ROX PONDER ANDERSON, GRAY RETURNS; IN LA FOR 3 V DIVISION LEADERS
More props this week to our trusted leader, Professor RMH, for covering while a few vacation days were taken in that most pleasant burgh on the Treasure Coast of Florida, the city of Vero Beach, home of the Ancients (better known to me as Mom and Dad), and former Spring Training home of current state of Colorado Public Enemy No. 1, the Los Angeles Dodgers. As a matter of fact, some 37 years ago I unknowingly had a brief conversation in the lobby of Mom and Dad’s building with some guy on the subject of whether the day’s exhibition game, when the Dodgers were set to host the Detroit Tigers and a guy named Mark Fidrych (God rest his soul) making one last try at a return to glory, would be played, considering the downpour that was at that moment swamping the adjacent porte cochere. The contest did go on, and what do you know but that guy in the lobby was in attendance along with me and my grad-school buddies, except he was on the field, wearing number 32. Yeah, that no. 32. Name of Koufax.
I had a delightful stay, including a nourishing helping of the Steak Tidbits at Bobby’s on the beach, the excellent watering hole favored by the Dodgers during their 60 years in the sleepy little city, largely cut-off from the exploits of the Colorado Rockies, except for a few minutes of gloat-time checking the morning scores until the dire Wednesday and Thursday news from the Rocky Mountains came over the wires. Seems the local nine has run upon a bit of a speed bump in its quest to contend in 2017. After the heroics of Nolan Arenado lifted Colorado to a 4-3 win over the Arizona Diamondbacks on Tuesday evening, extending a win streak to six, rookies Jeff Hoffman and Antonio Senzatela had back-to-back early-inning implosions, coughing up 9 each to the Dbacks in 16-5 and 10-3 losses which dropped the Rockies into 3rd place in the NL West, a game and a half off the 1st place Dodgers and percentage points behind Arizona.
Redemption doesn’t look to be easy as Colorado faces the Dodgers for 3 at Chavez Ravine this weekend, starting tonight at 8:10 MT when lefty Kyle Freeland (8-4, 3.42) faces fellow lefty Alex Wood (7-0, 1.90) of Los Angeles. With Tyler Anderson rejoining the club Thursday in a 9th inning cameo, and right-hander Jon Gray ready-to-go for all intents and purposes, there’s big intrigue surrounding the Rockies starting pitcher rotation. The hold-your-breath rotation that’s featured 4 rookies for the better part of a month is showing signs of wear even as the front-end of the bullpen continues to struggle, and our personal experts, the venerable Agbayani and sdcarp, expect at least one of the rookies to replace the hapless Jordan Lyles in the ‘pen with another getting an all expenses paid trip to Albuquerque, New Mexico for a bit of fine-tuning and education. Rockies’ manager Bud Black has been coy about the actual plan, and Anderson’s mop-up stint yesterday complicates the speculation, but there’s no doubt something’s about to give, and I guess we’ll know about it by Monday when the weekend’s results are tallied and the team kicks off a 3-game set in San Francisco before heading to Phoenix to wind up a stretch of 16 straight Division matchups.
Freeland has been Colorado’s most consistent, if not spectacular, member of the kiddie-corps, and he’ll be followed to the hill by Tyler Chatwood, who gets the pleasure of opposing the legendary Clayton Kershaw on Saturday, and German Marquez, another rookie on the edge, goes at Brandon McCarthy Sunday afternoon. DJ LeMahieu, Arenado, Trevor Story, and Raimel Tapia have been the hot hitters for the Colorado offense of late, LeMahieu poking his average above .300 for the first time in awhile in defense of his 2016 batting title. Charlie Blackmon meanwhile continues to lead the charge, now at 98 hits, 56 RBI, and 16 home runs to go with a .328 BA.
No speculation here on the matchups for San Francisco, but I’ll be back with all the good gossip Monday afternoon.