Monday, August 23, 2010

Rox Talk - Week 20

The Week That Was
A 2-4 week against the Dodgers and D-Backs. The Rox currently stand at 63-60. Eleven games back from division leading San Diego in third place and seven games behind in the Wild Card chase. Currently 38-20 at home and 25-40 on the road, the Rox have outscored its opponents 566-534 (expected wins is 65 versus historical wins at 58). On pace for 83 wins with 745 runs scored and 703 runs against. Playoff indicator (Runs scored/Runs Against ratio) is 1.06 (>1.16 indicates high playoff potential).
Big changes afoot in the Rocky Mountains. Amazing to think that on July 11, the Rox found themselves two game out of first place in the West. Had they won that day they could have entered the All Star break tied for first. Unfortunately the Rox have suffered through a disappointing 14 - 21 stretch that has taken them from two out to eleven out and basically out of the playoffs. While the road trip from hell (gee heard that before) ended the hopes of the division title, there was still hope that Rox could squeak into the playoffs. Unfortunately I think with the latest trip and two losses to the basement dwellers D-Backs, I think at this point the Rox need to look to the future.

Interesting to wonder if the Rox age finally caught up with them? Hawpe, Helton, Giambi, Olivo, Barmes, and even Spilly are all over 30. It is rare that a player that can still tie em up and be consistent at this game when they hit that magic number of 30. I imagine the daily grind, the aches and pains can lead to performance issues as a player ages.

As a fan I am hugely disappointed by the 2010 season but perhaps this downturn could lead the way to a better 2011. Imagine had the Rox won the division, what would the management done? Probably took Hawpe's option, made an offer to Olivo, and took on Barmes for a few more years. With the current situation as it is, I think the outcome could be beneficial. This downturn allows management to justify ridding the team of older talent and heavy contracts. In 2011 young talent will get a shot and Rox won't have to take on any longer term contracts. A younger team could lead to a great 2011 (and 2009 and 2007, see a pattern?).

In the end moving on is always tough. Hate to see players move on when the team isn't performing because the assumption was that the player's moving on were the reason for the team's distress. But the fact remains that very few player's can be productive and so with the downturn we can effectively jettison these older player's without the need to add to payroll. Cruel but a small market's way of life. Rox can't afford to waste money. Graph below shows our aging veterans and their wOBA against the lead average. Would you sign any of these players long term?

75 Percent Done
With 120 games in the books that means the Rox are 75 percent of the way through the 2010 campaign. Graph below shows projections at the 3/4 mark compared to the other previous quarters. The solid graph is the average projections at the start of the season.

CarGo still having a monster year scoring a whole bunch of runs. Everyone else but Olivo is under expectations. Hawpe and Iannetta (granted they haven't played a lot of games) the Rox just aren't scoring runs. They are on pace to score 60 - 70 runs below expectations!

On the other hand the pitching has been pretty decent.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Rox Talk - Week 19

The Week That Was
A 3-3 week against the Mets and Brewers. The Rox currently stand at 61-56. Eight and half games back from division leading San Diego in third place and five games behind in the Wild Card chase. Currently 38-20 at home and 23-36 on the road, the Rox have outscored its opponents 558-517 (expected wins is 63 versus historical wins at 55). On pace for 84 wins with 773 runs scored and 716 runs against. Playoff indicator (Runs scored/Runs Against ratio) is 1.08 (>1.16 indicates high playoff potential).

On a week vacation with no computer, I have to admit that I was kind of glad to get away from the daily baseball grind. In my absence the Rox really didn't do anything spectacular and based on the figure above it was pretty much a give and take kind of week. Think I have to agree with Woody Paige on his article today in the Post although I don't think his reasoning that it went down this way because the Rox did nothing at the trade deadline holds a lot of water. Really there was nothing out there that would have solved the hair pulling frustration that is the Rox on the road. Why was it in '07 and '09 that the Rox could win 39 and 41 games respectively but in '08 and '10, the Rox could only squeeze 31 and 32 (projected) wins?

The chances for a Roxtober repeat at this stage are pretty slim. With the Giants, Cardinals, and Phillies all ahead of the Rox for the Wild Card and with San Diego's unbelievable pace not letting up, I think even a magical September run would be tough especially with road trips to LA (6 games), Arizona (6 games), San Fran (3 games), San Diego (3 games), and St Louis (4 games) remaining. Only Arizona has a losing record and we have a 5-4 record against them this year. With 45 games remaining even if we split the remaining road games (11-11), Rox would have to win 18 of the remaining 23 home games just to get to 90 wins and this is against division leading Atlanta (3 games), Los Angeles (6 games), division leading Cincinnati (4 games), Arizona (3 games), Philadelphia (1 game), division leading Padres (3 games), and Wild Card leading Giants (3 games). San Diego is projected to win 96 games while San Fran is projected at 91. Miracle runs have been made before but Rox would have to go 30 - 15 just to tie San Fran for the Wild Card and Rox schedule down the stretch is brutal. If trends go like they have then the even number years stink for the Rox and they play well in the odd years so here is to 2011!

Sixth Inning
With 108 games in the books, we have completed the 6th 18 game stretch. This stretch was ugly including the 2-9 road trip. Offensive numbers were skewed in that Rox scored 17 at home against the Cubs during one game. When Herrera is your clutch hitter for the stretch you have to know your offense didn't do a whole lot!

Monday, August 2, 2010

Rox Talk - Week 17

The Week That Was
A 4-3 week against the Pirates and Cubs. The Rox currently stand at 55-50. Seven games back from division leading San Diego in third place and five and half games behind in the Wild Card chase. Currently 35-19 at home and 20-31 on the road, the Rox have outscored its opponents 509-465 (expected wins is 57 versus historical wins at 49). On pace for 85 wins with 785 runs scored and 717 runs against. Playoff indicator (Runs scored/Runs Against ratio) is 1.09 (>1.16 indicates high playoff potential).

The hangover from the dismal road trip held its grip for the first two games at home this past week. Losing two to the road awful Pirates didn't help matters but Rox got healthy against the Cubs. Wacky series with the Cubs. On Friday night, the Rox scored 12 runs in the 8th, hitting 11 consecutive hits and turning a 5-2 nail biter to a 17-2 laugher. Then on Saturday after giving up the lead in the 8th, CarGo comes in and hits a monster shot in the right field upper deck (only 29th time it has happened) to lift the Rox to a win and becoming the 6th Rox to hit for a cycle (Note: Tulo did the same thing to the Cubs last year!). So with the trade deadline pass the Rox have two months to get it together and make a run. It won't be easy as the Rox sit 3rd in the division and are behind two other teams in the Wild Card.

Trade Deadline
Another deadline and the Rox management once again surveyed the market and decided that standing pat was the right thing to do? Kizla, which I must admit that I am frightened that I agree with him so much lately, finds that the Colorado baseball fans don't hold Rox management to the same set of standards as they do with the rest of the Colorado sports scene. While I agree that Rox could use some constructive criticism at times I do think they made the right decision not trading the farm for a rental player. While the rest of the division were making deals, Rox found themselves once again looking in the window wishing they could be part of the deal making. Ultimately though there just wasn't enough out there (really don't think Dunn was the answer) and with next years questions especially with Helton; created a situation where the Rox just couldn't deal.

Rumors had the Rox trying to deal Cook and Hawpe, two players who have become high priced old men. Baseball can be cruel game when your talents no longer match your salary which tends to happen when you reach your late 20s and talent has passed you by. Cook, Rox all time win leaders, is the second highest paid Rox and has only 4 wins. Of course the highest paid Rox is trying to find his legs in Cheyenne and with real doubts, the Rox couldn't release Hawpe, needing a younger 1B next year possibly.

As the graph of total bases shows above, the Rox really lag with big bats in the middle of the lineup (hmmm CarGo, Helton, Hawpe anyone?). It would have been nice to find something but I really don't think there was much out there. Rox offense at times has shown some real potential. Unfortunately a 2-9 road trip with an anemic offense is the counter to this argument. With that said what can we expect with 57 games remaining? Or will the apathy continue to reign in the Mile High baseball world?