Woody Paige's editors left some stuff out of his column on Kip Wells this morning:
He began 2000 as the No. 2 starter for the White Sox... and had a 6.02 ERA that season.
He had back-to-back earned-run averages of 3.58 and 3.28 (and 22 victories) with the Pirates, but they gave up on Wells in 2006... after back to back to back ERA's of 4.55, 5.09, and 6.69 (and 30 losses) for Pittsburgh over the next three seasons.
He was shipped to Texas for a minor-leaguer... because no team was dumb enough to offer more than Jesse freakin' Chavez for Kip Wells. Then, it was on to St. Louis, which gave up on him.., after 17 losses and a 5.77 ERA, and now, Colorado... who would be wise to realize that over the last four seasons Wells' teams have gone 32-61 in his starts.
He earned the right to be in the Rockies' rotation a bunch of money. He earned respect, if not revenge one win. We need to see some more.
I don't want to take anything away from what was a very good start by Kip last night, and certainly I remain hopeful he proves worthy of his contract, but he did have very good starts early in the season for St. Louis last year before things went South quickly. Let's not put too much into the results of one game just yet.
The same wait-before-passing-judgment caveat should be said for Jayson Nix, but coaxing two walks from the eighth slot in the lineup was as an encouraging sign as Wells' performance. The eighth slot walk didn't happen frequently enough early last season for the Rockies-albeit Chris Iannetta and Jamey Carroll did a lot more of it later in the year- so it's nice to see the change. It's one of the little things that the Padres in particular have been very good at over the last few seasons: taking advantage of opponents' being too careful before the pitcher to flip the lineup. Nix saw a total of seventeen pitches in four plate appearances, when compared to Willy Taveras -who saw just twelve in five PA's- he comes off looking particularly well.
Taveras was just miserable all around at the plate -the one notable home plate slip on a potential infield single inclusive- but I found his fifth inning fielder's choice out to shortstop particularly troubling as it followed an equally aggravating failed bunt attempt by Wells to move Jayson into scoring position after his first walk. Having to endure relying on small-ball tactics on nights like yesterday is bad enough, having to endure poorly executed small-ball is excruciating. Taveras and Brad Hawpe (who at least saw 24 pitches) were the only two in the lineup to fail to connect solidly on at least one occasion, everybody else either had solid hits or just missed moments, so I don't think we need to worry about the O tanking just yet.
Rockies 2008 Offensive Outs Generated
- Willy Taveras 5/5
- Brad Hawpe 4/4
- Matt Holliday 3/5
- Garrett Atkins 3/4
- Yorvit Torrealba 3/4
- Kip Wells 2/2
- Jayson Nix 2/4
- Todd Helton 2/5
- Ryan Spilborghs 1/1
- Jeff Baker 1/1
- Troy Tulowitzki 1/5
At any rate, let's give lots of credit to our bullpen for the victory yesterday, Micah Bowie, Taylor Buchholz, Brian Fuentes and Manny Corpas allowed just two singles (one of the weak infield variety) and a walk in three and two thirds innings. Conspicuously -and most thankfully- absent was Luis Vizcaino. I know the team signed him with the expectation that he would have been the one to call on in the seventh instead of Buchholz, so that Hurdle didn't allow a LaTroy Hawkins-esque Opening Day disaster come to pass is a credit to our manager's ability to learn his lessons. Speaking of learning high leverage lessons from last year, compare Bowie's appearance to the first time Jeremy Affeldt came into the game with runners on in a one run ballgame in 2007. As Tracy Ringolsby points out, the new faces in 2008 are so far looking alright. Let's hope that trend continues today.