Baseball Toaster Bad Altitude
Poor HD Reception for the Channel
2008-05-24 14:35
by Mark T.R. Donohue

After pulling out the extra-inning game last night, the Rockies have fallen behind early today against the Mets thanks to another weak outing from Jeff Francis, Sports Illustrated cover jinx victim. What is it that has troubled Francis so this season? He's nibbled with all of his pitches instead of using early-count fastball strikes to set up his breaking stuff on the edge. Francis is a guy who's been consistently effective while seldom being particularly unhittable; it's an uptick in walks -- and a corresponding jump in pitch counts -- that has led to his getting torched so far in 2008.

I wonder if losing the first game of the World Series, and getting lit up in the process, plays on the Channel's mind still. Or it could be his change in status -- being the perceived ace of a bad team is much less pressure than being the #1 on a title holder. I would like to have seen the organization bring in another top-flight starter to both push Francis to excel and paradoxically take some of the load off at the same time. That's what Arizona did in acquiring Dan Haren, and look where that's taken them. The acquisition didn't come attached to a massive leap in payroll level either.

It could be that the Rockies' luck is changing and they've got that sort of pitcher already in the fold in Greg Reynolds or Ubaldo Jimenez. (Or, I pray, both.) I suppose it's more of a philosophical question whether the explosion of fan interest in Denver last fall obligated management to make more aggressive moves towards defending their pennant in '08.

2008-05-24 15:42:22
1.   Eric Stephen
Mark, what is the origin of "The Channel" nickname for Francis? I forgot.
2008-05-24 23:48:34
2.   Simpson
Frankly I was amazed the Rockies stood pat after a seemly improbable run to the World Series. No good FA pitchers to be sure, but you'd think a surplus of OF talent, and Atkins and Hawpe coming off years that gave them trade value despite both older than you think, would have allowed them more comfort in making a big move. Ultimately some questionable drafting outside of Tulo has hurt them as well; Longoria would've made an Atkins deal a necessity.
2008-05-25 08:50:16
3.   Woden325
1 Mark's cable has Fox Sports on channel 26, which is Jeff Francis' uniform number.
I'm fond of the nickname "Franchise" which I picked up from, I think, the Up in the Rockies blog. They used it to signify his promise as a prospect initially. I use it in this sense: "as Jeff goes, so goes the Franchise."
2008-05-25 22:50:47
4.   BruceR
1 To add a detail to to Woden325's explanation, Fox Sports/26 here in the Denver area is the channel that airs the Rockies' games.

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