Baseball Toaster Bad Altitude
Padres 5, Rockies 2
2005-09-21 23:11
by Mark T.R. Donohue

Well, so much for the momentum theory. I would love to see what the Rockies' record is historically the day after they score more than 10 and win by more than 5. It seems to me as if they tend to lose more often than not, but I have absolutely no evidence to back that up. This season they're 4-4 but the sample size is pretty small. If you drop the "scoring 10" requirement they are 8-9 after wins of five or more. I have no idea whether this is significant or not, I just felt a sudden urge to give myself a migraine peering at the season results pages.

Mike Esposito certainly didn't embarrass himself in his major league debut but his numbers don't bode particularly well for the future: 10 baserunners (seven hits, three walks) in five innings, only one strikeout (of Ramon Hernandez). There's a reason why John Sickels faint-praised this guy as a "utility pitcher." In any case J.D. Closser's wasted season reached perhaps its nadir when Clint Hurdle elected to use him as a pinch runner. Despite the fact that Danny Ardoin hit his fifth homer for the Rockies, the fact that he continues to get the bulk of the starts at catcher baffles me. Ardoin will still be a .240 hitter next year. Closser could be much more, but the Rockies have basically punted a year of his service time away because as a last-place team they're worried about basestealers. At Coors Field.

You'd think Closser would at least get a start when Jamey Wright, one of the best righthanders when it comes to holding runners on in the majors, goes for Colorado, but no, Ardoin started yesterday. You'd think the one good thing to come of the Monferts' inexplicable confidence in Clint Hurdle would be the guy managing with the team's long-term growth in mind, but no. Hurdle's driving motivation as a leader seems to be not making himself look bad. This is not the attitude for the field general of a young team to have.

Look at guys like Ozzie Guillen or Ken Macha. Ozzie challenges people to tell him he's wrong. He's named Bobby Jenks the closer and has stuck with Joe Crede at third even though the "safe" thing to do would be to go with vets Dustin Hermanson and Geoff Blum. Macha benched Scott Hatteberg in favor of Dan Johnson and bravely threw rookie Huston Street right on the fire. (On the other hand, Macha has fallen victim to the worst sort of "proven veteran syndrome" when it comes to Jason Kendall, who is playing nearly every day and having a career-worst season while the capable switch-hitting Adam Melhuse has seen less action than Yankees backup John Flaherty. Nobody's perfect.)

Today's big news, outside of the pennant races, was that Lou Piniella is jumping his contract in St. Petersburg. This should come as a surprise to no one. There are some managers out there who are just constitutionally unsuited to helm rebuilding projects. (Dusty Baker springs immediately to mind, although I would be very interested to see what Joe Torre could do with a team like Kansas City, not that that would ever happen.) If you're going to fly into an uncontrollable rage every time a rookie misses a sign, airmails a cutoff man, or slides headfirst into first base (this last one maybe not so much, it personally drives me nuts), maybe you would be better off working for ESPN. Think of your blood pressure.

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