Baseball Toaster Bad Altitude
Astros 6, Rockies 5
2005-06-22 07:00
by Mark T.R. Donohue

Clint Hurdle stupidly pressed his luck with Jamey Wright, and the Rockies went down in ignominious defeat once again. Wright got through six innings allowing four runs, and despite the bullpen being the Rockies' sole strength this year and recent acquisition Dan Miceli being eminently available, Hurdle left Wright out there even with two men on base to give up the inevitable, obligatory game-losing double to Lance Berkman. But at least Hurdle saved Jay Witasick and David Cortes for the next time the Rockies have a late-inning road lead, a month or so from now.

Brad Hawpe's homer, Todd Helton's triple, and Luis Gonzalez's 2-for-5 night were wasted as the Rockies were at least able to bunch together their baserunners for once. After Wright fell behind 4-0, Colorado came back with a four-run sixth marked by Jason Lane's case of brain lock. Helton knocked in Gonzalez in the seventh to give the Rockies a short-lived lead. Jamey bleepin' Wright!

Moving on, mercifully: Todd Greene and Aaron Miles should be back (see Footnotes at the bottom) before the end of next week. It will be interesting to see what this will mean for Danny Ardoin, who I will begrudgingly admit has played well, and Luis Gonzalez, who again has demonstrated something many of us closer Rockies observers already knew: he's better than Aaron Miles. My best guess is that the Rockies will temporarily send Ardoin down to give Greene the starting job so they can showcase him for a potential trade. Whatever they do, they won't jeopardize their fiendish plan to eat up a year of J.D. Closser's major league service time without actually giving him a significant number of at-bats against big league pitching.

In the infield, Eddy Garabito will certainly be sent back down to the minors while Miles will probably supplant Gonzalez on the depth chart. Maybe he'll even go back to hitting leadoff. Shudder. It's indicative of how poorly the Rockies' roster is constructed that Gonzalez, a useful middle infielder, may make the bulk of his starts the rest of the season at first base and the corner outfield spots. They obviously have a few better options (we just saw two of them, Ryan Shealy and Jorge Piedra), but they spent good money on Dustan Mohr and Desi Relaford and seem disinclined to release either or both of them if they can't be traded. Imagine if they'd elected not to spend free agent money on replacement-level players and instead taken a flier on a last-chancin' starter/middle reliever type (like Esteban Loaiza, who is cleaning up in my MLB 2K5 season). Yeah, they'd still be pretty bad. But perhaps Clint Hurdle wouldn't have to sacrifice winnable games on the altar of Jamey Wright's fragile psyche.

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