Since we had some site issues yesterday that precluded us from getting the game wrap up (sorry about that folks), here's a 90 word paragraph synopsis for you:
The Rockies beat the Cubs 9-4 yesterday behind a 17 hit parade, including 9 that went for extra bases. Carlos Gonzalez went 5-5 with two homers to lead the way while Jeff Francis had by far his best outing of the year, going six innings and striking out seven hitters. It was an excellent game for the Rockies offense yesterday, but it was an even better sign to see Francis pitch well. The win pushed Colorado to 21-18 on the season.
Thus far the Rockies have been an extremely pleasant surprise, but it's what happens the rest of this month (and the decisions that the front office make) that will determine if they are anything more than that this year. Echoing Bryan Kilpatrick and Patrick Saunders yesterday, Colorado is at a very important juncture in their season - a tipping point if you will - with 10 straight games against erstwhile divisional contenders San Francisco and Arizona.
After all, we've got basically a quarter of the season in the books and sample sizes are becoming a little more statistically significant. We've all seen that Juan Nicasio doesn't have the secondary stuff right now that is necessary to succeed as a major league starting pitcher. We've seen, outside of last night, the struggles of Jeff Francis. And we've seen the frustrating lack of production from Colorado's redundant bench infielders, Reid Brignac and Jonathan Herrera.
The Rockies have repeatedly said that they want to play their best 25 players - it was used as justification for bringing up Charlie Blackmon instead of Tyler Colvin a few days ago, among other things.
So why are Tyler Chatwood or Drew Pomeranz (or both) not in the starting rotation after the repeated struggles of Nicasio, Francis, and even Jon Garland? Both of those gentlemen have excelled at AAA and in Chatwood's case, the majors too. I can understand not wanting to pull the plug completely on Francis given his history with the team and his dominant start last night, but his leash has to be short at this point.
Jonathan Herrera and Reid Brignac are another matter entirely. Neither of them has been especially good this year and there's a much better replacement at AAA in DJ LeMahieu, plus it can (and should) be argued that Colorado really needs only one back-up middle infielder - why not bring up Colvin as well to add some more punch to the lineup?
The Rockies have a real opportunity to do something great in 2013 - let's hope the front office can truly get the best players on the roster so that the Rockies can make the best of that opportunity.
As you may know, the Rockies hold the 3rd pick in the 2013 MLB Draft, which will be held June 6th-8th. Purple Row will be hosting quite a bit of draft coverage as the event approaches, but if you just want to familiarize yourself with the next Rockies first round pick, this note on presumptive 3rd overall pick Kris Bryant, a 3B from San Diego, will give you a decent idea of what to expect (POWER). And here's another piece from the NY Times on Bryant.
With Nicasio and Francis struggling, Colorado's offense has more pressure placed upon them to produce. Dante Bichette isn't worried about that happening.
This notes piece by Thomas Harding has a few tidbits:
- Juan Nicasio is still scheduled to start on Saturday vs. the Giants at home. It might be Nicasio's last chance to stay in the rotation.
- Roy Oswalt pitched well in extended spring training - he's expected to join AA Tulsa as soon as next week with a likely MLB slot next month.
- DJ LeMahieu has not only been killing the ball in AAA, he's also been playing an acceptable shortstop. Colorado can't keep him down much longer.