Tuesday Rockpile: No matter what, the choke isn't on us

In the latest ESPN Baseball Tonight Clubhouse: Steve Phillips points out what we all know already:  the Braves have the pitching and schedule to catch the Rockies.  Colorado could do a lot for themselves with a sweep against Milwaukee starting tonight (or at least a series win please), as the magic number currently sits at five.

I hate to stoop to this level devoid of optimism, but since so many are there, I'll address this.  Would this be an enormous choke job if the Rockies failed to make the postseason?  It certainly feels as if the Rockies are sputtering while the Braves are roaring to life.

But take a quick check at the Rockies' Baseball Reference page.  Colorado's 16-9 record in September is their best month of the season outside of that ridiculous 21-7 June.  With just one win in the first two games against Milwaukee, September will be the second winningest month of the season, while they are already assured of having the second best win percentage.  

Colorado could very easily have 18 wins in September, just two shy of that magical 2007 stretch run month.

So limping towards the postseason?  Hardly.  There are certainly issues and inconsistencies with this team, but the frustrations are magnified by the Braves.  In reality, the team is finishing off the season strong in the W column.  

If the Rockies somehow don't find their way into the NLDS, don't blame them.  It would require Atlanta to go no worse than 17-7 in their final 24 games, and that's assuming the Rockies are done winning.  I'm not saying no one has a right to be disappointed, but regardless of what happens in the season's final week, we will not be witnessing a "choke job."

Now for a tiny dose of external optimism for dessert:  Will Carroll at Baseball Prospectus says "[Colorado's] playoff spot [is] all but locked down" in this Under the Knife article yesterday, which mentions Aaron Cook's potential role in the playoffs.

 

Denver Post

Two Post columnists have decided to pay a little attention to the Rockies this week, now that RaidersWeek is over. Jim Armstrong acknowledges pitching has gotten the Rockies into playoff position, crediting Bob Apodaca and Jim Tracy.  Armstrong points to a change in philosophy for why the arms have had so much success.

Jim Tracy, sent an immediate message to his starters: Show me your stuff, and I'll show you patience.

Woody Paige lays down his one-sentence nonsencial banter style in his Questions get Brave answers column.  I couldn't force myself to read it all, but there doesn't seem to be much content there.

MLB Rumors posted a discussion on Huston Street and what he might be able to leverage financially out of the Rockies after his fantastic season.  After being a piece Billy Beane was happy to move, Street has put up numbers that leave him as the NL's fifth most valuable reliever.  How much is he worth (this season, he had $7.7mil in value)?  Do you buy out arbitration and pay him a 3-year $25million contract?  Pay what he's due in arbitration?  Trade him at his very high value?

Troy Renck's take: Rocks need Street to stay

Several links from other SBNation blogs follow under the fold.

Fantasy

We didn't win in Tulo vs. Braun or Holliday vs. Rollins or even Tulo vs. Rollins in 2007.  But if you're bitter at all about that, here's a tiny tiny pill for satisfaction.  Raygu at FakeTeams is putting together a series, ranking players by position for their fantasy value going into 2010.   Troy Tulowitzki is the 2nd ranked NL shortstop, above Jimmy Rollins.  

In a separate article, he includes a poll:  Who Would You Rather Have: Troy Tulowitzki or Jimmy Rollins? Tulo is winning the vote in a landslide, which I suppose isn't surprising.  But with how much East Coast bias is mentioned here, it's worth noting that our golden boy puts Philly's to shame.  A Philly fan even comments:  "Tulo, and it's not even close."

In the same series, Raygu ranks the Top 10 NL Catchers going into 2010.  Only four NL catchers beat out the Rockies' current backup catcher.  Even in a terrible year, I promise that Iannetta still gets love from outside of RockiesMagicNumber and I.

 

Other links around SBNation

Gondeee, the manager of Talking Chop, is still not on the "believe bandwagon of hype" yet.

The Rockies get screwed by the umps here and there, and we have umpiring controversies.  Sunday featured a poor call on SKip Schumaker at first in the ninth inning and Clint Barmes apparently dropped the game-ending double play ball.  Surely Cardinals fans would be livid, right?  The reaction from Viva El Birdos?  Practically nada.

Tommy Bennett goes in depth on pitch selection and game theory in the freshest article going at Beyond the Boxscore.

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