Lloyd McClendon was fired as manager of the Pirates. That makes Clint Hurdle the last manager of a last place, non-contending team who hasn't either been fired (McClendon, Tony PeÃ±a, Dave Miley) or is trying actively to leave (Lou Piniella). While I have often despaired this year of Hurdle's insistence on managing the team as if their won-loss record mattered, and his botching that goal besides, the Rockies are realistically too far away from bringing on the manager with which they'll next win. Why hire the right guy only to have to fire him in two years because Dan O'Dowd doesn't bring in the players he needs?
On the field, meanwhile, things are looking up. Having Clint Barmes and Brad Hawpe back means the Rockies have a major league player at nearly every position, except catcher and center. Barmes had two hits in the extra-inning win Sunday; Hawpe along with Garrett Atkins homered in the blowout on Saturday. The Rockies drew nine walks on Saturday against an erratic D.J. Houlton and the soft(er) underbelly of the L.A. pen. That warms my heart. They also left 11 guys on base, but if they had 22 guys on altogether, that's acceptable. Although he only needed to go five innings, another win for Byung-Hyun Kim.
On Sunday Zach Day was solid and the Rockies tagged Edwin Jackson for six earned, led by a Matt Holliday home run. But Jamey Wright, removed from the rotation as he is, still lurks in the bullpen, and sure enough he, Randy Williams, and David Cortes could not secure a four-run lead. Cory Sullivan doubled to lead off the tenth. (He's been playing great ever since I started dumping on him. I should have started dumping on him earlier.) Todd Helton was predictably given four balls. Holliday struck out, but Hawpe was there to get the man home and secure the win. That's a sweep. Wow, and I was feeling pessimistic about this series. You live and you learn.
San Diego, in San Diego (again) tonight. I don't think there's much to be expanded on what I've already said about the Padres and the NL West in the last few weeks so write your own preview. It'll be Aaron Cook and Chan Ho Park, then Jeff Francis and Adam Eaton, and Sunny Kim and Brian Lawrence. Park and Lawrence are crummy, so the Rockies should be able to take at least two, and Jeff Francis has been known to do his best pitching at PetCo. Two sweeps in a row? You know, if not for April, the Rockies wouldn't just be winning the division, they'd be running away with it.