Thursday, May 31, 2012

Box Score Bytes - Game 49

- The Jamie Moyer experiment is over.  Rox designated him for assignment yesterday.  He is given 10 days for teams to make an offer otherwise Rox will release him.  While it certainly was a nice story for Moyer and the Rox. it is a shame the Rox season up to this point was such that Moyer is almost the fall guy in all of this.  Realistically he was never suppose to be our number 1 or 2 starter but because of our young staff and injuries Moyer was thrusted into a role which was unsuited to why the Rox signed him in the first place.  I thank Moyer for his professionalism and his high sanitary socks.  Good luck.  Anyone want to take bets that he goes to a NL team and gets a victory against our Rox?

- Back to the game, Houston out-hit the Rox, 15-14, but lost by 8 runs. 

- Since Coors Field opened in 1995, there have been 17 three-HR games there, 15 in Wrigley Field, 14 in Rangers Ballpark and in Cincinnati’s parks, and an average of 5 in all the other parks.

- CarGo has been on a tear going 10 for 16 with five home runs, seven RBIs and six runs scored in his past four games. He has 13 homers on the season.

- Cuddyer collected his second grand slam this season.

- All in all the offense seems to be clicking now if we could get some mound consistency Rox could make something happen.  At 20-29, the Rox runs scored/runs allowed would suggest that they are really a 23-26 team.  Perhaps Rox will have a luckier June!

Monday, May 28, 2012

Box Score Bytes - Game 47 and 48

- A rare planned double header.  Astros first since 2006.

- Pacheco has made himself the Rox starting third baseman.  With a 11 game hitting streak with his return to the majors and game winning RBI in Game 1 I imagine Tracy will be penciling him into the lineup fairly regularly.  He is still a little raw in the field but hitting can make up for errors (?)

- Ancient history but these same two teams played one other doubleheader, a sweep by Colorado on Set. 14, 1993, at Mile High Stadium in Denver.

- Coors Field special with this score line (Astros score, Rox respond, Astros score some more, Rox keep at it):

- For whatever reason I still go back to triples and Coors.  I have seen more triples hit in the gap between left and center this year then I can remember.  Today there were two more in the first inning, hit almost in the same spot. I wonder if baseball would allow a 4th outfielder for Coors with a discontinuation of the humidor?  Coors is only 6th in park factors when it comes to triples with Petco, Oakland, Target, Marlins, and Miller field yielding more triples per game

- After 400 minutes of baseball yesterday at Coors, Rox came away with two wins.  First time that I have sat through 18 innings of baseball.  Wasn't for the faint of heart.  Really this year as felt like a time machine back to the Blake Street Bombers.

- Not for sure if this is meaningful but the average number of pitches thrown from our relievers this year is about  60 pitches.

Total Pitches
2011 60
2010 51
2009 49
2008 48
2007 54

- According to Baseball Reference's Batting Game Score, Dex had the second best score of the day with his 4 AB, 3 runs, 4 hits (HR, 3B), 3 RBI day.  Of course 3 of the Top 10 were a COL/HOU game and 2 of the Bottom 10 were also a COL/HOU game, go figure.

- Props to Dex.  He has my wrath a disproportional amount of my time but he is so crucial to this team's ability to score runs. Fowler, who went 7 for 9 and reached base nine times,  in his return to the top of the batting order, allowed Rox to score 16 times in two games.

- And finally a confusing play in the fourth when Colvin seemingly hit into a double play only to be called safe.  Colvin was then given first base due to catcher's interference.  Second time this year that has happened.  Very unusual...

Rox Talk - Week 8

The Week That Was
A 2-4 week against the Marlins and Reds. The Rox currently stand at 17-29.  Fourteen and half games behind the Dodgers for the division lead in last place. Currently 9-14 at home and 8-15 on the road, the Rox have been outscored by its opponents 223-256 (expected wins is 21 versus historical wins at 22). On pace for 60 wins with 753 runs scored and 864 runs against. Playoff indicator (Runs Scored/Runs Against ratio) is 0.87 (1.16 indicates high playoff potential).

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Box Score Bytes - Game 46

- You know things aren't going well for your team when 1) you hit 5 home runs in a game and lose and 2) your opponent loses complete grip on the bat and the ball still goes over the fence!

- 9 home runs sets a record at Great American Ballpark for most homers...

- Rox get only five hits in a game, all them homers, and Latos becomes first pitcher ever to give up 5 homers and still win

- CarGo had his third two-homer game of the season and the seventh of his career

- Moyer allowed 4 HR against Reds. 3rd time in his career that he's allowed at least 4 HR in a game. The other 2 instances were in 2004 against the Yankees (4) and 2006 against the Red Sox (5)

- Pacheco's 11 game hit streak ended

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Box Score Bytes - Game 45

- Rox can't seemingly get any momentum.  They get some wins then lose ugly again.  Of course starting pitching has a say in that and with the continued inconsistency we just shouldn't expect any long term anything.

- Baker was quoted as saying, "(Colorado) can hit. You've got to outscore them, and that's what we did. It was nice to see some balls leaving the ballpark."  Yes and if we only had some pitching we might actually win more!

- Pacheco extended his career-high hitting streak to 11 games (16 for 44, .364)

- Rox hit into 3 double plays.  Tulo hit into his 7th of the year!

- Another error leads to a big inning and the Rox get scrunched.

- How much longer will we see Rogers as a Rox?  Guy has a 8.18 ERA!

Friday, May 25, 2012

Box Score Bytes - Game 44

- Over his last 10 games, Todd Helton is 7 for 37 (.189) with 2 RBI and 8 strikeouts.  So what does he do tonight?  Hits his 5th homer to get the Rox going.  Read on twitter that he is within three bases of Mickey Mantle for most career total bases...Wow

- That was a great solid win.  Amazing for whatever reason the team can put together a solid win on the road and yet at home find nothing..

- Every Rox starter has a hit!  Tracy threw out an interesting lineup tonight.  With EY Jr leading off.  Moving Scutaro to the 2nd spot.  Thought the Denver Post had a throw away article about Scutaro poor leading off.  I thought everyone knew he wasn't a natural lead off kind of guy and that once again Dex is messing with the lineup due to his poor performance.  Interesting to see if Tracy keeps with the lineup.

- Rox win in black again.  But overall Rox are only 5-15 in their last 20 games.  Wear more black!

- Welcome Wil Nieves

Rox - Superheroes

Manager of the Rays, Joe Maddon, is having one of the all time great mangerial stunts.  Whether it is his coaching or just the team he has been given, he continues to make things interesting not only on the field but off the field.  Recently he put out his lineup giving superhero nicknames to his players.  Here is my take on the Rox:

Todd Helton - Iron Man
Tulo - Mr. Fantastic
CarGo - Hulk
EY Jr - Flash
Cuddyer - Thor
Scutaro - Ant Man
Dex - Speedball
Pacheco - Hank Pym

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Box Score Bytes - Game 43

- Rox Win, Rox Win!!!

- White earns his first win of the year.  Amazing what you can do by only allowing one walk.  Right-handed hitters were batting .150 against him while left-handed hitters were batting .326.

- Fortunately this wasn't a sweep in Florida for us.  Last sweep was Aug. 27-29, 2004.

- While this is only one game, Colorado starting pitchers had posted an 8.04 ERA during the six-game losing streak.

- Tulo appears to be finally waking up.  Went 4-12 but scored 4 runs, hit two homers, and collected 7 RBIs.

- Rox beat the slump by wearing black uniforms.  Hey maybe they will go on a tear and Rox will be back in black (black sleeveless uniforms do have secret powers...).

- Nice bullpen action tonight.  A complete game on the mound tonight.

- 15th triple tonight tied with Milwaukee and St Louis for the lead.

Rox Talk Extra - The Draft

Last Wednesday afternoon I spent some time on the road. I was somewhat pleasantly surprised that the major talking point for the local sport talk radio shows were some of the crazy comments made by our Owner. I think if you have been reading my thoughts you had a pretty good idea of where I stand when it comes to Management. Anyway the Owner's talking points didn't quiet any of my fears that this team is being poorly run.  But that is besides the point.  

On the Drew and Scott show (104.3 the Fan), Scott kept bringing up the point that 300 pitchers have been drafted by the Rox since 1999, O'Dowd's first year, and that only 5 of these pitchers made it to the majors.  I thought these numbers were ballparked but wanted to see how close to the truth they really were.  First off baseball reference is a fabulous place to start. They list every player drafted and so it was easy enough to grab the names and start looking a little deeper.   On the first pass the Rox from 1999 - 2011 have drafted 340 pitchers in 13 drafts.  First I removed the 2010 and 2011 drafts from consideration as these players haven't been considered to be MLB ready.  This dropped our count to 303 players but then this number is everyone the Rox drafted regardless of whether they signed or didn't.  Out of the these 303 players we see the likes of Matt Garza and Micah Owings.  Players drafted but did not sign with the Rox and then re-entered the drafts to be picked up by someone else.  So if you restack the data taking out players who were originally drafted but then redrafted the actual number of pitchers "picked" up and thrown into the minors is 263 pitchers (see table below).  Although I really don't have a true feel for how many of these pitchers actually put on a Rox minor league uniform of some sort.  Many of these players might never have thrown a pitch so this number could be theoretically even lower.  But since I don't have this data I will simply assume the Rox fielded these 263 pitchers.  Of these, 23 made it to the majors in some capacity (8.7%).  Note, some of these were traded and never actually threw a pitch for the Rox.  Of the 23, 17 threw a pitch for the Rox (Jennings, Francis, Reynolds, Hampson, Mattheus, Brothers, Miller, Clarke, Friedrich, Dohmann, Esposito, House, Register, Huisman, Billings, Newman, and Reynolds).  So 6% of  pitchers drafted in 11 years made it to the Bigs and contributed to the Rox.  These 17 contributed 157 wins.  Rox won 841 games from '99 - '09 so those drafted contributed to helping win 19% of the games.


For comparison purposes what did other teams do in those 11 drafts ('99 - '11)?  In all 7,017 pitchers (give or take a few) were drafted.  755 of these pitchers reached the Bigs (10.8%).  9,297 wins were collected by these draftees.  Of these 755 the top 100 winners collected 59% of the total wins. The Top 20 winners are listed below followed by their overall pick number.  

Player Wins Overall Pick
Barry Zito  148 9
Josh Beckett  129 2
John Lackey  128 68
Cliff Lee  119 105
Jake Peavy  114 472
Justin Verlander  112 2
Dan Haren  108 72
Aaron Harang  98 195
Brett Myers  94 12
Ben Sheets  90 10
Jered Weaver  88 12
Brandon Webb  87 249
Zack Greinke  81 6
Cole Hamels  80 17
Jon Lester  79 57
James Shields  78 466
Joe Blanton  77 24
Matt Cain  73 25
Chad Billingsley  72 24
Dontrelle Willis  72 223

Of the Top 100, 44 were first rounders (2613 wins), 13 second rounders (764 wins),  4 third rounders (161 wins), 6 fourth rounders (362 wins), 2 fifth rounders (105 wins),  6 sixth rounders (299), 2 seventh rounders (80 wins), 4 eight rounders (254), and 19 tenth to thirty-fourth rounders (843 wins).  Sixty percent of the wins are obtained from the first two rounds with a smattering in the 3rd - 9th rounds (23%) and fifteen percent in rounds later than 10.

How did teams fair?  Besides the Rox I haven't done a comparison of what players drafted actually obtained wins for that team but the data below shows team and what they did draft and how many wins those drafted players obtained in the Bigs.  Maybe Moneyball did mean something or perhaps there is something in the water in the Bay Area?

Team WAR W
Athletics 90.8 548
Giants 89.9 517
Rays 34.2 432
Rangers 64.2 431
Diamondbacks 59.9 408
Phillies 63.1 406
Marlins 61.1 400
Angels 73.3 386
Cubs 50.2 372
Braves 31.6 368
Blue Jays 40.1 350
Twins 51.5 342
Pirates 43.3 317
Cardinals 47.9 312
Nationals 58.6 308
Mets 28.9 308
White Sox 26.1 279
Red Sox 56.1 265
Tigers 34.4 263
Orioles 27.6 262
Royals 38.6 259
Padres 37.8 250
Dodgers 49.0 240
Brewers 37.8 237
Yankees 38.6 232
Indians 23.3 209
Rockies 23.5 179
Astros 4.2 156
Mariners 23.4 137
Reds 26.7 124
Athletics Top Five included Zito (148 wins), Blanton (77), Bonderman (67), Harden (59), and Cahill (42) [28 big leaguers 240 pitchers drafted, 11.7%] .  Giants Top Five include Cain (73), Lincecum (71), Corriea (49), Lowry (40), and Sanchez (39) [33 big leaguers, 284 pitchers drafted, 11.6%].  Rays Top Five include Shields (78), Price (47), Niemann (40), Hammel (39 and Rox gave him up why?), and Guadin (37) [25 big leaguers, 273 pitchers drafted, 9.2%].

From the list above, regardless of whether the pitcher drafted actually pitched for your team, shows that the Rox really lacked talent in evaluating pitchers.  For a team that has to rely probably more heavily on the draft to obtain pitchers then other clubs the list above pretty much tells you why the Rox haven't done a whole lot in the O'Dowd years.  Heresy would tell you that Rox have made up for it with finding Latin players (i.e. Ubaldo, Nicasio, Chacin) but for a team needing pitching help, you have to be good in all aspects.

This is another O'Dowd failure!

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Box Score Bytes - Game 42

- One of the more beautiful baseball websites and a great little online magazine

- Before tonight, Nicasio had a 1.31 ERA with 18 strikeouts in 20 2/3 innings pitched on the road this season.  Of course tonight he goes 5 IP and gives up 5 earned runs.

- All I have to say is there ought to be a bat burning or an exorcism or something because really this isn't funny anymore.  It's like a snowball just getting bigger and bigger.  Two more errors tonight, another poor starter outing, and even more scarier is that the Marlins left 13 men on base!

- Thanks go to Belisle with a strikeout with the bases loaded.  That was a big boy pitch.

- What did the Rox do to anger the baseball gods so?  Did someone blow off the unwritten rules of baseball?  Can we get a do over?  A May rewind?

- Sixth loss in a row worse start since 1995.  Please make it stop...

- Although really this one was on us.  To be down by one run in the ninth with a lead off double and CarGo, Tulo, and Helton all get retired without getting in the tying run?  Yup that 2012 Rox baseball in a nutshell!

Monday, May 21, 2012

Box Score Bytes - Game 41

- First off I don't like the new name of the Marlins.  Really Miami...ugh it would be like calling the Rockies the Denver Rockies

- Not one Rox starting pitcher this year has won back-to-back starts.  Moyer had that chance tonight but no luck.  According to Elias we are the only team not to do that in the Bigs, as if we needed another reason to slam our pitching staff...

- Moyer has pitched in more ballparks than any other player since 1921, and Marlins Park became the 50th stadium he has appeared in.

- On the bright side Pacheco has a nice seven game hitting streak

- After a four run first inning I really thought Rox might have turned the corner, unfortunately not.  Rox lose to another lefty.

- Have to have the obligatory Guillen quote, this one about Moyer, "I know he went from very bad to very good to very old."  Guillen is one of 11 current managers to have faced Moyer.

- Since Rox are at the quarter pole what do the predictions look like versus the on pace?  Predictions are the average of several prediction including ZiPS, Cairo, Rotochamp, Marcel, and Steamer.  The Good: Most of the lineup, heck scoring runs ain't the problem here folks.  The Bad:  Again it's pitching stupid!

Rox Talk - Week 7

The Week That Was
A 2-5 week against the Giants, D-Backs and Mariners. The Rox currently stand at 15-25.  Twelve and half games behind the Dodgers for the division lead in last place. Currently 9-14 at home and 6-11 on the road, the Rox have been outscored by its opponents 218-191 (expected wins is 18 versus historical wins at 18). On pace for 61 wins with 774 runs scored and 883 runs against. Playoff indicator (Runs Scored/Runs Against ratio) is 0.88 (1.16 indicates high playoff potential).

Rox are on pace to lose 101 games.  In our short history this has never happened.  We have hit 95 two times (our inaugural season and in 1995).  Which coincidentally is the two times Rox have started out worse than our current 15-25 record.  I have run out of reasons and excuses at this point and really just have to admit that while the individual parts seemingly are better than our record suggests the team as put onto the field is just not very good.  While baseball is a game of offense, pitching, and defense based on what I have watched this season pitching plays a disproportional part in this trio.  Playoff baseball especially shows the dominant nature of how pitching can improve other facets of the game.  In Rox case not only is our pitching giving up a lot of runs, but long innings are creating defensive miscues, and ultimately playing from behind leads to an offense feeling it has to hit big to get back into the game.  Will these Rox with the likes of Tulo, CarGo, Cuddyer, and Helton lose 100 games?  I hope not.

Coors Effect
To be honest I don't know where this post might go and whether it has any relevancy to anything.  With the recent struggles I have had some thoughts in my head to make me wonder why this team is struggling so awfully this year.

My first point is Rox apparent struggles at home.  Where has the home field advantage gone?  From 1993 - 2011, Rox have had a 833-674 record at home.  Good for a 0.553 winning percentage (see line below).  Since 1993 Rox home record has ebbed and flowed (blue dots below) but has average 43 wins.  They have only had 6 non-winning home records in their 19 years of existence.  This home field advantage over the years has at least made for some entertainment in addition more importantly it has somewhat masked the horrible road record over the years (604-905, averaging 32 wins and only one winning road record in 19 years).  Taking advantage at home has allowed the Rox to be competitive.  Overall winning percentage is charted with the grey line.  

If the Rox lose this advantage then what?  Those last two data points don't look so good.  Is this a trend?  Have the Rox over the years tried to make a competitive road team at the expense of winning at home?  What about their opponents.  They certainly aren't constructed to win just at Coors, then why can they come in and seemingly dominate?  Graph below shows Rox average runs per game at home (black dots), their opponents average runs per game at our home (solid black line) versus Rox average runs per game on the road (grey dots) and opponents runs per game at their home (grey line).  It would appear our opponents are scoring a whole lot more at our house.  Seemingly we can pitch away from Coors but for whatever reason the demon has returned to affect our pitchers at Coors.  Meanwhile Rox can hit at home but have failed miserably since 2008.

And thus we are back to pitching.  The bane of Rox existence.  Rox have tried home grown talent with a mix of veterans, they have tried scrap heap pitchers, high priced free agents, ground ball pitchers, fly ball pitchers, more home grown talent and yet still no answers.  I put this graph up (below) a few week back but made some changes.  Bascially I looked at 4 year windows of pitching.  Rox most successful group was the run made from 2007 -2010 who won 236 games in that span and just happened to coincide with best team winning percentage in any four year span.  Coicendence?  Age old question in baseball - do good teams win with pitching or do good teams make good pitchers?  I think in the case of the Rox, good pitching makes Rox better.  Case in point - 2012!

Funny thing about the 2007 - 2010 run was that a lot of folks pointed to the humidor as the swing factor.  Media indicated that baseball returned to normal at altitude.  Coors Field park factors came down and everyone said Colorado might be competitive.  Again looking at park factor averages versus Rox starting pitching win percentages (over four year spans) and a funny thing is seen.  Decent pitching created a level playing field, humidor not so much.  Just look at this year, offense is down everywhere in baseball except for Coors.  Humidor is still in effect but good home pitching? Not so much.

So if the template for success is pitching what does the template look like?  85% of the starts in 2007 - 2010 came from 10 pitchers.  Of these, Jimenez, Cook, Francis, Chacin, and Morales, were homegrown.  Hammel, Hirsh, and de la Rosa were acquired through trades and Marquis and Fogg were free agent signings.  So ideally to be effective Rox have to build through the draft when it comes to pitching.  That is why the last few years of bad drafts has put us in the current situation and why Jimenez got traded.  We needed young arms.  Of these 10 pitchers about 41% of their hits were ground balls (for comparison sake this season only about 33% are ground balls).  Looking at the list below the two big winners in that period were Jimenez and Cook, both groundball pitchers.  As O'Dowd commented during FanFest this year the ability to sign groundball pitchers on the free agent market makes Rox chances almost nil.  Therefore they either are homegrown or we find lightening in the bottle like Fogg and Marquis.

Because pitching is so important I feel for a general manager trying to put together a squad especially when your drafting has failed to produce a reliable new crop.  Ideally every year or two you would like to have the next generation slotted in.  Rox had no one to fill in for Cook and Francis when they got old.  I think every year, Rox should find two serviceable pitchers off the scrap heap.  Millwood would have been a great addition this year.  Problem this year was that O'Down went after serviceable fly ball pitchers possibly mistakenly thinking that because of the humidor the Coors Effect was nullified.  What team might have failed to consider is that the Coors Effect was nullified by good pitching not the humidor!  

And finally I come to my final point and because of the Coors Effect are the Rox having to play two different games?  PurpleRow had a nice view on this.  While the article is valid I have to wonder if it just again boils down to pitching.  A well constructed pitching staff capable of winning at Coors should be more than capable of winning on the road.  The problem in Rox history is that they have really never had great pitching and so while the offense could find ways to win at home, this very same offense couldn't help on the road.  

In conclusion did I really say anything that the average fan didn't already now?  Probably not.  As a Rox fan I care probably too much for this team.  When they struggle I want to now why or at least calm my fears that there is a rationale scientific basis for what we are seeing.  I do hope management cares as well.  Getting the right pieces and parts aren't the easiest when millions of dollars are at stake.  As a fan we support our team and do have some expectations that we get something in return.  As with life I just hope in the end we aren't being hoodwinked and that someone is putting the time in and cares that the Rox aren't perennial losers.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Box Score Bytes - Game 40

- "Three balls left the ballpark," Tracy said after today's lost. "That's the difference in the game."  And once again we have to go back to management and wonder why we traded for a guy that allows home runs at an alarming rate.  Below is the Top 50 home run to hit ratios from 2004 - 2012 (min 500 IP).  Picked 2004 because that is when Guthrie entered the league.  Guthrie sits at 33 on the list with Moyer at 20.  The average for this period is about 0.11.

And if we look at the last 5 years (min 500 IP) Rox now have two of the Top 10.  Hey O'Dowd couple of these guys are probably available.  Why don't we prove your theory about fly ball pitchers and altitude once and for all...

Name H HR
Armando Galarraga 500 86 0.17
Ted Lilly 702 116 0.17
Bronson Arroyo 910 142 0.16
Dave Bush 539 82 0.15
Brett Myers 718 100 0.14
Jeremy Guthrie 835 114 0.14
Jamie Moyer 538 73 0.14
Shaun Marcum 526 71 0.13
Javier Vazquez 728 98 0.13
Ervin Santana 834 112.13

- Rox get outscored by 20-7 against one of the poorer offensive teams in the league.  Out hit by 31 - 19.

- 4th time this season Colorado has surrendered consecutive homers.

- On the bright side at least our team tries to make it exciting in the late innings.  Of course most of the time Rox are so far behind most teams just don't care.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Box Score Bytes - Game 39

- Been a big fan for a lot of years and this year's addition is positively horrendous.  I didn't think this team was going to make the playoffs but I also didn't think it would be this bad.  There isn't anything positive to say at this point.

- Seattle came into this Series ranked 20th in all of baseball with 144 runs scored.  They scored 4 last night and 10 tonight.  They were batting 0.234 as a team (27th), 0.290 on base percentage (28th), and slugging 0.367 (27th).  For all intents and purposes this is an offensively challenged baseball team and yet Rox are just getting smoked or maybe Smoak

- Rox manage 5 hits against a guy who was 0-2 and an ERA of 18.00 before this evening at Coors.  Vargas looked every bit as good as Millwood last night and just think the Rox missed Hernandez!

- Rox are now losers in 12 of 15 games.  Much like last year May is another forgettable month...

- Yup Friedrich pitched like an ace in Petco and AT&T only to get shelled at Coors.  Thanks for playing...After allowing just two earned runs over 13 innings in his first two starts Friedrich was tagged for eight earned runs in five innings of work at Coors.

- Have the Rox seen enough of Esmil Rogers?  Coming into a bases loaded situation is never easy but to give up two hits and allow 4 to score just shows this guy doesn't have it anymore.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Box Score Bytes - Game 38

- The Rockies (15-22) have a 5.67 ERA at home -- worst in the majors. In the last 11 in Denver, it's at 6.29.

- Rox are handcuffed by a guy we got off the scrap heap last year, only to allow him to revive his career, and then we allow him to sock it to us tonight.  Two lousy hits tonight against the 37 year old.  Punchless versus Seattle...

- Rox struck out 7 times against Millwood who only allowed one walk.  5th pitcher to throw a shutout, allowing two hits or fewer, against the Rockies in Colorado, the first since Roy Oswalt threw a 1-hit shutout for the 2008 Astros.

- Meanwhile White who had a decent Coors outing has lost his last 3 starts dating back to last year.

- Interesting tidbit as White was teammates with Seattle's Seager and Ackley at North Carolina when they went to 3 college world series.

- The Mariners improved to 2-6 on their 10-game, four-city road swing. Shows just how pathetic Rox are anymore especially at home.  Rox have lost their swagger.  Teams like this struggling on the road and in the old days Rox would have just feasted on them but in today's world they come in and its like a vacation or batting practice.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Box Score Bytes - Game 37

- That was one of those cringe worthy games.  To have the bases loaded with no outs in the bottom of the 9th and have no players left on the bench then throw up a pitcher who is then told not even to swing the bat?  That was another Tracy bone head move...come on, someone suicide squeeze or something.  Get the one run home and take an out at 2nd or 1st, you'd still have a guy on 3rd.  Realize the run expectancy for bases loaded no outs is 2.417 runs...Rox get none!!!!!

- Again in a situation like that you got to be bold, what are you going to lose?  Your 8.5 games out of first place going nowhere and you choose to be conservative, "I didn't want him hitting into a double play"  Just read that as I am a wimp with no imagination and I wasn't playing for the win!

- B.J. freaking Upton...

- Biggest buzz of the game:

- Both teams issued a total of 15 walks and gave up 25 hits...

- Rox threw 222 pitches in the game, that probably isn't good...

- Tracy used 21 players today and even his magic he didn't save one for a critical at bat...disappointing, loss #2 of you (and well the bullpen too)

- How ugly was the bullpen?  Gave up 11 hits, 8 runs, 4 walks, and threw 116 pitches...that is good stuff

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Box Score Bytes - Game 36

- Moyer made his 636th start against Patrick Corbin who was making his 4th!

- At home this year Colorado is batting 0.282 with 6.5 runs per game.  On the road they have a 0.219 average and score 3.2 runs a game!

- Not for sure what was more impressive - Moyer beating out a dribbler in no man's land or Dexter on the same play scoring from second?

-  Moyer first 2 RBI game since 2004.  In his almost 25 years of baseball he doesn't remember ever seeing a 2 run infield RBI...

- So with Corbin on the mound at a young age of 22 the 26 years separating the two pitchers was the 4th largest differential according to Elias.  Have to wonder when Moyer gets to face Bryce Harper...

- Dex was a homer shy of a cycle...

Box Score Bytes - Game 35

- Great article in the Post this morning about calling out O'Dowd.  Thanks Kiszla for making the connection that this team, as constituted, is his and not the coaching staffs problem.  Back in the Spring during FanFest, I sat in on the management panel and while I came away impressed by the knowledge of the constituents, I can't help but reconsider after the dismal start about what it means to talk stats and sabermetrics.  Problem with the Rox is they are masking their mistakes by convincing themselves with numbers that they have found some hidden gem.  It was like when the question was asked about fly balls and how Rox went after some homer prone pitchers (Guthrie and Moscoso) and if this was a shift in philosophy of the type of pitcher that might work at Coors.  Instead of just saying we needed arms and we took what we could get due to salary issues O'Dowd talked about how these guys are fly ball pitchers but that their fly ball percentages in the field of play was what mattered not the fact that they had fly balls over the field of play.  This type of number spewing would suggest someone is trying to convince themselves rather than face up to the truth.  I think at this stage in the game most Rox fans know that convincing a pitcher to come here is useless.  Sure you might find an old retread worth a season or two but the real pitching comes from within.  

- To continue my O'Dowd bashing, as fans we were told we were bringing in quality guys over the guys we jettisoned last year.  Therefore Smith and Wiggington were sent off (and well Lopez too).  Numbers below compare our new character guys (which by the way cost us a whole lot more money) through about 35 games.  Cuddyer costing us about $10M when Smith was still cheap.  We still have a black hole that is 3B and well 2B is still not contributing a whole lot to the bottom line.  Where is the uproar?  More money spent but no production changes.  Slick marketing O'Dowd, bring in some flashing names and all of your problems are solved.

RF Smith 18 2 0.274 0.330 0.453 0.783
Cuddyer 19 4 0.278 0.336 0.476 0.812
3B Wiggy 6 2 0.231 0.301 0.385 0.686
Nelson 4 0 0.219 0.313 0.288 0.601
2B Herrera 11 1 0.289 0.395 0.381 0.776
Scutaro 21 1 0.259 0.315 0.333 0.648

- Off my soapbox.  Nice win, sort of, last night.  Let's not forget we had a 4-1 lead before our bullpen almost imploded.  All that early use starting to wear on the arms?  Guess they are real excited about coming home.

- How hard has it been to win?  Rox get three gift errors (by the way Pacheco should have scored on that popup error and well a healthy Tulo should have had an inside the parker) and yet we still barely won that game.

- Scutaro's WPA for that homer equal to 0.354.  You could say he singlehandedly won that game

- Worse statistic in baseball?  Gotta be the hold. Outman got one (great name by the way) even though he gave up 3 runs and left with a tied game instead of the lead..

Monday, May 14, 2012

Box Score Bytes - Game 34

- Could it get much worse?  Yeah Tulo could have broken his leg on the Dexter's foul line drive into the dugout.  Really not feeling a lot of love for Dex right now

- WPA hitters vs pitchers?  A lot of talk has been that when our pitchers are on then our offense is off or when our offense is on our pitchers are off.  Thus in games there is a pitching WPA and and offense WPA.  Graph below is the difference between the two.  When the value is near zero the pitching and offense contributes equally.  Not for sure what this is suppose to say but it would suggest we have had a lot of offense and very little dominant pitching performances.

- Once again Rox on the road had opportunities.  Last night runners on 2nd and 3rd with 2 outs in the Eightth and Cuddyer strikes out.  Then in the 9th we had the bases loaded and Nelson grounded out.

-  Your young pitcher goes out and gives you 7 strong innings with 10 strikeouts and all you can manage is 1 stinking round when the other pitcher gives up 5 free passes?  Yikes

- As the broadcast made it painfully clear Giants shortstop earned his fielding pay last night fielding 8 plays last night

- Rox who have put it into McCovey's cove?  None although Walker did it as a Cardinal.  Only 18 non Giants have done it 24 times.

- From HighHeatStats:

  - Friedrich first Rox pitcher to begin career with 2 starts of 6+ IP and 1 ER or less

  - Tulo has gone 11 games without an RBI hitting a pathetic 0.220

  - Cuddyer who had a hot start has come back to Earth only having a 101 OPS+ which is 10 points the
    average corner outfielder.  Helton is at 101 as well with five regulars all at 87 or less (100 is league 

  - Not that we wanted a lot out of Scutaro but for a guy that was suppose to be an upgrade at 2B 
    offensively he has all of 2 RBI with no HRs

Rox Talk - Week 6

The Week That Was
A 1-5 week against the Padres and Dodgers. The Rox currently stand at 13-20.  Nine and half games behind the Dodgers for the division lead in fourth place. Currently 8-10 at home and 5-10 on the road, the Rox have been outscored by its opponents 181-164 (expected wins is 15 versus historical wins at 15). On pace for 64 wins with 805 runs scored and 889 runs against. Playoff indicator (Runs scored/Runs Against ratio) is 0.91 (1.16 indicates high playoff potential).

Things look pretty dismal 33 games into the 2012 campaign.  Based on what we have seen, I don't have high hopes that this won't be a lost season for our Rox but I do want to try and stay positive because the thought of Bronco talk starting up and having to listen all summer to the Manning Era would make me sick.  Come on, summer is for baseball talk, Rox still have a slim chance to stay in the conversation?  Here are my points for them being relevant:

1)  Their combined record through 33 games in their 19 years has been 289-338 or a 0.460 percentage which is about an average of 15 wins.  Rox currently only have 13 wins but they do have 15 wins if you consider their runs scored/runs against expectation.  So for whatever reason Rox have had some bad luck this year and might not be as bad as their current record shows...

2)  Since 2000 they have had only 3 winning records through 33 games.  In those three years ('01, '06, and '11 they finished the season with 73, 76, and 73 wins).  In the years they finished with a winning record ('00, '07, '09. '10) they had won 15, 14, 13, and 16 wins respectively through 33 games.  In 2009 we fired Hurdle and the team went on a rampage.  Is this a desirable way to go?  No but maybe the team should be put on notice and a management firing of some sort might send that message.  This isn't Tracy's fault so would firing O'Dowd be enough to send a message?  Please we can only hope...

3) Clubhouse character has been the defining issue for this team.  These guys understand the ups and downs of a 162 game schedule.  If we are to believe age matters than this team might be able to pull themselves out of this funk and make a Summer run.  The question is ultimately the pitching staff.  Right now the mood is bad but these are young guys that, I assume, will want to pitch into their free agent years and make some coin.  Therefore in some process, the cream will rise to the top and at some point we should find 5 guys who want to be there.  Tracy's job is to find these guys sooner than later.

After a quick two games in San Fran, Rox get two against Arizona and then Seattle comes into town.  These are winnable series and then Rox leave for Florida and Cincinnati. They finish May with a home stand against the Astros.  No dominant teams and therefore really if Rox don't want to be back page news all summer the end of this month has to be corrected otherwise, yes how about them Broncos!

April in a Nutshell

Random Stuff
- Old news but just for fun the longest official home run in baseball history is Denver Zephyrs Joey Meyer's 582 feet blast at old Mile High Stadium

- The Western League: A Baseball History 1885-1999

- Every once in a while a player finds some magic.  Last week was Josh Hamilton's week.

- Maybe baseball is getting too complicated?

- Season's wackiest game...

- Beastie Boy baseball references

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Box Score Bytes - Game 33

- Swept away in LA.  These West Coast trips have been killing us.  In 2011 we went 10-16 (road trips with at least 3 series against an NL West opponent), 2010 went 4-5, 2009 went 4-5, and 2007 3-6. 21-32 over 5 years...

- Rox are 8-10 against our division rivals...our dismal history:

Division Overall
1993 0.410 0.414
1994 0.400 0.453
1995 0.538 0.535
1996 0.487 0.512
1997 0.361 0.512
1998 0.500 0.475
1999 0.442 0.444
2000 0.442 0.506
2001 0.421 0.451
2002 0.408 0.451
2003 0.461 0.457
2004 0.513 0.420
2005 0.438 0.414
2006 0.413 0.469
2007 0.589 0.556
2008 0.431 0.457
2009 0.458 0.568
2010 0.514 0.512
2011 0.389 0.451

- LA has swept four of its opponents so far this season.  Lilly like Capuano are both 5-0.  Nicasio and Guthrie both only have 2 wins...

- Tulo has gone 10 games and 41 at bats without an RBI!  Rox record in that span?  2-8...

- Rox walked 10 batters today.  7 came from the bullpen who allowed 5 runs.  Why is Rogers still in the bullpen or even on the roster?  He gave up another 2 runs, walked 3, and has an ERA of 9.18!

- About the only positive for this young season continues to be Colvin who had two hits and has a .328 batting average

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Box Score Bytes - Game 32

-  Night we actually get decent starting pitch our bats can't find the ball...

- 7th loss in 8 games.  What is it with May the last two years?  Rox now sit 8.5 games behind the it too early to wave the white flag?

- Is Tulo pressing?  He is 5 for 28 with RISP this year after batting 0.309 in the previous two season (144 RBIs)

- Nicasio is still winless on the road...He is 6-2 at Coors and 0-3 on the road.  Funny thing is his stats...look here, baseball is a funny game

Friday, May 11, 2012

Box Score Bytes - Game 31

- How much does Moyer really have in the tank?  Look this was a fabulous story and all but in reality this was just that a nice story.  I really don't think Rox envisioned Moyer to be really be a everyday guy for a couple of months.  This was just an insurance policy...

- Are the fielders just in awe of the 49 year old?  Because in 7 starts Rox have committed 13 errors.  Yikes!  Season total is 26 errors.  No love for the senior citizen...

- Capuano is 5-0?  He was my sneaky pick when I did fantasy baseball years ago but really he was out of baseball in 2008 and 2009 and now sits at 5-0 (for god's sake he had two tommy john surgeries!).  When the Rox struggle at finding a stable pitching staff all you have to do is look at the Dodgers and really you don't need a bunch of aces.  Dodgers are doing it with smoke and mirrors with only one true ace in Kershaw followed by 33 year old Capuano, 34 year old Harang, 36 year old Lilly, and 27 year old Billingsley.  Now that the Dodgers have a owner's group willing to sign paychecks the Dodgers should be good for a very long time.  Thanks for playing Rox...thank goodness for two wild cards because that is the only way we will ever sniff the playoffs.

- 12-31-5 is the all time series win/losses/ties at Dodger stadium.  Losing the first game makes it tough to come back and win the next two...

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Box Score Bytes - Game 30

- Rox Win, Rox Win!

- Rox first round pick in 2008 finally gets his first big league win.  2008 wasn't a great draft year (see here for picks).  Not like 2007 when we could have gotten Bumgarner or 2006 when we could have gotten Evan Longoria, Clayton Kershaw, or Tim Lincecum.  Think for a moment we could have had Longoria and Tulo on the left side of the infield...thanks O'Dowd, your fantastic, not

- Two doubles off the top of the wall, with both being reviewed by the umpire crew, how wacky is that and at Petco or as I like to affectionally like to call the Litter Box

- Kind of frustrating that we were only 1-2 against the Padres.  Through 2011 we are 158-145 against the Padres...the only winning record we have against a team in the NL West.  523-625 against our NL West foes.  Next up is LA in which we have a 129-174 record against all time through 2011.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Box Score Bytes - Game 29

- What is it with cagey veterans? Moyer at 49 bewitches batters and now 37 year old Suppan, who seems to be a lot older, bewilders our Rox. The guy spent all of last year in AAA. San Diego might become the place where old pitchers retire... - Second game in a row where it just seemed the offense was pressing. We had men on the bases we just simply couldn't get them home... - A much different White on the mound versus what we saw last year. Rox are really keeping their fingers crossed on White and Pomeranz. Not a good position to be in. - Really what is up with our defense? Is it really tied to long pitched innings and having the Defense be on their heels?

Box Score Bytes - Game 28

-  Go figure Pomeranz gets his first homer of the season at Petco.  Hits it 395 feet which is the 3rd longest by a pitcher at Petco

- With the win Padres become the last team in the Majors to reach 10 wins...are we pathetic or what?

- Five hits from three players and one hit was a home run from your pitcher.  So tell me besides Scutaro and CarGo who deserves a paycheck from last night's game?  In an interesting world a player would only get paid for his contribution on the field...that would make things interesting don't you think?

- Think maybe Rox were trying to hard last night?  In the second two runners were thrown out at second attempting to steal.  In the sixth runner on second with one out and two strikeouts by Helton and Cuddyer (that hurts).  Not one runner on base after the sixth inning.

- Someone needs to tell Tulo its May and that he can start hitting again.  Two more Ks for De(k)ter.  Helton is only batting 0.233, that's not good

Monday, May 7, 2012

Rox Talk - Week 5

The Week That Was
A 2-4 week against the Dodgers and Braves. The Rox currently stand at 12-15.  Five and half games behind the Dodgers for the division lead in fourth place. Currently 8-10 at home and 4-5 on the road, the Rox have been outscored by its opponents 153-146 (expected wins is 13 versus historical wins at 13). On pace for 72 wins with 876 runs scored and 918 runs against. Playoff indicator (Runs scored/Runs Against ratio) is 0.95 (1.16 indicates high playoff potential).

Well that wasn't the most positive way to end a home stand.  Up until the Braves, things were looking OK, not great.  We did take 2 of 3 against the Dodgers.  But this weekend really showed what I think the general under the table consensus of what this team is really about.  There have been hints throughout the preseason and some off handed comments but really this weekend showed the Rox underbelly.  This team will score runs but will it be able to score enough?  There I said it and let's move on.  Rox pitching is a thrown together group held together with masking type.  All that has to be said is that the most reliable pitcher so far this year is a 49 year old.  

Rox are currently on pace to allow 918 runs.  This hasn't happened since 2004 when Rox allowed 923 runs and scored 833 and finished with a 68-94 record.  Throw in the fact Rox are on pace to win only 36 games at home and this could be the year we finally see a Rox team collapse.  Part of what has made the Rox OK with fans over the years is that we have never had a complete collapse.  Our least amount of games won has been 67 which happened in '93 and '05.  While this is a pathetic win total I think a real collapse is when you lose 100 games.  At that point I think an organization really needs to take a hard look at itself and realize what it is doing isn't working.  This has never really happened in Rox history.  There hasn't been a radical house cleaning.  Rox haven't been able to get those can't lose draft prospects (ask Washington Nationals about that right now) and are now mired in a situation where we can't afford replacement players and we don't have any truly can't miss prospects in the system to make us good.  

Open Letter to Dick Monfort
As a Season Ticket holder for the last four years and a Colorado Rockies fan since 1993 I would like to explain why I might not be renewing my tickets for next year unless some changes are made.  As a contributor to the Colorado Rockies I expect some commitment, honesty, and the willing to make the hard choices.  What I have seen since 2009 is an organization that has treated their employees unfairly and have taken their customers for granted.  Colorado has for 20 years shown that we love our baseball.  We have fell in love in 1993 again in 1995 with a new ball park, enjoyed the ups and downs of the Blake Street Bomber era, and understood and accepted the GenR era and with that patience we were awarded a World Series berth. 

Since that World Series berth the team has lacked focus.  You tossed out a good manager and then were awarded with that decision by getting into the playoffs again.  With the success you awarded some very good players with long term contracts.  As fans we support this as we have enjoyed having Todd Helton as a forever Rox.  The problem is that since these contracts have been awarded the organization has faltered.  2011 was a year of reckoning.  The team should have competed in the NL West.  It should have won its first division title except it collapsed upon itself mostly due to what was termed "clubhouse" issues.  You embarrassingly traded away the team's best pitcher claiming he was a cancer in the clubhouse.  Funny thing is the reason you had to trade him was your own inadequacy in drafting over the last 10 years resulting in a minor league system devoid of any MLB talent especially pitching.

This year was different.  You brought in some quality people.  Guys with team first altitudes.  This was to be the age of veteran presence and experience.  Unfortunately as the season has started the age thing has only masked the real issue and that is pitching.  After 13 years your GM as come full circle and is fielding a team very reminiscent of the team he took over in 1999.  With only 4 winning seasons to show, a farm system incapable of filling in the gaps, and a management group still not knowing what it takes to be a consistent winner I have to wonder why the manager was given a lifetime contract extension and why an inconsitent general manager who has not performed still has a job?

This is the big leagues.  Sure there are lots of teams out there that do the bare minimum to field a team year and year out.  There is payroll disparity which mostly means that 15-20 out 30 teams every year really don't  a chance to make the post season.  I accept the deck is stacked against teams like the Rockies.  What I don't want to hear is that is an excuse to why we can't compete and field a team that is at least competitive. A team is a sum of its parts which not only includes the people on the field.  A total commitment to winning and accepting nothing else is critical to any success.  Honesty to your customers and your team is also important.  Instead of window dressing about bringing in quality people this year, management should have faced facts and said we are in another rebuilding mode.  We went with older players because no one else wanted them, they weren't going to be a long term crunch on our future payrolls, and we have a bunch of guys in the wings that aren't ready for the Big Leagues.  Finally as the owner of this franchise you need to remove the blinders and make the hard decisions.  I understand people you work with become friends and acquaintances.  Each one of you shared in the joy of the World Series.  It was a monumental accomplishment but just because you made it once shouldn't mean its OK not to get back every year.

Can what you have in place get you there again?  If not why?  If the reason is because poor choices were made then what needs to be done to fix it?  Consistency is not bad but if you consistency make the same poor choices (no home grown pitcher since Jeff Francis) then why do people who make those decisions still have jobs?  Owning a team is being committed to the community by putting a team people can be proud of and spend their hard earned dollars.  It is about being honest with those same fans about the product you are putting on the field and finally it is being honest with yourself and making decisions that get you to the two points above.

Status quo is not OK in my book.  I want a winner.  Please look in the mirror and tell me that is what you are putting on display for a fanbase that has for too long supported your mediocre baseball team.

Purple Rox!

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Box Score Bytes - Game 27

-  Amazing how many Braves fans there are in this country.  Having grown up in Atlanta, the Braves used to not draw anyone.  Then they had the 10-15 year stretch where they were really good, they were on TBS broadcasted around the country, and then sort of became America's team (?).  Today's game even the upper deck corners were filled.  Pretty rare...

- Quirky box score today as Scutaro's first three at bats were outs to each of the outfielders, F7, F8, and F9 in the bottom of the sixth.  Then Herrera flied out to center and CarGo flied out to left to complete the cycle.

- Braves outscored us 29-19 (outhit us 42-25) in the series and was their first series sweep in Colorado since August 2003.

- Rox finished the homestand with a 3-6 record....boys this isn't how its done in Colorado.  You have any desire to get to the playoffs you need to win 50 games at home.  At 8-10 that means you have to go 42-21 the rest of the way...

- With the Rox staff in shambles you do realize that Hammel is now 4-1 for the Orioles...and as bad as Ubaldo's been he still is 3-2 after a win today.  Wow O'Dowd and his greatness really has to be questioned at this point.

- Interesting read between the lines in Saunder's Denver Post article today about several position players getting frustrated with the pitching staff.  This is time for Tracy to do his managing thing and try and prevent this rift from getting bigger.  Position players probably don't like playing behind all the time.  You could see it today they were just pressing.  Frustration levels are high.  This road trip could truly bury the Rox.  They need to reach deep down and start playing for each other...

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Box Score Bytes - Game 26

- How long of a season is it going to be?  Rox were up 8-3 after 5 complete inning and were then outscored 10-1 in the last 4 frames

- Rox commit 4 errors!  Yeah nothing like a veteran squad to play tough defense.  Tulo commits his 7th of the year after only committing 6 all of last year.  Tulo needs to pull his head out and start acting like a team captain. This team is dismal in every facet.

- Tracy indicates that was the worst game of the year for us?  At least he is honest when he said Rox score 17 runs in the first two games of the series and have two losses to show for it...

-  Rosario hit two homers and Cuddyer had a grand slam...on the bright side of things.  This marks the third grand slam in this homestand!  And even Moyor got into the act with his first hit of the year and 50th of his career.  His first hit came on August 22, 1986 off of Reds' pitcher Ted Power with a single to short. Terry Francona played RF that day for the Cubs

Friday, May 4, 2012

Box Score Bytes - Game 25

- Rox honor Chipper Jones? What is the etiquette for that and why? Guy has played 122 games against us, 558 plate appearances, 104 runs scored, 150 hits, 31 home runs (These are the most home runs against any team outside of the NL East), 0.322 batting average, 0.427 OBP, and 0.607 slugging percentage. Instead of red carpet treatment at the ballpark they should have it at the airport when he leaves town!

 - For last night's game I decided to stand above the bullpens all game. Rox have instead stands in around these areas. It was actually kind of nice. The view is a bit far and you can't see the scoreboard but you can watch the relievers warm up. Amazing how loud the smack of the glove is. Also from this advantage point you can see all the opponents hits up the middle. It's amazing really how many balls come back up the middle when Rox are pitching...

 - I finally rediscovered this webpage which tracks balls in play.  Here were all the 2011 singles.  Hard to say if any one side gets a higher distribution and unfortunately 2012 data is not up yet.  Below this is tonight's game.  Nice cluster of 5 hits right at centerfield...

- Rox are now 59-99 all time against the Braves

- Not that Moscoso was pitching lights out but he came unglued in the 5th when a foul ball was initially called fair then overturned.  The batter went on to get a single, Braves went on to score 4 runs and retake the league.

- Helton now 21st and all alone with 561 doubles.