Monday Rockpile: Maybe knocked down, but not out forever

Disappointing end to the weekend, no? It's a strange point in the season for a lot of people.

The folks who "never lost hope" totally saw this coming, they were fully expecting the Rockies to be right where they are right now, and now they're upset that the Rockies aren't winning 21 straight games.

The pessimists knew that this team was terrible, that we're on a lucky streak, that this team doesn't have what it takes, and now that the Rockies have lost a couple of games, they're smugly relishing these losses as an "I told you so" if the Rockies don't make it to October glory.

Then there are the people who have attempted to be dispassionate about the whole thing, which is where I think I fall. We know the team is a good team, but we also know that the team hasn't performed up to snuff this entire year. We had essentially settled into the fact that being 11 games back spelled the end of the season for us, which was a shame, but we also knew that the team would finish with a good record at the least, and that next season we might catch a few more breaks than we did in the 2010 season. It COULD happen, but it didn't seem likely, so we weren't going to hold out for magic. When the win streak came along, we almost cursed the team for getting our hopes up, because they could suddenly make it, but can they? Dropping Sunday's game to the Dodgers has many of us in a state of total confusion, not knowing what group to fall into. Should we get our hopes up that these final few games will be amazing and glory-filled, or should we consider tempering our expectations in light of a potential crushing finish?

Here are the facts about September: Troy Tulowitzki is godlike. Carlos Gonzalez is demigodlike. Ryan Spilborghs, Jason Giambi, and Melvin Mora are peppering the ball right now. Todd Helton is hitting .250 on the month, but his .446 OBP is definitely setting the table for others in the lineup to make some more runs happen. We are certainly seeing some disappointment from Fowler, Eric Young Jr (although his .354 Sept. OBP is hard to deny), Seth Smith, and Miguel Olivo. There are a lot of non-productive spots in the lineup.

As far as the pitching goes, Huston Street (despite his "blowup" on Sunday) and Rafael Betancourt have been phenomenal (at least as far as xFIP goes - and Street's 0.09 FIP is just otherworldly), Esmil Rogers and Jorge De La Rosa have been outstanding, Matt Belisle and Ubaldo Jimenez have been very good, and really, even with some poor box score results, Jhoulys Chacin, Jason Hammel (although who knows what's gonna happen with him), and God bless him, Aaron Cook were good and/or very effective. None of the pitching has been outstandingly bad.

If we flip things in a different direction, and scrap the wOBA and xFIP, and look at WPA (which, if you recall, is the measure of how a player impacted the game, in terms of what percentage of a win was added), all of the pitching with the exception of Hammel and Matt Reynolds has had positive impacts on the Rockies' winning efforts (especially Street and Belisle), and outside of pitchers batting, all of the bats have had a positive impact as well, save the same bats who are struggling in terms of wOBA (funny how that works).

So from that we've more or less established that we have a solid rotation still, an amazing back-end bullpen, and the role players are doing just fine. From the bats, we have 3 of 8 positions effectively not functioning. Young is getting on base....well enough, Fowler is struggling, and Miguel Olivo has been pretty bad so far this month, as we saw above. The upside to Fowler and Olivo is that their defensive abilities haven't gone anywhere, but Eric Young's defense has been questionable. If we were talking about the bottom of the lineup, we could deal with it, but when we're giving a lot of plate appearances to Fowler and EYJ, and they're not coming through, something has to give.

My opinion, going forward, is basically to keep on keeping on - but start Ryan Spilborghs every day. I love Seth Smith in uncomfortable ways (I'm seeking help), but he basically hasn't done anything right lately, and Spilly has. You won't see much of a defensive dropoff in Spilly over Smith (at least that's how it seems, the defensive metrics have more to say, and they don't like what they see), and even if you did, Spilly's been crushing it lately. Past that, it's hard to really say "CHANGE THE LINEUP" because that might just wreck magic or something. Keep EYJ up top, and then maybe give Spilly some reps in the 2 hole and drop Fowler to the 8 for a short bit? Worth a shot, right? What do you think?

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Not much for links aside from the Hammel link above, but it seems the big hubbub is the disputed double play call. The Denver Post has a couple of them Here and Here.

Also from the Post, Troy Renck has some interesting notes from around the majors including Derek Cheater (lololololol) as well as Vlad Guerrero and some one-liners about a pile of other things. Easy to chew, digest, and use as baseball nutrients for your body.

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