Reid Fischer's World of Rants

Looking at the sports world through orange colored glasses

Archive for May, 2011

No De La Rosa = More problems for Rockies

Posted by mizzou1028 on May 25, 2011

The bad news continues to roll in for the Colorado Rockies.  Not only did they suffer their fifth loss in six games tonight, and fall behind the Arizona Diamondbacks in the NL West standings, but they have learned that Jorge De La Rosa will out until at least next June thanks  to a torn elbow ligament that will require Tommy John surgery.  You read that right, De La Rosa will be out until at least next June because Tommy John surgery requires a minimum 12 month recovery period.  Washington Nationals phenom Stephen Strasburg had the surgery last August and is not scheduled to be back on a mound throwing until after this season is completed.  It is entirely possible that the Rockies may not see De La Rosa on the mound until after next season’s all-star break.

The injury to De La Rosa comes at a bad time for both him and the club.  For one, he was the only left handed starter in the rotation.  For another, De La Rosa was on his way to career best season.  His ERA before the injury this season was under 4.00 for the first time in his career (his previous career best was 4.22 last season).  His strikeout to walk ratio of 2.36 this season is also a career best.  Simply put, De La Rosa has been the Rockies’ most consistent starter in 2011, much more so than ace Ubaldo Jimenez.  Starting pitching overall has been a strength this season for the Rockies, but it remains to be seen if it will continue to be so without De La Rosa.  The good news is that Aaron Cook is due to return to the club next week following a spring injury, so that will help, but it remains to be seen if he can be productive right away while he adjusts to a return to the majors.  Perhaps one of the young pitchers, like Clayton Mortenson or Greg Reynolds, can take advantage of the opportunity to prove themselves and entrench a spot in the rotation.

Of course the Rockies can’t afford to feel sorry for themselves.  The Cardinals lost ace pitcher Adam Wainwright for the year during spring training, and they have managed to overcome that, holding down the lead in the NL Central.  The Rockies still have enough talent to compete in the division and perhaps even win the thing, but the injury to De La Rosa is another hurdle the Rockies have to overcome.  To do so, the offense needs to be a lot more consistent (tonight’s 2-1 loss being a perfect case in point for that), Jimenez needs to start showing the form from early last year (his last two starts have been very encouraging, including a complete game effort in Milwaukee in Sunday), and the rest of the rotation needs to keep doing what they’ve been doing (it’s not Jason Hammel’s fault he only had one run of support tonight).

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Sunday Thoughts

Posted by mizzou1028 on May 22, 2011

It’s May 22nd and we’re all still here, even those who were complete morons and spent their life savings on billboards.  The real apocalypse will come when the NFL and its players don’t grow brains and week one is not played on Sept. 11.

– I am officially predicting that the NFL season will not start on time.  I have no inside information nor do I have any evidence to support this, only knowledge that it will not be a fast process for this thing to wind through the courts.  The next hearing is on June 3, but it’s a given that the losing side will once again appeal.  Both sides have already gotten “wins” in the court system so far, but in reality everyone has already lost.  The bottom line is unless this thing gets expedited or the league and its players magically come to an agreement, there is no way we will see football on time this year.

– Ultimately we will not see football until the two sides actually get together and hash this out.  If games are missed, there will be numerous unhappy people, and I’m not just necessarily talking about the fans themselves.  Think about the hotels, restaurants and other businesses that depend on NFL related income during the fall.  Sports bars will sit empty on Sundays, hotel rooms will be left vacant, flights will have empty seats and numerous people will lose their jobs (think parking attendants, concession workers and other team employees).  The economic impact in all 32 NFL cities will be staggering.  It’s a broken record but it bears worth repeating: every single owner and every single player is putting their selfishness on full display, particularly when many season ticket holders can’t afford to renew their tickets in this rough economy.

– The sport that might benefit the most from an NFL lockout is baseball, which could have the spotlight during the playoffs in October.  I am still holding out hope that the MLB postseason will not include either the Yankees or Red Sox.  Of course ESPN might actually cease to exist if this were to happen.

– The Rockies find themselves still sliding downhill after getting swept in Milwaukee this weekend.  Friday’s loss was especially painful, when they scored runs in the 13th and 14th innings and still lost.  Today, Ubaldo Jimenez finally looked like the Ubaldo of old, allowing just two hits in eight innings, but the Rockies still lost 3-1.  The offense has been there at times but has not been consistent.  The bullpen has been awful, but at at least the Rockies are aware of this, giving Franklin Morales away and sending Felipe Paulino on a much needed trip to Colorado Springs.  Even the closer, Huston Street, has blown three saves this month.   The starting pitching has been very good, and the offense is getting better, but now the bullpen is the biggest problem.

– That said, the offense does need to be more consistent.  They rocked Tim Lincecum on Monday night, and Jason Giambi drove in all seven runs on Thursday, but this week the Rockies had losses of 2-1 (to Philadelphia) as well as 3-2 and 3-1 losses to the Brewers.  The game in Philly you can tip your hat to Cole Hamels, a true ace, but the lack of offense against Shaun Marcum and Randy Wolf is disconcerting.  I have dropped both Marcum and Wolf from fantasy teams in recent years because of poor performance.

– The Rockies have gone from having MLB’s best record to being in grave danger of slipping to third in the NL West.  Thanks to San Francisco’s sweep of Oakland this weekend, the Rockies now sit 3.5 games behind the Giants.  On May 1 the Rockies had a 5.5 game lead.  The Rockies are now just half a game ahead of surging Arizona (winners of 8 of their last 10) for second place.  The Rockies host the Diamondbacks in a critical four game series this week, and if they aren’t careful the Rockies could find themselves in third place by the end of the week, especially with a weekend tilt against mighty St. Louis coming up.

– The Rockies have not won a three game series since April 15-17 against the Cubs.  They have a couple of sweeps in two game sets since then (against Chicago and San Francisco), but the other series?  Lost 2 of 3 to the Giants, Marlins, Pirates, Diamondbacks, Mets and Padres, a split of two games against the Phillies, and three straight losses each to San Francisco and Milwaukee.  Since April 16, the Rockies are 11-20.  Ouch.   I have advocated for the Rockies to get more national attention, but frankly those numbers don’t warrant it right now.

– Even so, I challenge ESPN to show a game that doesn’t involve an east coast team.  Tonight they have Cubs-Red Sox.  Tomorrow night they have Red Sox-Indians (although Cleveland is well deserving of some love with MLB’s best record).  Just once, can’t they show Giants-Dodgers or Angels-Rangers or something along those lines?

– I am fine with any of the remaining NBA teams winning the title except for the Miami Heat.  They just don’t deserve it given the way LeBron stabbed Cleveland in the back to go there.

– It is partially because of this that I will watch the NHL over the NBA 100 percent of the time during the playoffs.  I know no one cares about the four NHL teams left and probably can’t name a player still on the ice, but the action really is much more exciting than the loads of uncalled traveling violations and no defense of the NBA.  You just don’t know it because ESPN shows you 20 minutes of boring NBA press conferences instead of showing you hockey highlights.

– I do think the NHL doesn’t do itself any favors by putting most of its games on a channel no one can find.  Even when they’re on NBC, they’re usually too early on the west coast.  I guarantee commissioner Gary Bettman is rooting for an NFL lockout (and an NBA one as well).  If he plays his cards right for once, the NHL could really benefit from the selfishness of the other leagues.

– But really ESPN, 30 minutes of press conferences after the Bulls-Heat game is way too excessive.

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Where’s the offense?

Posted by mizzou1028 on May 9, 2011

I of course am as big a Rockies supporter as anyone.  I openly campaign for them to get more support nationally.  (The number of ESPN/Fox/TBS appearances is still zero this season, despite the Rockies leading the NL West).  However, if this team wants to maintain their position and get the national respect they deserve, they must start playing to their true capability.  The Rockies have lost seven of their past 10 games largely because their offense has hit a brick wall.  The starting pitching has been outstanding (the starters’ ERA is under 2.00 over the past eight games), yet the Rockies past five games have all featured two runs or less from the Rockies’ bats.  The Rockies are hitting just .216 as a team over the past seven games (.233 on the season).  With runners in scoring position and less than two out, they’re hitting .215.  You get the idea.  The offense needs to wake up, and it needs to do so in a hurry.

The two big stars, the ones who I would think would be more highly regarded nationally if they played on the east coast, are a large part of the problem.  Carlos Gonzalez had another 0-for-4 tonight against the Mets, dropping his average to .233.  So far this season he has just two home runs and 16 RBI, which is not really the production you look for from the number three spot in the order.  As for Troy Tulowitzki, he started off red hot with seven home runs in April, but he his hitting a horrific .074 in May (yes that is correct) after a solid .298 in April.  Of course every hitter hits a slump from time to time, and I am convinced both players will rebound, but they do need to start hitting like the players the Rockies know they are.  The rest of the lineup has had his ups and downs (Ian Stewart really needs a return trip to Colorado Springs – again), but without Cargo and Tulo leading the way, the Rockies have no hope hitting elite pitching.

It’s not as if they’ve gotten mowed down by Halladay, Lincecum, or Josh Johnson in recent weeks either.  It’s been Ian Kennedy, Ryan Vogelsong (who took a perfect game into the sixth), and Chris Capuano.  Tonight against Capuano the Rockies squeaked out a 2-1 win, but in early April they shelled him for nine runs.  I’m not saying it’s time to hit the panic button, but this is starting to become more than just a pothole as Jim Tracy called it.  The starting pitching has been great, and the bullpen has been good most of the year (although it has had its struggles in recent games as well).  Only four teams have scored fewer than the 20 runs the Rockies have plated in May.  The bottom line is the Rockies offense needs to return the form it showed in early April if they want to achieve their goal of winning their first ever NL West title.

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