Baseball Toaster Bad Altitude
You Know What's Better than Losing? Winning
2006-05-21 00:30
by Mark T.R. Donohue

I really like what I'm seeing on the field from the Rockies in this series against Toronto. I remain unconvinced, still, that Colorado is actually good, but that unpleasant, fatiguing feeling that my favorite team shouldn't have bothered with the season at all from the last...several years is mostly gone.

The Blue Jays aren't a great team either (after the Rockies win last night, only a half game separates the two, with Colorado 24-19 to Toronto's 23-19) but they are a legit, over-.500 ballclub the type of which the Rockies have lost to prolifically over the run of the interleague era. When you win more than you lose, you don't have to apologize for an offense that could be a little more relentless and a pitching staff that is relying to a spooky degree on outfield assists. Neither do you have to dwell on the mitigating factor that neither of the Blue Jay pitchers the Rockies defeated have defeated so far this weekend is exactly going into the pantheon along with Dave Stieb, Pat Hentgen, and Roger Clemens.

The fact is that the Rockies are keeping their heads well above water in a division that doesn't have a single team under .500 at the moment, and series wins count against any team regardless of how ugly their logo is. The rest of May will be consumed by a long road trip to play all of the California teams of the NL West. The first series, against the Dodgers, has the feel of a good one, with Jason Jennings and Aaron Cook set to go for Colorado and Los Angeles finally beginning to play as they're capable.

You know what we need to start talking about? Getting multiple Rockies into the All-Star Game. Matt Holliday and Brad Hawpe have very strong cases. Hawpe should start in the NL outfield, really. How about they both start? Pitchingwise, Jeff Francis and Aaron Cook are among the league leaders in starters' ERA although both might need to notch a few more wins to strengthen their cases. Brian Fuentes (9 saves, 1.62 ERA) ought to be a shoo-in assuming he can keep producing saves. Garrett Atkins is fifth in the NL in VORP from a third baseman -- ahead of Chipper Jones, natch -- but the guys ahead of him are hardly low-profile. Miguel Cabrera is certain to be Florida's lone All-Star, Morgan Ensberg is a key guy on the defending NL pennant winners, and then there's the Great Wright Hope in New York.

It's way too early for serious fans to be voting for the All-Star rosters, not that this fact prevents MLB from polling for them anyway. It is however a good time to start doing your part to raise the profile of some of the Rockies' more dark-horsey candidates. If you're not already greeting people at your workplace with "A happy good morning to you, and how about Jose Mesa and his 16th-in-the-National-League WXRL figure?" now is a good time to begin.

Oh, I almost forgot. Jamey Carroll hit a home run the other night, his first in 663 at-bats. Insert your own Jason Kendall joke here.

2006-05-21 10:55:39
1.   Ken Arneson
Congrats to the Rockies on becoming the first NL team in 2006 to win the MLB Heavyweight Championship. (See Catfish Stew sidebar).

I've used up supply of Jason Kendall jokes. I'm growing some new ones as we speak.

Comment status: comments have been closed. Baseball Toaster is now out of business.