May 30, 2012; Denver, CO, USA; Colorado Rockies second baseman DJ LeMahieu (9) fields a ball during the seventh inning against the Houston Astros at Coors Field. Mandatory Credit: Chris Humphreys-US PRESSWIRE
The Rockies clobbered Houston yesterday, but the win may have come at a price, as Troy Tulowitzki aggravated a nagging left groin injury. Tulo doesn't know yet if he'll require a DL stint. If he does go on the disabled list, DJ LeMahieu, who could have been expected to return to AAA Colorado Springs with Chris Nelson's imminent return will get a reprieve. For the team, LeMahieu plus Nelson is obviously a step down in production from Tulowitzki plus anybody, so the Rockies may need the good fortune of a well timed hot streak of an otherwise forgettable player to make up for it, and with the usual answer to that call (Jonathan Herrera, of course) already on the shelf, the pressure may be on the team's other utility infielders over the next couple of weeks.
The team's well aged 2012 curiosity, Jamie Moyer, has been designated for assignment and is expected to depart the organization, which will leave the rotation virtually unrecognizable to most in the national media. This embrace of a rebuilding year should be a good thing for the Rockies given the direction their season has gone, the young starters need to be accelerated in their development, and the only way to do that is to give them plenty of innings to learn the nuances of pitching in the majors and at Coors Field in particular. On that note and as a brief aside, I don't know if any reasoned person who cares for the future of the franchise's pitchers would actually suggest something like this, but to those without reason, I will say that turning off the humidor is a very bad idea right now. Particularly since Coors Field in 2012 is already playing like the humidor has malfunctioned.
While some are already seeing this as a death knell to the aged one's career, Jamie Moyer himself says that he's not yet ready to hang up the cleats.
The team's three game win streak against the Astros provides merely a nice balm at the end of the month for the deep wound that was suffered at the beginning. The needed operation to save hope for the season, however, would entail quite a bit more, something like the streak that was started in Houston, June 4, 2009, or maybe something a bit beyond the seven game win streak in late May 2007 that led in to a solid summer before the miraculous finish.
My point here would be that while the first part of May has been a traditionally painful time to be a Rockies fan, we're now getting into a stretch where it's traditionally pretty good to be a Rockies fan. The schedule doesn't make it any easier this year, but then again, it's not like the Rockies had patsies on their schedules those seasons either and frankly, the series in Philadelphia and Detroit are looking a lot more manageable than they did at the beginning of the season.
The team signed Michael Cuddyer in the offseason to a very large contract, and while not being unproductive, Cuddyer can't really be considered "worth" it yet, either, given that a couple of the available alternatives at the time (Josh Willingham and Carlos Beltran for two) are performing better, and one (Willingham,) is doing so at a considerably cheaper rate. The one hindsight comparison Cuddyer may have in his favor would be to the "keep Seth Smith and sign Andruw Jones or Jonny Gomes as a platoon partner" idea, but even that comp looks dubious for Cuddyer if you give weight to FanGraphs' UZR defensive rankings as a component of WAR. I have a hard time completely buying that he's less valuable than the Smith/Gomes platoon in Oakland, but at the same time, Cuddyer certainly hasn't added as much yet in the "intangible" department as the team felt he could.