Baseball Toaster Bad Altitude
Those Comeback Bucs
2008-07-30 17:39
by Mark T.R. Donohue

I'm watching Aaron Cook pitch against Zach Duke and the Pirates and thinking, can this be happening again? Pittsburgh has made late rallies in each of the last two games to win this series and they're going for the sweep tonight. They lured the Rockies into a false sense of security by spotting them a six-run lead.

The comebacks the last two nights were at the expense of the Rockies bullpen, now experiencing one of its periodic funks, but they just ran off four against ace Cook to get back within two. A sweep in Pittsburgh would not be what Colorado had planned coming into this series, but it follows in the pattern of their play all year. The Rockies are dreadful on the road; whether it's the hitting, the starting pitching, or the relief, there's always something working not right.

Troy Tulowitzki has been killing it since he came back from his second disabled list stint of the year, the one enforced by splinters of a bat he broke lodging themselves in his hand. That the Rockies have showed signs of competitive life lately and Tulowitzki is more closely resembling his 2007 self cannot be a coincidence.

Two sides of the same coin: You can criticize Clint Hurdle for his inconsistency in lineup-making, or you can praise his creativity. Clint Barmes is playing in right field tonight against the left-handed starter. I don't know how much outfield experience Barmes has, but I like the effort to get more guys who can hit in there. Chris Iannetta, as well, has looked locked-in on this road trip. The Rockies still need to do something about the parade of De La Rosas, Rusches, and Wells-es that are inadequately filling the back of the rotation. A trade of Brian Fuentes for a AAA up-and-comer who's blocked where he is might fit the bill nicely.

Is it just me, or does Pittsburgh's lovely PNC Park resemble Coors Field rather strongly? The outfield lines, the locations of the bullpens, the scoreboard on the right-field wall under a raised grandstand. You'll have to decide for yourself whether you prefer Pittsburgh's bridge or Denver's purple mountains majesty, but either way, not a bad way to build a ballpark.

Few more thoughts from my trip out east: The priest officiating my cousin's wedding mentioned the Red Sox and the Rays in his homily. You gotta love Boston. Also, it's been bugging me all week that I spelled Edinson Volquez's name incorrectly and couldn't get to a computer to fix it. I went to Boston last summer too, and was struck by the incredible ubiquity of Sox gear everywhere I went. I'm quite used to being the only person wearing a Rockies hat at any event that isn't an actual Rockies game. But this year was a little different. There were more Rockies hats and shirts at the airport. Progress is being made. Now the team just has to avoid slipping into oblivion for the next several seasons. Easier said than done.

2008-07-30 19:26:09
1.   Mark T.R. Donohue
Rockies win, Aaron Cook stays on pace for 20, Brian Fuentes gets the save that makes him the franchise all-time leader. Will it be his last save of all time? We'll start speculating early tomorrow, since I plan on getting up at the crack of to watch the USA-Turkey basketball game.

Cook's only shot for the Cy Young, which he richly deserves, is if he wins 20 games and no one else does.

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