A rare Brian Fuentes blown save barely slows down the Rockies' road machine, as Clint Barmes gets a game-winning RBI in the 10th and Scott Dohmann notches his first career save. His fans must be going wild. Dohmann's success early this season (3.86 ERA, 1.07 WHIP, 7.71 K/9, all of which would be even better had Scott not started the season cold due to, you guessed it, a viral infection) makes for an interesting comparison with Colorado's approach to building a bullpen last year. After trying and failing to sign a few third-tier free agent relievers, Dan O'Dowd allowed the Rockies to begin the 2005 season with a virtually all youth-movement bullpen, and the results were not pretty. Dohmann, Ryan Speier, and Chin-Hui Tsao all struggled, and the club dug itself an inescapable hole in April. This year, Dohmann is faring much better in a mismatched but effective bullpen group that features grizzled vets (Mike DeJean, Ray King, Jose Mesa), late starters (David Cortes, Fuentes, Dohmann himself), and only one genuine kid (Ramon Ramirez). I don't have the stats to back up the contention that this is "the way" to construct a bullpen on the cheap, but certainly it seems to have worked for Colorado. The Rockies are 7-3 in one-run games so far in 2006. There are articulate arguments for both the "luck" and "good bullpen" theories of overperformance in the close ones, but for now, I support the latter.
OK, who had "one month" in the When They'll Start Taking Us Seriously poll? ESPN.com: "Don't underestimate the Rockies. April was no fluke, and they have a legitimate shot to win their first NL West crown." Hooray! Of course, they're still ranked 19th behind such powerhouses as the Reds, Giants, Twins, Rangers, and Tigers, but we're Colorado fans. Our expectations are low.
I'm not a big Chuck Klosterman fan or a huge NFL draftnik, but Klosterman's immediate response to Houston's peculiar Mario Williams signing seems worth repeating: "The only problem is that Gary Kubiak has failed to weigh these points against the opposing argument, which is that REGGIE BUSH IS IMPOSSIBLE TO TACKLE. HE IS WAY, WAY BETTER THAN ALL OF THE OTHER DUDES WHO ARE ELIGIBLE TO BE DRAFTED. WHEN REGGIE BUSH IS RUNNING WITH THE FOOTBALL, THOSE ATTEMPTING TO KNOCK HIM TO THE GROUND CANNOT SEEM TO DO SO. THIS QUALITY IS ADVANTAGEOUS WITHIN THE GAME OF FOOTBALL, AS THAT IS PRETTY MUCH THE TOTALITY OF THE SPORT." And here I thought I had the market cornered on pseudo-scholastic, vaguely self-mocking sports prose peppered with occasional usage of the word "dude."
Update: It's a four-game suspension for Jose Mesa and his epic grudge against Omar Vizquel. Mesa will appeal but I doubt he's getting a reduction given the entire league's awareness of his weird history with Vizquel. Rockies fans know what this means: more appearances for Tom Martin.