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Thursday Rockpile: Rockies whining, Fowler debuts

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From Troy Renck this morning:

The players were disappointed by O'Dowd's comments, viewing them as a concession speech at a time when they were still contenders.

Contenders? Just because a team is within a few games of the division leader in the least impressive division in baseball doesn't make them contenders. Contenders don't lollygag for the first three months of the season before deciding to get serious about what they're paid to do. Whether they believe it or not, Rockies players wrote their own concession speech months before O'Dowd said anything. Look no further than the records against the top two teams in each NL division:

  • Philadelphia 0-5
  • New York 3-6
  • Chicago 1-5
  • Milwaukee 4-3
  • Los Angeles 7-8
  • Arizona 2-10

In 54 games, the Rockies are exactly 20 games below .500 against the NL's best. Do they really want us to believe that they have shown any measure of contending quality this season? I'm sorry this is just foolishness.The players need to quit whining and realize that their chance of proving themselves more than pretenders in 2008  has long since past.

Now, I'm not saying O'Dowd's faultless, his pitching personnel decisions since last October continue to prove themselves wrong up to and including last night. His rebuild for 2009 has to be more effective. In that sense, I'm glad that we've fallen too far back to pretend we've got a shot for the playoffs in that we're getting some more extensive looks at possible players for next season, starting with the leadoff slot last night:

  • Fowler
  • Baker
  • Holliday
  • Hawpe
  • Atkins
  • Stewart
  • Iannetta
  • Tulowitzki

So Fowler's starting debut didn't prove to be all that impressive, an infield single was all he could muster in five at bats with a display of his plus arm, but just getting him as many at bats as possible against MLB pitching might be the best course of action for the Rockies to determine where his true current talent level lies. I for one am hoping he gets as many PA's as possible over our last games.

The lineup construction continues to show flaws outside the leadoff slot, however as Hurdle had Jeff Baker, of the .311 OBP batting second. This burial of quality bats like Ian Stewart and Chris Iannetta serves as an instant rally killer before the game even begins. For anecdotal proof, just go to the seventh inning of last night to see what having high OBP hitters near the top of the order can accomplish. Stewart leads off with a homer, Iannetta walks and a four run rally starts. The top of the first? Two strikeouts before Matt Holliday hits his single. Rally dead. Hopefully next season we don't have to have the out drag that Baker, or Willy Taveras or Clint Barmes represent playing a starting role most days so this point will be moot, but right now limiting the exposure of the team's best hitters isn't helping matters.