Saturday Rockpile: Rockies Close to Naming Jeremy Guthrie Opening Day Starter, Interested in Dontrelle Willis

Mar. 7, 2012; Scottsdale, AZ, USA; Colorado Rockies pitcher Jeremy Guthrie (15) during the first inning during a spring training game against the San Francisco Giants at Scottsdale Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jennifer Hilderbrand-US PRESSWIRE

Guthrie's hard work points to opening day nod - The Denver Post
According to Troy Renck, Jeremy Guthrie has impressed the Rockies' coaching staff enough for them to name him their opening day starter. While the decision hasn't been made yet, 'all signs point' to Guthrie getting the nod. The more interesting part of this piece comes at the bottom, where Renck states that the Rockies are interest in Dontrelle Willis, who was just released by Philadelphia yesterday. The saying "one man's garbage is another man's treasure" is definitely applicable here, as the 30-year-old lefty would have no place in Philly's stacked rotation, but could plausibly catch on elsewhere. Willis threw more innings last season (75.2) than he had in any season since 2007, when he tossed 205.1 innings of mediocre (84 ERA+) baseball. At the time, it was his third consecutive season with 200 or more innings pitched, and with a delivery as strange as his is/was, it was basically only a matter of time before he broke.

Picking up the D-Train would obviously be a low-risk/low-reward move for the Rox, so I don't really care either way, but maybe he wouldn't make too much sense for the Rox to sign strictly because of the fact that most of his success over the past couple of seasons has come against none other than the Rockies. In 2010, Willis' June 5th start for the Diamondbacks at Chase Field saw him record his second-highest game score of the season (61), while tossing six innings of shutout ball (while allowing five hits and four walks, and punching out three). Last season while with the Reds at Great American Ballpark, Dontrelle had a flat-out dominant performance against Colorado, as he put up easily his highest game score of the year (69) on August 9th. In that game, Willis, who had a somewhat pedestrian 6.82 K/9 in 2011, struck out TEN Rockies batters in eight innings, while giving up three runs on five hits. Most of the damage was done on a Troy Tulowitzki fourth inning homer. Maybe one of the other teams in the division should pick up Willis and only have him start only in games that are (1) in extreme hitting environments; and/or (2) against the Rockies.

More non-D-Train news after the jump...

Moscoso shines on mound; Blake takes BP, groundballs | On the Rox — Colorado Rockies news — Denver Post
Renck's other link from yesterday tells us that Guillermo Moscoso may have launced himself closer to becoming the team's fifth starter to begin the season, as he had a very good effort yesterday, pitching three scoreless innings while allowing one hit and striking out three. Jamie Moyer's hip leg injury certainly helps Moscoso's cause, as do the health issues of Jhoulys Chacin and Drew Pomeranz (although they're both being deemed as extremely minor at this point). On the other side of the coin, Alex White may have taken a step back in the race for fifth starter, as he struggled mightily with his command (which may have stemmed from a delivery issue which was causing his pitches to tail over the middle of the plate against lefties) en route to allowing four runs in last night's ballgame.

Predicting the NL West: Colorado Rockies - AZ Snake Pit
Our friends over at AZ Snakepit have posted their season preview for the Rockies. Pretty good read, and some mostly spot-on analysis from Jim. He predicts the Rockies to have a winning record in 2012.

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