Last night's loss closes the book on 2010's playoff aspirations. I could use this space to whine about injuries. I could wax poetic about how beautiful the game of baseball is when failure is guaranteed to company success, or lament over what went wrong in a whirlwind epitaph. But I won't. We have already done each here a number of times, and it will only continue into the offseason.
Instead, I will just say it was fun to watch (most of the time), and I look forward to this offseason and 2011. Colorado will be back with a vengeance.
Now, some links to get you past your state of mourning and back into action.
End of 2010 Logistics
Jason Giambi's season (and potentially Rockies' career) is over about injuring his biceps, which could mean more playing time for Todd Helton and potentially Chris Iannetta at first base. Eric Young is out for the rest of the year with right shin pain, and Clint Barmes has left the Rockies to be with his ailing father, meaning we likely have seen the last of Barmes in a Rockies uniform. As the FO knows what Jonathan Herrera is capable of, most (if not all) of the remaining five starts at second base will go to Chris Nelson in a short chance to make a lasting impression going into the offseason. Nelson looked solid defensively last night and also scored the Rockies' first run after a deep punch-shot double to right-center.
Jeff Francis pitched potentially his last game at Coors Field as a Rockie last night, perhaps his last game as a Rockie overall. His spot comes up in Game 162 Sunday, but the club has yet to officially name him the starter in that game. Eliminated teams sometimes reward prospects with a start in such a game, as they did with Ubaldo Jimenez in 2006. Francis was victimized by poor luck in 2010, as evidenced by his below-4.00 FIP and xFIP. Both are career bests, and StatCorner argues that Francis was the Rockies 4th best starter this year, creeping up on Jhoulys Chacin. His $7million option for 2011 will be an interesting choice for Colorado.
The Dodgers and Cardinals, NLDS foes a year ago, are each going through the motions-of-the-eliminated. Adam Wainwright has been scratched from his start, which was supposed to be tomorrow. Instead, Chris Carpenter moves up to face Jason Hammel, and Ubaldo Jimenez will draw Jake Westbrook in his quest for Win number 20. With the Rockies eliminated, the Dodgers have also shut down Clayton Kershaw, electing to go with Carlos Monasterios for today's game at Coors Field instead.
It will feel like an old-fashioned Rockies September again, with the focus on the future. One question everyone is asking about 2011 is the first-base situation, and after the organizational meetings yesterday, Todd Helton was kind enough to clear up one thing:
"I am not retiring," Helton told The Denver Post. "The plan is to come back and play better next year."
As if you truly believed he would.
There are plenty more rock solid links under the fold.
Q and A with Clemson QB Kyle Parker – Miami Hurricanes – Sun-Sentinel - Steve Gorten of the Miami Sun-Sentinel had a phone interview with the Rockies' 2010 first round pick yesterday, and multiple questions covered baseball and the Rockies. What you want to hear most:
I wanted the Rockies to make an investment in me that would make me comfortable I could give up football and continue just for baseball. That really didn't happen....I didn't touch a baseball throughout all last football season. I just picked it back up after the season was over...I'm going to do the same thing....Chances are I'm going to end up going to play professional baseball and I'm totally OK with it.
I thought I'd had enough of this tinfoil topic, but two very knowledgeable sportswriters weighed in recently, and their input is worth reading:
Mailbag: Taking air out of the humidor conspiracy - Baseball- NBC Sports - Colorado resident Tony DeMarco of NBCSports, who has wrote a chapter on the humidor in Tales from the Colorado Rockies, responds to a reader question at great length. This quote will guarantee an eye roll, if not an outburst of laughter:
So when Lincecum was quoted as saying ‘sometimes I get a ball that feels softer than others. I don't know if it's been in the humidor or not', it really makes me wonder if he has any clue at all about this. He should want the softer ball, not throw it out of play. The harder, lighter balls are the ones that haven't been stored in the humidor.
Good job Timmy.
Thoughts from the season's penultimate week | MLB.com: News - Every baseball fan knows the name Peter Gammons, so when he to touches on a controversial issue, it's worth a listen:
...if this were some sort of grassy-knoll trickery, the Rockies and the umpires would have to have been in on it. And that's not just unlikely, it's not happening....There is nothing that is going to make a game in Denver normal, or keep balls from shooting through gaps and into the stands. MLB has been convinced that the Rockies have been honorable.
Denver Post Features
Rockies Mailbag: Club had specific plan at trade deadline - The Denver Post - The questions sent to Troy Renck are below their usual "quality."
Glory days in Denver sports fading fast - The Denver Post - The Rockies could have bought themselves a lot of goodwill in Denver had they made the playoffs again, given the rebuilding Avalanche, crumbling Nuggets and, uh...whatever the Broncos are doing. Patrick Saunders notes that pro sports in Denver have taken a giant leap backwards. Remember the mid-to-late-90's? Two Super Bowls, a Stanley Cup, the fastest team in MLB history to make the playoffs and....the Nuggets.
From the Stat Sheet
Perhaps you blame the Rockies for pitching Greg Smith early in the season. Perhaps Franklin Morales had too long of a leash. If they only quit playing below replacement players I tell you!! It turns out, the Rockies lead the NL in least number of innings negative-WAR by pitchers, meaning Colorado did a better job of any of limiting the bad apples throwing innings for them. They are 4th in MLB, behind two very unsurprising team and one shocking team.
According to Beyond the Boxscore, the Rockies have essentially the seventh best offense in the National League this season. They currently sit sixth in the NL in batting WAR, the last of the above replacement offenses in the Senior Circuit.