Thursday, December 19, 2013

The Sandman

Mariano Rivera retired in 2013.  Never appeared in a game against Pittsburgh.  Go figure.  Of the 655 appearances, 492 of them were for three outs.  Playoffs were a different story.  Every generation sees a legend, a true, no doubt hall of famer.  The Sandman was one of them.

Monday, April 1, 2013

Box Score Bytes - Game 1

- Todd Helton started his 16th straight opening day.  Will be strange when he probably won't be there next year...

- Saw this quote from Weiss, ''This is a job that I'm going to have to figure out on the fly.''  Umm that really doesn't give me a whole lot of warm fuzzes...

- Rox were 193-168 when both CarGo and Tulo play.  After today 193-169

- CarGo launched his 100th homer.

- Rox are now 11-10 in openers and 7-7 on the road.

- Well if anything we can consider a nice start by Chacin.  Rox scored some runs but did leave 7 RISP.

- Always find it interesting how the big free agent deal over the winner, and the Rox really only had one, and they are one of the reasons for the team's loss.  Lopez didn't provide that middle shut down relief today.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Rox Talk - 2012 Bed Rox Prediction Review

My incredibly optimistic view of the 2012 preseason with my 10 predictions!  Hope usually springs eternal...but...Yikes!

10)  This one is easy...Rox will score the most runs in the National League this year.  The baseball talking heads will call it the return of Nintendo Ball and dismiss the humidor.  Stats will simply say the offensive prowness has returned to pre-steroid days and that Coors is just a good place to hit.

Rox finished 3rd in the NL this year behind the Brewers and Cardinals with 758 runs scored.  If Tulo had been healthy I am sure we would have scored 18 more runs and topped the Brewers.

9)  The Tulo/Scutaro combo will be the best double play tandem in MLB.

Well before the disabled list and Scutaro being traded to the Giants the great combo played all of 37 games with each other.

8)  Buoyed by early season run support the Rox young pitchers will gain some confidence and pitch satisfactory throughout the year keeping the team in Wild Card contention.

Boy was I wildly optimistic.  In fact the complete opposite happened as the veterans got rocked and no one over gained any traction.

7)  Nicasio, our number 3 starter, will lead the team in wins through the All Star break (Chacin and Gutherie will pitch well but our offense will struggle with team's better pitchers and tee off on the lower half of opposing team's staffs).

Nicasio was 2-1 before exiting with a knee injury that ended his season on June 2.  Friedrich actually led the team with 4 wins before the All Star break.

6)  Casey Blake will be a liability at the plate from Day One.  He will play a decent third base but will find himself released by May.

Actually never it made it to the opening day roster.  Was released before Opening Day.  Third base was a work in progress all year between Pacheco and Nelson.

5)  Helton won't play in more than 100 games this year but will collect 100 hits.

Played in only 69 games and collected 57 hits.

4)  Betancourt will struggle at some point during the season and Brothers will save at least 10 games this year.

Betancourt was fairly consistent throughout the year.  Brothers struggled out of the gate and recorded no saves.  Belisle actually stepped in and got 3 for the team.

3)  Pomenranz will garner some rookie of the year consideration as he will win 10 games.

Oops...pitched in 22 games finished with a 2-9 record and was dismal all year.

2)  Tulo will finish in the Top 3 for MVP considerations.  He will lead the league with 40 homers and 125 RBIs.  He will finish with the Top WAR in the National League.

Collected 8 home runs and 27 RBIs in 47 games played.  

1)  Rox will sneak into the playoffs with 85 wins.

Did I really think this was possible?  I mean there was a second wild card but yikes I must have really been sipping the Rox Kool Aid all Winter!

Monday, November 12, 2012

Rox Talk - Welcome Walt

The Rox welcomed their 6th major league manager last week, naming Walt Weiss as theri new manager.  He is now the unlucky winner of managing a team with a pseudo general manager in an office next to you and a pitching staff in search of.  As previously mentioned I don't wish this job on anyone.  With front office in disarray, a team beseeched with unknowns, and no clear path forward, the soul who takes on this journey must be glutton for punishment

What will make next year especially tough on me is Walt Weiss is one of those ballplayers I love.  Decent glove, a grinder, no flash, just a love for the game.  He was Rox pre-Scutaro back in 1994.    If the team was just missing a spark, I would think this hiring would be great.  Unfortunately this is such a reclamation project I find it difficult to think even the tough as nails Weiss making it work.  Throw in that he has a one year contract and this all suggests that the Organization continues to run this baseball team unlike any other in major league.

In some respects Rox were hoping that lightening might strike again following the league in hiring Weiss much like the White Sox did with Ventura and the Cardinals with Matheny and hoping that such a move might make the team competitive.  And in the usual Rox move they don't go with a proven commodity with some big league experience in a front office (i.e. scouting) but just figure that making the transition from High School coaching to the Bigs should be as easy as crawling to riding a bike.

Maybe it will work, maybe one day they will tell us "told you so" but this unlikely candidate is just more timber for the fire.  In one respect it might be good for stability that the Rox have only had 5 managers in their 20 seasons (compared to 13 with our brethren expansion team, the Marlins).  The opposite is that results were expected in Florida and they have two titles to show for their 13 managers and we have one World Series trip.  In the end I hope this all works out for Weiss.  In addition to the unknown he really has no expectations.  Starting next Spring, I think most pundits will simply give the Rox an over/under of 75 games.  With the division foes all with strength, Rox might have the potential to surprise someone but playoffs are most likely out of the question until pitching stabilizes.  It will be interesting to see who Weiss brings into these coaching roles.  Giambi is probably a favorite for the hitting coach but I'd prefer Bichette.  For pitching focus I'd like to see Ritz or Astacio.  Two starters who survived the experience and pitched to keep the Rox team in games while playing in Denver.  With Weiss I'd really like to see the days of the Blake Street Bombers II, with Tulo, CarGo, Cuddyer, and Rosario bashing our way to victory and making teams scared of Coors Field again.

Wrapping this up I think Weiss will bring some perspective.  Having played in the ballpark and understanding its effects on players there might be something there.  Throw in that Weiss played for two of the greatest managers of the late 20th century and early 21st century in LaRussa and Cox and maybe that mix might make an interesting coaching offspring.  Next year with the unusual schedule and interleague throughout the season might help the Rox.  Throw in some healthy players which should benefit Weiss.  Now will the players listen and play for him?

Monday, November 5, 2012

Rox Talk - Hot Stove In Full Effect

Having watched the Rox for 20 years, this past season was the first one that I actually gave up on.  I had no connection with this team.  At no time did I feel this organization was really giving 100% to put out a product worth my time and effort.  This pains me greatly.  I love this team.  I love Coors Field.  I love baseball, but for once my fun factor for the game was just sucked out of me.  The joy was gone.   Even now I struggle to even bother caring for this off season.  Management, with its head stuck in the mud, still thinks they are only a player away from making a run.  I have always tried to be optimistic but with $81 million last year they couldn't get it done.  In addition they were only 2 losses away from 100!  With the season now over, the owners are attempting to spin things again for 2013.  The following are the ten reasons or whines or really (#$%#) whys that this team will once again underachieve and finish last in the Division (and the current reasons why I most likely will not renew my season tickets):

10)  OK first off.  2013 and twenty year anniversary?  Ummm, hate to break it to you but last year was the 20th playing season.  2013 will be the 21st season and while Rox started playing in 1993...20 years was actually last year.  Just another notch highlighting the cluelessness of the Organization.

9) NL West isn't getting easier.  Giants pitching, after winning their second world title in three seasons, are back.  Dodgers will simply win because of their payroll.  D-Backs have a good core.  Padres are young and growing.  Rox are clueless and still have no pitching, see 3) and 1) below.

8)  Managers in the NL West:  Bochy (impressive), Mattingly (gutsy), Gibson (legend), Padres (yeah whoever), and Rox?  Really the best you can do is to trot out a guy who was part of the problem the last few years in Giambi.  Don't get me wrong, I love the guy as a player, but we need someone with a backbone.  Weiss is a nice person but again has ties with the organization that got us here.  Plus he is too nice, I wouldn't  wish this job on anyone right now.

7)  Retirement.  Helton please just retire.  I know you love the game.  You want to fulfill your contract.  You are great player.  I love you, but come on, you're killing us.  Look at the best first baseman in the league and they are home run power guys.  Rox need to return to the Blake Street Bombers days and this isn't going to happen  with a broken down 39 year old.  

6)  Rox let Roenicke get away?  OK maybe this is a wash.  Sure he had a breakout year.  Next year he will probably return to the mean but this guy suffered through the piggyback system.  Made the 4 man rotation at least viable for half the season.  To just let him get away by putting him on waivers tells me someone was doing their homework.  In a real Organization you would have seen value and tried to trade him for something instead of just letting them get stolen.

5) PR grumblings.  Frankly this team has never recovered from the World Series ticket snafu in 2007.  For whatever reason the Organization has taken a very "personal" view of outside media.  Organization needs to be more open and honest with itself.  People put a lot of their money into the Organization.  It isn't charity, we expect something in return.  I don't need playoff teams year in and year out but I do demand accountability and effort from not only the team on the field but the Organization itself.

4)  Stop taking Coors Field for granted.  One of these days people are going to put their hard earned cash somewhere else.  Don't think that another 68 win season won't get you closer to being irrelevant in the minds of Colorado residents.  We love baseball but we need something to root for...I liked to think we haven't become jaded like Cub fans.

3) Who are we?  What exactly is this Organization trying to put out on the field.  Fans have suffered through 14 years of O'Dowd tinkering with baseball at altitude.  Are we a low or mid market team?  Are we an offensive juggernaut or a ground ball desiring pitching staff.  Do we build from within or do we test the free agent market.  My problem is that you can't be everything.  Rox need to find their niche and stick to it.  The Cuddyer signing is my example.  Why bring in a guy similar to Seth Smith and pay big dollars when you could have just stayed with what you had.  Were you trying to make a splash?  Another example?  Last year at FanFest O'Dowd had the audacity to tell fans that last's year decision to go with fly ball pitchers had validity because of the "type" of fly ball pitcher these guys were.  Give you a hint Dan-O flyballs in places like Baltimore and Oakland become home runs at Coors!

2)  Trade Tulo.  Why not?  Get prospects, build for the future.  With our pitching this team is nowhere close to winning.  Tulo is entering that magic year (27-28 year old).  Why hang on to him and end up with another Helton.  Let him go to NY and become the next Jeter.

1)  Pitching Woes.  20 years of major league baseball and can we please just admit pitching at altitude sucks (and move on)?  The problem I have with this pitching thing is now it has become an excuse.  Bad season, objectives not meant, well it's the pitching.  Not enough snow this year, blame pitching.  Coors Light not tasting up to snuff, blame pitching.  Who wouldn't love to have an excuse year in and out.  68 wins, blame pitching.  Watch enough baseball to know that to win you have to have pitching.  Can't deny Rox greatest year was when they had competitive pitches.  Just look at the offense but great pitching and two World Series rings in the last 3 years.  Let's move beyond the excuse and just move on.  Denver Bears were successful.  Find the right kind of pitcher through the draft or off the scrap heap and they will appreciate being in the Bigs and getting the opportunity.  Accepting that you have a problem and moving beyond it is the first step, please Rox Organization just excise it from your excuse book.  

Monday, October 1, 2012

Rox Talk - Week 26

Week 26
A 4-3 week against the D-Backs, Cubs, and Dodgers. The Rox currently stand at 62-97 (second half record at 29-45). Thirty-one games behind the Giants for the division lead in last place. Currently 35-46 at home and 27-51 on the road, the Rox have been outscored by its opponents 879-746 (expected wins is 68 versus historical wins at 76). On pace for 63 wins with 760 runs scored and 896 runs against. Playoff indicator (Runs Scored/Runs Against ratio) is 0.85 (1.16 indicates high playoff potential).

Monday, September 24, 2012

Rox Talk - Week 25

Week 25
A 0-7 week against the Padres and D-Backs. The Rox currently stand at 58-94 (second half record at 25-42). Thirty and half games behind the Giants for the division lead in last place. Currently 31-46 at home and 27-48 on the road, the Rox have been outscored by its opponents 849-718 (expected wins is 64 versus historical wins at 73). On pace for 62 wins with 765 runs scored and 905 runs against. Playoff indicator (Runs Scored/Runs Against ratio) is 0.85 (1.16 indicates high playoff potential).

Rookie of the Year
With the season finally coming to an end (thankfully), Rox need to look back on their dismal season and at least take away some positives.  The biggest has to be the bat of Wilin Rosario (let's forget the defense for now).  With 26 homers (through Sunday), he leads the rookie field.  Unfortunately Rosario has no chance of gaining Rookie of the Year honors due to the presence of a strong East Coast candidate in Bryce Harper.  Plus even if Rosario didn't play in the media black hole of Colorado his 20 passed balls would probably preclude him from any honors.  Either way with Rosario's power and a healthy CarGo, Tulo, and Cuddyer, who knows maybe we will have Blake Street Bombers Part II.  Here are Rosario's stats compared to past offense ROY winners:

My guess is that he will finish in 4 or 5th place.  But hey Helton and Tulo both finished 2nd so who really cares...