Baseball Toaster Bad Altitude
Now Eight
2006-07-18 16:21
by Mark T.R. Donohue

The Rockies lost again in Pittsburgh last night, and I remain at a loss to write anything at all helpful or interesting. The team isn't hitting and the bullpen is terrible, which is where most long losing streaks are born. The nice thing, if there is one, about a cold snap where your starters are getting cuffed around is, well, at least somebody different will be starting the next game. The Rockies' starters have been excellent all year. They're getting better, if anything. But the offense and bullpen from 2005 have reappeared, and it's bleak indeed. Creatively, Dan O'Dowd's first attempt to correct the problem involves reducing the number of active arms in the bullpen. Scott Dohmann and David Cortes, neither of whom have even pitched very much, are out and Ryan Shealy is in (back in, in point of fact) and Manuel Corpas will get a look as well. I don't know how much of a difference Shealy will make since he still can't play the outfield, but Corpas ought to be useful if he continues throwing as well as he has in the minors this year. On the whole, the Rockies don't have a solution for when Matt Holliday, Todd Helton, and Brian Fuentes don't do their jobs. Those are the teams' stars. Clint Barmes and Cory Sullivan will have their moments, but it's unfair to expect them to carry the load. They're not that...well, you know. Good.

But you know what? I'm not thinking about the Rockies tonight. It's becoming increasingly clear that this is the season of tentative, incremental progress we all expected going in and not the surprise leap into contention for which we secretly longed. Around the trade deadline, we can start thinking about what they're going to do to keep getting better next year. For now, my eyes are on the Detroit-White Sox series.

I wrote before the season began that the Tigers were trapped for the forseeable future in an endless dearly-bought cycle of 75-win seasons, and now they have the best record in the majors. I don't like being made to look stupid. It does seem a little suspicious that they have played the Royals approximately 20 times already this season, but their team is running too well on every imaginable cylinder to suggest they're entirely a fluke. Still, it would make me deeply happy if the White Sox went into Detroit and crushed them like irritating little bugs. I can't remember the last time I was rooting this hard for the South Siders outside of their interleague matchups with the Cubs. They're off to a good start, leading 1-0 in the third.

2006-07-18 17:00:59
1.   Ali Nagib
It's important to remember that the "surprise leap into contention" was in large part a product of the weak NL West, not a dramatic overperformance for a few months. This was a .450 team playing .500, not a .450 team playing .600 (eg. 2005 Nationals and Orioles). Maybe that's small comfort, but an 84 NL West champ isn't going to win it all anyway, no matter how weak the rest of the NL is.
2006-07-18 17:36:16
2.   Mark T.R. Donohue
Clearly I should have written my throwing-up-hands-in-resigned-disgust-over-losing-streak post earlier, because the Rockies now lead Pittsburgh 8-1 behind a dominant Francis Channel.

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