July 13, 2012; Denver, CO, USA; Colorado Rockies manager Jim Tracy (4) greets shortstop Josh Rutledge (14) after his first major league game against the Philadelphia Phillies at Coors Field. Rutledge recorded two hits and two RBIs during the game. The Rockies won 6-2. Mandatory Credit: Chris Humphreys-US PRESSWIRE
I don't mind having to write this every Saturday, whatsoever. Last night was another rare solid one for the Rockies and their fanbase, as young players who are key to the team's future success came up big. Christian Friedrich made a bunch of decent-to-good veteran hitters look absolutely befuddled, while Josh Rutledge made a huge impact in his first-ever big league game. Other less-celebrated guys who are seemingly part of the club's plans going forward were good last night as well. Michael Cuddyer, who could be manning first base for a LONG time depending on how long Todd Helton stays on the DL (more on that below), had two hits, as did Jordan Pacheco, who is a strong candidate to fill a utility role for the next several years. And, of course, there was Carlos Gonzalez, who be right here and in the thick of things for years to come. CarGo had three hits on the night, effectively picking up right where he left off at the All-Star break.
Nights like last night were fun. Not to be a buzzkill, but they'll still likely be the exception while this season plays out in terms of actual in-game performance. However there's a lot of developing stories to be excited about (or at the very least, intrigued). One theoretically could happen within a matter of days, as the Braves are looking for a veteran shortstop, and the Rockies happen to have a couple that may fit the bill in Marco Scutaro and Jonathan Herrera. In addition, Ramon Hernandez came off the DL last night and was promptly inserted into the lineup, most likely to showcase him to other teams who are in need of a catcher at the deadline, such as the Mets.
In short, even if the Rockies go on to lose 100 games (which I don't think will happen, even as much as all of those #RoadTo100, um, people, would disagree), the latter part of this year is shaping up to at least be watchable, even if off-the-field reasons have a lot more to do with it than the product on the field.
Links after the jump...
Slumping Todd Helton placed on 15-day disabled list with hip pain - The Denver Post
In his healthy years, Todd Helton has been, at best, a top two or three hitter in the league and at worst, a ridiculous doubles and on-base machine. However, in his unhealthy years (2008, 2010), he has been a mere shadow of himself. 2012 has been no different, as Todd has been nagged by hip and back injuries on his way to a .235/.332/.398 line - with the first two parts of that triple slash line being the worst of his career to date. His OPS+ of 85 is also a career-low, despite having batted ball percentages that would suggest better numbers than that.
While luck has done Helton no favors, he's also clearly mired in pain. Here's a guy who came back from near retirement at the end of the 2008 season to have an MVP-caliber year (2009) and another solidly above-average one (2011). That alone tells me he probably has just enough left in the tank to give us one more of those if he heals up properly.
Moss: Ryan Garvey up to challenge of filling dad's big cleats - The Denver Post
Irv Moss profiles Ryan Garvey who, despite having a dad that made a name for himself playing for California teams, grew up wanting to be drafted by the Rockies. The Park City, Utah native is "not one of those beach boys." Garvey is hitting .306 with a couple of homers in his first pro season.