Baseball Toaster Bad Altitude
Rockies 5, Diamondbacks 3
2006-04-14 00:51
by Mark T.R. Donohue

The Rockies finish their first road trip 5-1, which is a little freaky. Garrett Atkins was NL Player of the Week last week and Brad Hawpe (four homers in four games) is making a strong bid to make it two Rockies in a row claiming the award. Josh Fogg is 2-0. Think about that for a second.

The really interesting story coming out of Rockies camp is the sudden authoritarian turn Clint Hurdle has taken, benching Matt Holliday and Danny Ardoin for dopey baserunning in the loss Wednesday. Of course, Holliday and Ardoin are the two Colorado batters not red hot at the moment, and Miguel Ojeda and Choo Freeman needed to play anyway, so who knows how real a phenomenon New Stern Clint really is. If he yanks Hawpe out of a game for failing to run out a pop-up this weekend, I guess we'll know for sure.

Other offensive stars from Thursday's win: Clint Barmes was 3 for 5 with two doubles. Don't look now, but last year's Mr. April is now over .300 with a long homestand looming. Todd Helton had a single and three walks. The team is winning, so they're happy walks. Look at the batting averages for the Rockies' 1-5 hitters: .350 (Sullivan), .308 (Barmes), .379 (Helton), .385 (Atkins), .382 (Hawpe). And this is after a six-game road trip. All of the people jumping off of the Detroit Tiger bandwagon, there's plenty of room for you over here.

Seriously, a nine-game sample size is as close to insignificant as makes no odds, but better 6-3 than 3-6 (or, as last year began, 1-8). The offense's lofty performance is almost certainly unsustainable but the pitching staff's quiet competence (a 4.32 staff ERA so far, good for 9th in the majors) might be something people will have to get used to when they think of Colorado. That anyone might be thinking of the Rockies at all at this point is one of the minor blessings those of us who follow the poor bastards religiously will be happy to accept.

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