There isn't a lot of Rockies news burning down the wire, so you'll get a hodgepodge of the Rockies, the NL West, and even a movie review.
An ESPN Insider article notes that Troy Tulowitzki is teeing off on first pitches, which has ignited his season turnaround and led to his NL Player of the Week Honor last week. Tulo is hitting a robust .458 with 8 HR and 21 RBI when connecting on the first pitch, equating to a 1.361 OPS. When he doesn't connect, his average drops to .276 after a 1-0 count and .258 after an 0-1 count.
That's not just a trend for this season, so Clint Hurdle's benching of Tulowitzki earlier this season really has no excuse. For his career, Tulo is hitting .401/.393/.692 when connecting with the first offering.
Tulowitzki takes a captain's attitude in this Patrick Saunders article,or more accurately a managerial tone. The Rox SS wants the club to cut down their strikeouts and finish the season strongly. While he may believe they aren't playing their best baseball, Dan Haren notices something special.
"They play great defense and they can swing the bats, and that's a winning combination...And they are playing with some swagger. I don't remember them having any swagger early in the season." - Dan Haren, from Patrick Saunders
I believe it is important to note that the Rockies earned the respect from Haren for their resiliency Sunday afternoon, and that "swagger" he is talking about just might have come from that 3-run seventh inning, where all four hits came on the first pitch Haren threw over the plate.
Troy Renck is trying his hand in the Roger Ebert role by posting a movie review of the film "Sugar" this morning. The film follows Miguel "Sugar" Santos, a young pitcher from the Dominican Republic, who is trying to push past his early life to make it to the Major Leagues. It's not as easy as Ubaldo Jimenez makes it look. It sounds like this film should be of extra interest to fans of the Rockies, who have one of the more developed Latin pipelines around.
But don't worry, Renck won't be leaving the Post to do movie reviews for the Chicago Tribune any time soon. You're not supposed to reveal the ending Troy!
NL West Links
Dave Cameron at Fangraphs says that Joe Torre makes his team worse, slanting at the jawdropper headling by criticizing his move to ride the hot bat of Ronnie Belliard over the more talented Orlando Hudson. I wonder what Cameron's views are on Bruce Bochy, who is letting Buster Posey rot on the pine. Posey has all of three ABs this month compared to their apparent catcher of the future Eli Whiteside, who has 17.
BtB examines the Dodgers roster and each player's Value Over Contract this year. Manny Ramirez will be a net loss for them.
Home runs are down 20% in the last ten years, but that probably doesn't surprise you. Beyond the Box Score notes a correlation with division rival. Okay, so it's a sexy display, but the effect has happened to almost all teams, so don't get carried away.