The Rockies are in first place. I don't really know how much that counts for given that at this exact moment there are more teams in first place in the NL West (three) than there are teams that aren't, but for a franchise that usually has its last look at first the day after the opener, it's a nice place to be. Last night's game against the Giants could be taken by hopeful fans as a sign that Colorado of all these teams has the best chance to be on top at the end. Their starters are good (one hit allowed in five innings by Jeff Francis). Their bullpen is good (three key shutout innings by Tom Martin and Jose Mesa). They still have this Todd Helton guy, who can play a bit (his tenth homer). And they're young, but not particularly inexperienced. Colorado has a very young team in terms of caldendar age, but most of their guys played all last season and they're unlikely to be intimidated by the likes of the Giants, Padres, and Dodgers. After a long rain delay last night, San Francisco looked for anything as if they would have just soon conceded the game and gone back to their hotel. They handed the Rockies a run in the bottom of the sixth with two throwing errors, the second coming with two outs and the hapless Martin at the plate. They managed four hits against Rockies pitching, and committed four errors in the field. That's not a winning combo.
I complain about the All-Star game as much as anybody, but I have to admit that the Final Vote thing is fun and a good idea. I have been voting for Francisco Liriano and Chris Capuano, because I love lefthanders, but you can vote for whomever you choose.
There has been a lot of notable movement in the Rockies' system in the last few weeks. Luis Gonzalez is back up with Ryan Spilborghs returning to AAA. Omar Quintanilla grabbed a start yesterday from slumping Clint Barmes and had a good defensive game, if nothing else. Joe Koshansky and Troy Tulowitkzi will be the Colorado representatives to the All-Star Futures Game. (I think Joe Mikulik should get an honorary coaching spot too.) Manuel Corpas and Ubaldo Jimenez have been promoted from Tulsa to Colorado Springs. The Rockies have also signed a big-deal 16-year-old Venezuelan pitcher, Ricardo Ferrer, that a lot of teams were apparently after. The guys in the Colorado broadcast booth were comparing him last night to Felix Hernandez, which is probably hyperbole but it's been rare that the Rockies have won negotiations like this in the past so let's take it as a good sign.
Jamey Wright faces Josh Fogg tonight at Coors. Pretty big game! I wasn't planning on going but now that we're in First Place, I may have to reconsider my thinking.