Okay, I've got a few things to get out of the way today. For starters, I just want to remind anybody who put money down on the Astros because I said they'd win in seven two things: first, clearly if the 'Stros were to win this series at this point we all pretty much have to be in agreement that seven games is about what's needed, and second, the opinions of Madame Brandi are posted for entertainment purposes only and should in no way be considered... uhm, real.
Anyway, a lot can happen with the change of venue, so don't count Houston out yet. So far, I'm just happy for the very entertaining games and should the Astros come back to win a couple would have to rate this Series pretty high as far as entertainment value is concerned. I am sickened by the behavior of one fan as hopefully most people are, really there's got to be some way we can weed this sort of element out of baseball stadiums.
As far as Rockies news, I guess the big rumor to spring up over the last couple of days is the possible returns of Neifi Perez and Pedro Astacio as reported by Tracy Ringolsby in the News>. As both are being sought for glorified bench roles, I don't have too much problem with bringing these familiar faces back. Any improvement for the Rockies in 2006 won't be coming from the free agent market anyway, although the thought of placing Perez in a "super-utility" role does indicate that the Rockies are looking for Luis Gonzalez to stick as a starter at second next year which is a pretty significant upgrade there from where we started a season ago.
No, most of our anticipated improvement seems to be from hoping certain parts mature into better ballplayers. While I think the Rox are justified in this thought with Brad Hawpe -as this mailbag at the official site indicates- I wonder if much more development will occur elsewhere, particularly the left side of the infield where Atkins and Barmes are gamers, but seemingly limited in their growth potential. And this is all before getting to the rotation, where most of our "if __ occurs, we can compete for the division in 2006," statements come from, and therefore the part of the team we should be most trepiditious about heading into the Spring.
Yesterday in the Arizona Fall League, the Rockies contingent looked fairly weak once more. Jeff Salazar went zero for five with two K's, Jon Asahina was roughed up in starting, and Chris Iannetta was zero for two, but in a good sign for him, did draw two walks. Pitch selection and taking walks have been hallmarks of his game through his minor league career, and in fact one of the early signs of him breaking out of a season opening slump in Modesto was a sudden rise in his walk rate. I hope yesterday leads to a similar breakthrough, although we may have to wait until next Spring to find out for sure as the AFL is winding down.