Baseball Toaster Bad Altitude
Sunday Morning
2005-05-22 08:39
by Mark T.R. Donohue

Not much to report today...the News roundup notes that the Rockies have never won a series at Pittsburgh's PNC Park, yesterday's win marked manager Lloyd McClendon's 300th career victory, and the stadium was sold out for Saturday's  game. Must have been fireworks or something. Or is Clint Barmes becoming a road draw? From yesterday, BK may not be long for the purple.

Perceptive Mike Klis column in the Post: "The Rockies' problem isn't dollars, but how those dollars were spent." An unidentified general manager repeats a common misconception about Colorado's past success: "I still think Gebby (Bob Gebhard) had the right approach for Coors a slo-pitch softball team. Then again, it would be tougher to do that today because you couldn't afford to keep that many sluggers." But wait! As this year's Baseball Prospectus argues, the strength of that 1995 wild card team was a marvelous bullpen (which, interestingly, featured three guys who racked up more than ten saves). Going by ERA+, that pen featured four guys (Darren Holmes, Curt Leskanic, Steve Reed, and Bruce Ruffin) who were 50% better than league average or more. Combined with an average rotation and an average (99 OPS+) offense, the Rockies squeaked into the playoffs in a shortened season.

Back to the news. Here's an update on Clint Hurdle's daughter's condition. Todd Helton: "What do I do when I am not in there? I eat a lot." The Pirates' defense has improved, although fielding percentage is a rough metric. A win today would earn Pittsburgh its first three-game sweep of the season.

Full disclosure: I might not watch all of the Rockies game today, because Mark Prior is pitching against Brandon McCarthy in Chicago with the White Sox going for a sweep. Every now and then I stray from the fold, if just to be reminded what winning baseball is like.

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