Monday Rockpile: Who’d’ve thought a breath of fresh air would come from a Machine?

As we've seen in the previous 2 articles, Jhoulys Chacin showed up on Sunday, stepped up like a top prospect/stud and pitched the Rockies out of the sweep we were so depressingly expecting. I'll be honest, after the Rogers start, I wasn't anticipating Chacin to do any better. I base that on nothing beyond rookie jitters and bad luck or whatever, but either way, he pleasantly surprised me. 8 groundballs to 4 flyballs, 7 punchouts to 3 free passes, 7 innings all in 99 pitches. Way to be, Jhoulys!

One thing I thought was interesting, however, was Tracy's management of the 8th inning. Before you continue reading, or type up a response, or anything, this is NOT a criticism of Tracy whatsoever.

After Eric Young Jr. pinch-hit for Chacin in the top of the 8th, Tracy brought in Matt Daley to get some of those late-game outs we craved so strongly to avoid the sweep that didn't happen. Now, Daley gave up a solid leadoff double to Matt Downs, one that required Dexter Fowler to jump to try and get. Obviously not a great start to the inning. Travis Ishikawa then flew out to left-center, and Aaron Rowand got a bloop single to left that was pretty much a hit because the defense was set up in no-doubles defense. But because of the way the hit landed, Downs was held at 2B, and Daley found himself in a 1-out-runner-on-2B situation. As we know, Tracy then went to Morales for 2 punchouts to wrap up the 8th.

My question is this: Why did he yank Daley? Was it strictly a matchup thing? Did Morales need some work? The hit to LF wasn't a well struck ball, more a lucky drop, as I stated above. I guess the rationale would be that if Daley wasn't punching guys out, there's a good chance that he just "didn't have it". Well, that's the question I have for discussion today, when does a guy "just not have it" if no runs have crossed the plate?

We see managers league-wide pull pitchers in similar situations, so as I also stated above, this is NOT a "curse you Jim Tracy! 2gy9l6u_jpg_medium" sentiment, but seriously a question on when you can "just tell". The double to Downs was legit, but the flyout and the lucky single suggested to me that despite that hit, batters weren't really getting the greatest of contact on the ball. Now, I might be mistaken, but I probably would've left Daley in to wrap up the inning, double or no double.

Now granted, the inning turned out fine, thanks to the awesomeitude of Franklin Morales, and I'm not questioning the decision as a "right or wrong" situation, because it worked fine (so I guess it was the "right" decision), and we don't know what would've happened either way. It's purely the question of "when do I pull my reliever" when he hasn't really forced anybody's hand. I'd love to hear everybody's input on this topic.

While we discuss and debate, Fangraphs is praising Tracy's move, stating that it was "an example of exactly how to correctly manage a bullpen, and other teams and managers should take note". Troy Renck adds some insight of his own, citing matchups for the usage of Morales. Tracy responded as well:

We haven't been in that position (very often) where we have had multiple choices to match up pitchers with hitters. The opportunity today was there with Morales...If we get into situations where we continue to get deeper into games and have a chance to do this, we will. The scenarios made all the sense in the world to me today.

 

Links past the jump.

Inside the Rockies - Jeff Francis ready for rehab assignment || Tracy Ringolsby

The Cowboy brings us the news that the Rockies are pleased enough with Francis' simulated outing that they'll give him a 4-inning rehab start in Tulsa on Thursday. The next step will be decided pending the results. Huston Street will throw live BP on Tuesday, and Rogers will get another start in LA.

Denver Post - Francis, Buchholz rehab assignments set || Troy Renck

Francis' rehab start will be about 75 pitches. Buccholz will begin his rehab assignment later this week with the Modesto Nuts.  He'll be eligible for return on June 3.

MLB.com - Olivo bucks trend with solid April || Rick Eymer

Olivo typically sucks in April. Olivo was awesome in numerous ways in April, including AVG, DINGERZ, throw out runners, and outperforming expectations. We also learn that Tracy is concerned with guys trying too hard for the long ball. This is not news.

MLB.com - Jimenez, Correia clash in San Diego || Doug Miller

Highlights:

1.     Ubaldo Jimenez Owns

2.     Jimenez and Hawpe win team awards for being winners

3.     The Padres have pitched an awful lot of shutout innings

4.     Ubaldo Jimenez Owns

5.     Dex has been awesome since the doubleheader

6.     Chris Young might just be washed up

7.     Ubaldo Jimenez Owns.

Fangraphs Stars of the Month - April 2010 || David Appleman

Ubaldo Jimenez may only get 1 star of the 3 stars of the month, but 5 wins, a nono, and a MLB-leading 0.79 ERA had better get him the Pitcher of the Month award as well. He's worth 3 stars to us, anyhow.

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