Baseball Toaster Bad Altitude
I've Seen This Movie Before
2008-04-16 19:47
by Mark T.R. Donohue

The Rockies are out to a cold start on the road in April... like every year. After managing to get their first game of the year from the Diamondbacks in Phoenix they've moved on to San Diego, whose home ballpark has been a chamber of horrors more often than not for the Rockies since its construction. They lost the first game but they're out to a decent start tonight, leading 2-0 as of this writing.

Clint Barmes, who's been playing great as the first infielder off the bench, is getting a chance to start at second tonight. If Barmes continues to drive in runs that will be bad news for Jayson Nix, who after a bit of a rally is back down to .161. Would the Rockies send Nix down if Barmes claimed the second base job? As we've discussed, they have a bit of an issue with cheating young guys of crucial development time by keeping them as bench players in the majors and then giving them hardly any at-bats at all. Despite this history, I suspect that Nix would remain as a bench player. His defense at second is highly regarded and Barmes isn't really a second baseman. Managers love to establish late-inning defensive platoons because it makes them look like they're doing something.

As I expected, the moment I brought up the Tigers' dreadful start, they turned it around. After writing that stuff I made a point of watching Detroit play Minnesota that evening and naturally after teasing me through the first few innings (three early errors!) they blew up in the eighth inning that night to blow away the Twins. Then they won again and tonight they're hammering Cleveland 11-2 in the 7th. This is the whole reason I waited as long as I did before acknowledging the Leyland Boys' struggles. But given our antagonistic history I couldn't let it go forever. If I just could have waited until they fell to like 3-17... oh well, no use crying over spilt milk now.

Things correct themselves: Baltimore and Kansas City and Oakland are not the best teams in the American League. St. Louis's starting pitching is not going to be excellent, or even good, all year long. And the Rockies aren't going to stay at a winning percentage of .385... well, it's highly unlikely.

Update: Colorado was hanging on to a one-run lead in a typical Petco game when suddenly the Rockies went SACPOP on the Padres bullpen in the ninth and won 10-2. Any win in Southern California at any time is seldom-heard but good news for the Rockies, and it was a sweet night in particular for Troy Tulowitzki, who finally got his first (and second) RBI of the year, and Clint Barmes, who made the most of the rare opportunity to start with two batted in of his own. That gives Barmes, a month ago thought likely to be traded or released outright, seven on the year -- tied for second on the club! And in some 40 at-bats fewer than Garrett Atkins, with whom he's deadlocked! That's so crazy. Jayson Nix, prepare for bench duty.

2008-04-17 07:25:34
1.   Kels
Am I the only one who feels Spilly and Iannetta should be the regulars...or am I lonely on this boat?
2008-04-17 07:44:54
2.   BruceR
1 Spilly? For Willy? Hmmm ... well, we can take a pretty good guess as to what Mark would think. ;^)
2008-04-17 07:59:53
3.   Mark T.R. Donohue
1 Iannetta isn't going to be the #1 after the contract Yorvit got. But they should be splitting time much more evenly; more 3:2 than 4:1. And I think Spilborghs would be overextended as a starting centerfielder. Would he be better than Willy? He would hit better, obviously. But with Kaz Matsui gone the Rockies have room in the lineup for one all-glove guy. The question isn't which guy is the better player (I think they're both not good enough to be major league regulars), the question is do the Rockies need slightly more offense, or to keep Willy's fleet feet in center? If Clint Hurdler didn't INSIST on hitting Willy leadoff when he plays, Taveras would have more of an argument. But when he bats with runners in scoring position it might as well be the pitcher up there. Except a lot of the Rockies' pitchers can hit the ball out of the infield.
2008-04-17 08:19:29
4.   Kels
So who would you prefer to hit first? Barmey? and have Willy hit 8th?

I like this:


2008-04-17 16:56:33
5.   Mark T.R. Donohue
4 "Helldog" is having a better season than Hilldog.

This question made me think so much I'm going to do a post about it.

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