Baseball Toaster Bad Altitude
Choo Slides in There
2006-07-28 04:06
by Mark T.R. Donohue

I know I wrote a few days ago that I wasn't going to bail out on the Rockies in disgust. I meant the season. I didn't mean that I wouldn't, from time to time, turn off a game in the middle in order to watch 40-Year-Old Virgin again because I'm tired of watching Colorado's bats flail impotently. Well, OK, every time the Rockies fall behind now, in goes that DVD, because the ol' ball club won an important one last night, spotting the Padres a 5-run lead only to win in the 10th.

The Rockies' recent losing streak is hardly anything new, but it has been disheartening for some novel reasons. The fringe guys on the team are beginning to produce. Yorvit Torrealba's offense is coming around, and his control of the running game continues to be top-notch. Clint Barmes is no longer mired in Cristian Guzman territory OBP-wise. When the team's stars produce and the not-so-starry pitch in a bit, good things happen. Last night, Atkins, Holliday, Hawpe, and Helton all had hits. It seems bizarre to be describing Jamey Carroll as a team star, but he's been far and away the most reliable guy on the team as far as getting his job at the plate done. He had two more singles. But Jorge Piedra (remember him?) had a pinch hit. Freeman had a pinch hit, a double in the tenth. Then on Carroll's single he scored the winning run on a balletic slide around Rob Bowen.

Extra time was made possible by Torrealba, who capped off a 3 for 4 night with a home run in the bottom of the ninth off of Trevor Hoffman. You know, as little as I've made of Barmes' resurgence during the team's recent period of futility, I don't think I've said a single nice thing about Yorvit. Let's fix that right now. Dan O'Dowd made the right move when he sent Marcos Carvajal to Seattle for Torrealba. While Yorvit never really got it going during his time in San Francisco and completely bottomed out last year with the Mariners, he's been much better than Danny Ardoin and still has limitless potential as a 28-year-old who's never been a regular before. He's not a great hitter, but he is a hitter, unlike Ardoin, and his defense has been beyond reproach. He's thrown out more guys (eight) than have successfully stolen against him (seven). All right, Yorvit.

Before the losing started, when we were talking about the possibility of the Rockies making a trade or two, the three positions in most obvious need of an upgrade were catcher, shortstop, and center field. Barmes has looked like a new man as of late. Torrealba is no All-Star, but I highly doubt there's anyone better readily available. So what about center field? Cory Sullivan hasn't hit up in the order or at the bottom. Freeman and Piedra are bench players. Is there a deal to be made? Eh, probably not. The team as presently composed is highly unlikely to win a division title, even in this division. But it will remain around at the periphery of the discussion into September, which I think was probably above and beyond O'Dowd's wildest dreams when the season began. However -- the franchise doesn't have an easy answer for the center field hole going into next season, either. Something to think about if teams call enquiring as to the availability of Jose Mesa and Ray King.

A word to Dodger fans, who I know come by here every now and then: Yeah, I know you guys have it pretty bad right now. This recent run, I read the other day, is the worst in (Los Angeles) Dodger history. But here's some perspective. The Rockies go through a stretch where they lose 11 of 12 once or twice (seemingly) every year. So suck it up.

2006-07-28 11:28:15
1.   Kels
I had more fun watching last night's game than I've had watching a Rockies game since Game 1 last year.

Our kids in the pen can pitch.

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