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Thursday Morning Rockpile:

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I'm still kind of surprised that Chris Iannetta's getting no love from a lot of Rockies fans, if the game thread from last night is to be believed.

I wouldn't bring him up two days in a row, if I thought the message was getting through, but apparently to some people it's not. I can understand unnamed scouts who have a bee in their bonnet about him, but we should know better. After drawing two more walks yesterday, Iannetta now sports a .362 OBP. Only twice in the team's history has the most frequently used backstop topped that figure, in 1996 when Jeff Reed got on board at a .365 clip, and in 2000 when Brent Mayne sported a .381 OBP. Iannetta should pass both of those marks in the next couple of weeks if he keeps up with the same pace he's been on of late. Plus, if you've followed his minor league career, you'll know that the walks are a leading indicator of his bat. He's scored in four straight games and would be on pace for forty-five this season if he started 100 games, that's the most since Joe Girardi. I believe he'd easily be able to challenge Joe's 1995 total of 63 if given regular playing time. Chris has to be evaluated on the macro level, don't let the trees of single at bats fool you that he's not contributing.

Question: Who is to blame for our poor start?

Answer:

  1. Garrett Atkins and Brad Hawpe - Two big offensive contributors haven't shown up to the party yet.
  2. Jeff Francis - he's given bottom of the rotation production from a top of the rotation slot.
  3. Kaz Matsui and Rodrigo Lopez - for not being here. Lopez we got as an innings eater to replace Jennings, Kaz was supposed to be our starting second baseman.
  4. Willy Taveras - earlier in the season he was higher on this list.
  5. Clint Hurdle - He's too much of a scapegoat for irate fans, but he's not blameless, either.
  6. Jamey Carroll - Our primary bench role was supposed to contribute more.
  7. Jeff Baker - ditto
  8. John Mabry and Steve Finley - Our secondary bench roles were supposed to contribute more.
  9. LaTroy Hawkins and Byung Hyun Kim - again they aren't contributing at the level we needed from the roles they were supposed to have, whether that expectation of contribution was warranted or not.
  10. Aaron Cook - hasn't been an ace, but he hasn't struggled as much as Francis.
Everybody else has pretty much fallen in line with expectations -or gone above them- even if they've taken circuitous routes to get there.

When Matsui does return, the lineup might become an issue, as we have a couple of guys that have thrived in the second slot, and not many that have done well lower down in the order. Iannetta should be moved back to eighth, but who do you drop from the Taveras/Matsui/Tulo group? I'm probably crazy, but I would leave them just like that:

  1. Willy T
  2. Kaz Mat
  3. Tulo
  4. Helton
  5. Holliday
  6. Hawpe
  7. Atkins
  8. Iannetta
At least until Garrett proves himself ready of moving back up. Discuss...