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Monday Morning Rockpile:

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Patrick Saunders at the Denver Post has some encouraging news from Rodrigo Lopez's B game outing yesterday:

"He cruised," said one scout, who consistently clocked Lopez at 88-91 mph.

The right-hander pitched the final seven innings, allowing two runs on five hits. He struck out four and walked none. Lopez retired 12 straight and 15 of 16 at one point before allowing a run in the ninth. Most important, he kept the ball down, something he's struggled to do much of the spring.

Also in the article is some praise for Manny Corpas, as well as a constructively critical look from pitching coach Bob Apodaca. Corpas seems to be inching ahead of Ramon Ramirez at this point in
the final pitching decision of the Spring, barring a trade of BK.

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Tracy Ringolsby at the Rocky Mountain News, meanwhile, shows why we really really want Cory Sullivan and Clint Barmes to succeed, reporting on their positive attitudes in the face of what must be a pretty crushing decision the team had to make with them in sending them to AAA.

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Finally, in the interest of fairness, I received an e-mail rebuttal of my Saturday morning post on THT's Five Questions for the Rockies from author David Gassko, which I will print most of here with his points -minus the introductory and concluding paragraphs which were more of a "take it easy Rox Girl" nature- I guess I probably came off a little strong:

First of all, I take it from your tone that you think I hate the Rockies or something along the lines. I don't; while my first love is the Boston Red Sox, I find myself rooting for the Rockies as well, and you should note, my preview last year was not nearly so pessimistic ( http://www.hardballtimes.com/main/article/five-questions-colorado-rockies1/). Anyways, I tried to provide as fair a take as possible on Colorado's outlook for 2007, which I frankly think is pretty bleak (though not hopeless).

To address some of your specific criticisms, first, I have to admit I don't follow the team as closely as you, so it's quite possible I made some mistakes. However, my general impression has been that O'Dowd has continually instituted new plans, and those plans have continually failed. Maybe over the past couple years, he has been more consistent, but things like the Helton saga make me feel that they haven't. Here's what the Helton trade talks told me: First of all, O'Dowd has no idea if he's in re-building mode or not. If he is, then get whatever you can for Helton, save payroll, and move on. If he isn't, there's no way you should even contemplate trading one of the key players on your team. And secondly, if the Rockies were thinking of trading Helton, then why did they send Ryan Shealy packing last season? It seems to me that there is no master plan to speak of, and the Rockies are moving about a little like a chicken with its head cut off.

As for the prospects, I think we'll just have to agree to disagree, because I don't see how I can convince you otherwise. My impression is that the Rockies have two good, but not great prospects in Tulowitzki and Iannetta (though I actually like Tulowitzki quite a bit), and a bunch of uncertainty beyond that. For a team that has endured so much losing, their farm system should be a lot more loaded than it is (though admittedly, it has graduated some very good players the past few years).


I replied myself to his reply, and I'll probably post my points there in the comments to this thread.