agbayani
4 years ago

OK, I’m gonna cheat a little here. Here’s some predictions from my Planet Alignment Theory (which I wrote from the perspective of an end-of-season wrap). My comments on my comments – where I was right, where I was wrong, where I could still be proven right! – are in [brackets]: DATELINE: October 2, 2016, 9:00 pm MDT (the regular season just ended, and the Rockies finished 81-81) I think we can all agree that 2016 put the fun back in… Read more »

Agbayani
Agbayani
4 years ago

RMH, your good luck, but really — that guy didn’t deserve ejection. Here’s my thing: if there’s a hard and fast rule “no leaning into the field of play,” then I guess so. But if it really had been a foul ball they would have let him be. So he’s ejected for making an honest mistake.

Bill
Bill
4 years ago

Thought I would be able to catch at least half the game at home especially since my plane arrived 30 minutes early. How was I to know there was some problem with the trains at DIA and when it finally arrived, or the 2nd one, because we couldn’t get on the first, it was like the NYC subway at rush hour. Took at least 45 minutes to get from our gate to baggage claim. At least our luggage was waiting… Read more »

Agbayani
Agbayani
4 years ago

Marlins are trying something interesting: David Phelps (50 relief appearances this year, with very good results) moves into the rotation. This is a prime example of how relief pitching is easier than starting. Career stats: about 7 K/9 as a starter, 11 K/9 as a reliever. And his fastball is about 2-3 mph faster as a reliever. Kind of a Juan Nicasio thing – mediocre starter who had trouble going past 5 innings as a Rockie, very good reliever as… Read more »

sdcarp
Admin
sdcarp
4 years ago
Reply to  Agbayani

Another great example is Phelps’s former teammate Adam Warren. Basically – same thing. Very decent RP. Has dabbled in SP several times (first with Yankees, then Cubs) with some limited success. But put him back in the Pen – and he once again becomes quite good. I’d argue we’re (beginning to) see the same thing with Jordan Lyles. For whatever reason(s) – the KISS principle works really well with some of these pitchers. Throw the FB. Rely on one secondary… Read more »

sdcarp
Admin
sdcarp
4 years ago

Question (honest answers only please):

Had I told you back in late March that the early August Rockies/Marlins series an Coors would have serious playoff implications for both teams, what would response have been?

Well…….had you asked me I would have laughed and said “yeah right.”

Agbayani
Agbayani
4 years ago

Marlins? Maybe, carp. Their PAT was a lot easier to dream up than the Rockies version. As for the starter-to-reliever to starter thing: our very own Drew Pomeranz is a fine example. Tony LaRussa used to do this with some frequency with the Cards. You’re right, Lyles is a guy who may really benefit from some time simplifying things in the pen. I still think there’s a Bettis-Chatwood type reader to emerge there. And as we’ve often said, Eddie Butler… Read more »

sdcarp
Admin
sdcarp
4 years ago
Reply to  Agbayani

Butler in the Pen is a no-brainer. I totally get the Rox putting him on the SPing path and leaving him on that path as long as possible. Until now, there’s been no downside to the team (since the team was going no where fast). But the rules are changing. The expectations are changing. The personnel is changing. Butler’s only real chance with the Rox is as a RP.

Agbayani
Agbayani
4 years ago

Is it too early to speculate on September call-ups? If the Rockies can just hover around .500 through August (and not to be a downer, but I think they fall back a little), there’s some help on the farm: – No-brainer callups: Tom Murphy (always useful to have a 3rd catcher for in-game moves), Miguel Castro, Ben Paulsen. – Guys I’d rather see than Ben Paulsen, or in addition to Ben Paulsen: Raimel Tapia. Already on the 40 man so… Read more »

sdcarp
Admin
sdcarp
4 years ago
Reply to  Agbayani

German Marquez.

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