Rockies Head Into All Star Break With Sweep

Colorado’s 11-3 rout of the Atlanta Braves completed a four-game sweep.  Chuck Nazty was the biggest contributor with two-out, two-run singles two  separate times in the second and the sixth.  Both hits were in left on left situations.  Tulo blasted a three-run shot two batters later after Blackmon’s go-ahead single to blow the game open.  Drew Stubbs added a two-run homer for a good measure to complete the rout.

Chad Bettis had that determined look and he bounced back with a quality start.  He was on cruise control through five innings.  In the sixth, he started spraying his pitches.  As a result, Atlanta scored three runs to tie the game 3-3.  Colorado responded immediately in the bottom of the inning with five runs.  Chris Rusin went two innings after Bettis and kept Atlanta at bay.  Bettis gave up six hits and five walks while Rusin  allowed two hits and a walk.  With an eight-run lead, it was the prefect opportunity for Rex Brothers to redeem himself in the last inning.  Brothers received a lot of help in his inning of work.  A laser line drive right at Stubbs.  Four-pitch walk. A couple of pitches that appeared out of the zone called strikes.  The batters also helped him out swinging at balls out of the zone.  So Brothers picked up a non-save if there was ever a stat for that.

This series sweep illustrated why pitching, pitching, and pitching is what the Rockies need the most.  Typically, July games at Coors, produces high scoring games.  Atlanta had three, three, two, and three runs in the four games.  That allows the offense to relax and do their Coors Field magic.  The offense is making the to-trade or not decisions more difficult with a little over two weeks left to deadline.

Tulo and CarGo needed almost three months to get into baseball game speed after missing the second half of last season.  It doesn’t work without help from elsewhere.  They are getting plenty of help elsewhere as of late.  Blackmon has 40 RBIs and 11 HRs out of the lead off spot to go with 23 SBs .  D.J. LeMahieu has emerged as a steady two-hole hitter after spending time hitting in front of a pitcher.  He is batting .311 with 35 RBIs and 10 SBs. Impressive when he spent the first couple of months hitting eighth. Nolan Arenado is having a breakout season.  Nick Hundley is having the best season of his career at the plate.  Now the Rockies added depth in the outfield when Stubbs came back from Albuquerque with his swing back.  That allows Brandon Barmes to return to his normal role as a fourth or fifth outfielder.  The days of Rafael Ynoa and Ben Paulsen playing left field are over.  Ben Paulsen and Baby Bull are providing just enough production at first base to make the lineup dangerous.  They are at their best when they are  in tight games or playing with a lead.  There’s no explanation as to why the offense shuts down when they fall three or more runs behind early in the game.

Again that goes back to the Rockies’ need for better pitching.  They have announced that Jorge De La Rosa and Bettis will be the first two starters after the break.  I’m guessing (and hoping) Chris Rusin slides into the #3 slot.  David Hale going on the DL may have been a blessing in disguise as it removes one Home Run Derby pitcher from the rotation.  If Jon Gray comes up as expected, he could slide into the #4 or #5 slot.  Those four pitchers should be trustworthy enough to keep the Rockies in the game and let the offense do their thing.  That would put Kyle Kendrick at the back of the rotation where he belongs where his job is to eat innings regardless of the score.

Now back to the “to-trade or not” question at deadline.  The entire infield is under cost control for the next three or so years.  And three of them have Gold Gloves.  Catchers are set with Hundley and McKenry next year with Tom Murphy a couple years away.  Outfield are also under cost control for another two or three years.  The exception is Drew Stubbs which we can easily afford to let him walk as Corey Dickerson, Charlie Blackmon, and CarGo set for the next two years.  Where does that leave the Rockies at trading deadline?  It makes sense that Baby Bull and anybody in the bullpen the best baits to get pitchers.  If we can get pitchers of the Shane Carle or Jairo Diaz quality we should be in pretty good shape.  As sdcarp and Agbayani says, bullpen can be replaced easily.  Colorado’s focus should be on the rotation.

Shall we presume that DLR, Bettis, and Gray be members of the rotation in 2016?  That leaves us with just two spots to fill in.  The top candidate would be Eddie Butler for the fourth slot.  Tyler Chatwood?  Rox make a trade with another team who has a failed experiment giving up Tyler Matzek much like we trade Ian Stewart and Casey Weathers for Tyler Colvin and D.J. LeMahieu.  We struck gold with DJLM so it’s worth mining for some gems that are struggling for other teams.

From listening to the recent interviews with Jeff Bridich, he is not going to blow up the team for the sake of blowing up to make the fans happy.  He understands Colorado needs pitching in a bad way to get out of the viscous losing cycle.  Unless we are blown away (like Holliday for Street & Gonzalez or Jennings for Taveras, Bucholz, Hirsh), the current team just might be place holders until new talent moves up the pipeline. Talent such as Raimel Tapia, David Dahl, Brendan Rodgers, Ryan McMahon, Mike Nikorak, Antonia Senzatela, Kyle Freeland, Tyler Nevin, and other names you will see appear in the new Purp 30 when it comes out.  Bottom line is Colorado doesn’t want to go the San Diego route where they gave away the farm and it has failed them big time even with the addition of James Shields.

It would behoove the management to wait out the year so Tulo and CarGo’s values can be maximized for the winter meetings.  I see Bob in WV coming to get me and make me write repeatedly, “I will not have faith in the Rockies next  year”.  Enjoy your break and the Rockies start the second half with a three-game series in San Diego.  Just one game separates those two teams in the basement.  The Rockies are also just 3.5 games back of Arizona, believe it or not.

On a side note, Trevor Story and Raimel Tapia played well in the Futures All Star Game played today.

 

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Bob in Indy
Bob in Indy
5 years ago

RMH, I always have faith in the Rockies. That’s why we can’t stop watching them. Every game I turn on hoping that this will be the game where the tide turns and the team blossoms into a winning franchise. I am neither optimistic or pessimistic about how the team will perform after the All-Star break. The sweep gives us optimism, but that is countered by the pessimism of knowing the historical trend of the Rox to perform poorly after the… Read more »

Bob in Indy
Bob in Indy
5 years ago

I have a new peeve with the Rockies. Somebody needs to do something about that tall, bearded clown in the left field bleachers that has been catching home runs for years. It’s fine when a ball is hit at him, no problem with that. But did any of you notice on the Stubbs homer he ran about a section over and reached over the shoulders of guys waiting to try and catch it? He clearly took away a souvenir from… Read more »

lwesche
lwesche
5 years ago
Reply to  Bob in Indy

Oh man!! I thought I the only one who noticed that!!! I pay particular attention because I remember the guy from spring training in Tucson (haven’t seen him in Scottsdale but that doesn’t mean anything) That is all I am going to say about that! Get myself in trouble! But yes, classless!!

sdcarp
sdcarp
5 years ago

Mark it down now – I rotation fronted by JDLR, Chettis, and Gray will set us up for the worst record in baseball in 2016.

DonnyDinger
Admin
DonnyDinger
5 years ago
Reply to  sdcarp

Well, there is no alternative to calling up Gray. He’s in the rotation, hell or high water. Bettis is under control and isn’t going anywhere. As RMH points out, DLR and Bettis are both over .600 in game outcomes (not decisions, but team results on days they start.) That doesn’t translate to .600 baseball, but it is a start. DLR has one more contract year and may be dangled as bait, but the Bridich comments were telling: “He’s pitched to… Read more »

sdcarp
sdcarp
5 years ago
Reply to  DonnyDinger

DD – I think your “8 guys between the mothership and farm ready to go” rule of thumb is correct for 29 MLB Clubs. For the Rox, it may be more like 10-12. I hate using the elevation excuse – but it’s legitimate to say “fragile egos need not apply” and we can expect a few more “mental health” breaks for our pitchers than other Clubs. There’s nothing wrong with that as long as we plan for it (which seems… Read more »

sdcarp
sdcarp
5 years ago

For the record, my plan is diametrically opposed to SD’s. I’m proposing building the Farm via trading aging veterans. SD attempted just the opposite. Devils advocate – let’s say Mark Wiley and crew get the ship turned around and we start seeing some real, positive, tangible results at the big league level (I hope you’re correct!) in three years (BTW – that’s a realistic timeline). What happens between now and then? We slog along and win somewhere between 65-80 games… Read more »

Pooter
Pooter
5 years ago

What if the Rockies win the next 23 games in a row?

sdcarp
sdcarp
5 years ago

Checking in on DJ LeMahieu: 98 hits through 88 Rockies games (DJ has played in 84 of those 88). Works out be 180 hit pace. DJ’s previous best was 132 hits last year. DJ had a mild 2-3 week slump in mid/late June, but seems to have righted the ship the last 2 weeks. This will be fun to watch as the season progresses. Last year Howie Kendrick’s 181 hits ranked him #4 among all 2nd basemen. Chase Utley was… Read more »

sdcarp
sdcarp
5 years ago

More fun stuff – Brendan Rodgers had 5 hits yesterday.

Yankees prospect Greg Bird (2014 Arizona Fall League MVP) is emerging as a real star at AAA. Power hitting all-around 1st baseman. I think he could be had in a Tulo deal. Aaron Judge could be as well……but not both.

RocketMan
RocketMan
5 years ago

The AS broadcast team didn’t seem as enthusiastic on the viability of a Tulo trade during their remarks during his AB last night. I interpreted them as saying “it’s too late and he’s been hurt too much” to see much value. Maybe the already age-impaired Yankees aren’t going to be buyers of one more high contract older player in the waning years of a career….

sdcarp
sdcarp
5 years ago
Reply to  RocketMan

I think Brian Cashman has learned his “age” lesson (I think your “age impaired” description of the Yankees is perfect). But…….the AL East is mostly wide open and the Yankees really have as much of a chance as anyone else in that division this year. Sometimes I think Cashman gets trumped by the Sons of Steinbrenner, and that could happen again this year. The Yankees need pitching – so I don’t think they’ll give up pitching to get Tulo (or… Read more »

Julian
Julian
5 years ago

Trade thoughts: CarGo: Trade him while he is healthy, and unload all of the large salary. Hopefully get one good pitching prospect for him. Tulo: Listen to what other teams offer. Hopefully unload all of the large salary. I think that the fielding range is less than it once was, and we have other SSs to take over, although none will be as good as Tulo. I would think that he would be best served by ending his career in… Read more »

sdcarp
sdcarp
5 years ago

One of my favorite articles every year. FanGraphs Trade Values. So far no Rockies – but Arenado is coming. I’m calling top 10.

Trade value – #41-50:
http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/2015-trade-value-50-41/

Trade value – #31-40:
http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/2015-trade-value-40-to-31/

Trade value – #21-30:
http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/2015-trade-value-30-to-21/

sdcarp
sdcarp
5 years ago

Things that make you go hmmmmmmm………Jon Morosi (FOX) is reporting Mariners are close to trading for a Catcher.

DonnyDinger
Admin
DonnyDinger
5 years ago
Reply to  sdcarp

Yes, their Wilin-like experiment, Jesus Montero, has finally concluded with moving him to 1B. They need a backup to Zunino.

jaredean
Admin
jaredean
5 years ago

This has got to be one of the best articles I’ve read in my life (sorry RWO staff):

http://www.sbnation.com/mlb/2015/7/15/8968433/2015-all-star-game-ratings

DonnyDinger
Admin
DonnyDinger
5 years ago
Reply to  jaredean

The game that coined the phrase “light tower power.”

Bob in Indy
Bob in Indy
5 years ago
Reply to  jaredean

I agree completely, Jaredean. Never before have I been so disappointed to find myself at the end of an article. What a lot of memories that brings back. Give that guy a Pulitzer or Espy or something!

sdcarp
Admin
sdcarp
5 years ago

Nolan Arenado #14 in trade value:

http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/2015-trade-value-20-11/

I’m surprised he’s not top 10. Tomorrow they will unveil the top 10.

sdcarp
Admin
sdcarp
5 years ago

Keith Law giving the Rox some love with 4 prospects in his top 50:

http://www.purplerow.com/2015/7/16/8978833/keith-law-mlb-prospects-top-50-colorado-rockies-brendan-rodgers

Brendan Rodgers already #9 overall. David Dahl #5 Rox prospect just out of his top 50.

sdcarp
sdcarp
5 years ago
Reply to  sdcarp

Little follow-up to this – I’m no longer an ESPN “Insider” so I can’t read the entire article, but I’ve seen several Twitter links via other teams today. Random thoughts: Yankee’s Aaron Judge is up to #13. I think we’ll be very happy that we took Rodgers over Dillon Tate and Tyler Jay. The strength of our Farm System continues to escalate, but it’s almost totally based on offense. Law has Gray down in the 40’s now (the lowest he’s… Read more »

sdcarp
Admin
sdcarp
5 years ago
Reply to  sdcarp

A little more credit to the Rockies Front Office (lord knows I criticize them enough) – there are still a solid half-dozen unsigned high draft picks as the signing deadline nears – with a couple of significant non-signings (including Dodger’s pick Kyle Funkhouser). Meanwhile – all Rockies picks have been signed, sealed, and delivered for a while and Brendan Rodgers already has 36 AB’s. Tyler Nevin has 59 ABs. This may seem trivial……but I think in the big scheme of… Read more »

sdcarp
Admin
sdcarp
5 years ago

Good morning RWOers! The 2nd half of the season begins tonight. First three series are SD (away), Texas (home), Reds (home). We went into the break playing well. This schedule really lends itself to continuing that streak and getting the 2nd half off to a good start. I’m feeling a 7-2 re-start.

sdcarp
Admin
sdcarp
5 years ago

What the hell…….are we seeing a sdcarp/RMH role reversal. I’m (mostly) brimming with positive stuff the last couple of days and here you come – Mr. Positive – and go 3-6 on me. Your just trying to play the reverse/child psychology card aren’t you RMH?????

sdcarp
Admin
sdcarp
5 years ago

The final installment of FanGraph’s yearly Trade Value series is out:

http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/2015-trade-value-the-top-10/

Only one Rockie (Arenado) in the top 50 (at #14).

sdcarp
Admin
sdcarp
5 years ago

“As for Arenado, it will be one-two years before arbitration years end and get something good in return.”

This quote explains exactly why he’s more valuable now than two years from now. Each year he gets closer to the “Boras Apocalypse,” the less valuable he will become. His value is at it’s zenith right now.

sdcarp
sdcarp
5 years ago

No. Because they’ll be on the verge of having to pay him. That will cost a prospect.

Bob K.
Bob K.
5 years ago

Arenado is a Super 2 and will be arbitration eligible after this season. As a Super 2 he will be arbitration eligible for four years instead of the normal three years. It is my opinion that Nolan Arenado is playing his last cheap year for the Rockies. If he wins a third Gold Glove this year, he is likely to get the biggest first year arbitration raise in Rockies history. Of course there is always the outside possibility that the… Read more »

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