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Tuesday Rockpile: Ladies and gentlemen, your Wild Card leaders

Let's Get Wild

Once the Rockies won 11 straight under Jim Tracy, one could envision a scenario where the Rockies could climb out of their early season chasm to a playoff spot.  But it's still surreal to see Colorado on top of those Wild Card standings, especially after the hole they were in.

Yet it's true.  The  Rockies hold the wild card.  I'm not going to dwell on the lack of national attention or respect towards the feat (OMG Charlie Manuel's job is safe!) - it doesn't really matter.  Though as Troy E. Renck points out, the crew from "This Week in Baseball" will be filming a show about the Rox this week.  I'd like to take this opportunity to point out the magnitude of the feat just accomplished.  Check out the Wild Card Standings on June 3 and compare them to the current standings in Russ' game wrap last night.

National League Wild Card Standings ON JUNE 3, 2009

St. Louis 30 23 .566 0 Lost 1
New York 28 23 .543 1 Lost 2
Cincinnati 28 24 .538 1.5 Won 1
Chicago 26 25 .510 3 Won1
San Francisco 25 25 .500 3.5 Lost 1
Atlanta 26 26 .500 3.5 Lost 1
San Diego 25 28 .472 5 Lost 3
Florida 25 29 .463 5.5 Lost 1
Pittsburgh 24 28 .462 5.5 Won 2
Houston 23 29 .442 6.5 Won 4
Arizona 23 31 .426 7.5 Lost 2
Colorado 20 32 .385 9.5 Lost 4
Washington 15 36 .294 14 Won 1


That's a leap over 11 teams, making up 9.5 games, in just 41 games played.

So with 69 games left, is it really all that improbable to make up 8 games and pass one team?  I don't think that's necessarily as greedy with 6 games to play between LA and the Rox.  It's certainly leaps and bounds more likely than what we've witnessed the last 41 games. 

BaseballProspectus now gives us a 63% chance of making the playoffs, including 6% of winning the division.  The Giants have plummeted to 15%.

Mark Kiszla points out that the Rockies' success has been their lack of fear, specifically of failure.

Drew Litton's latest cartoon also provides a good perspective.  Find it at, or below.


How sweet it is to be aligned with the man on the left.

Hop after the jump for Rockies News (latest on Embree, weekend rotation shuffle) and nerdy links.

Rox News

Rockies' Embree hopes to return this season - The Denver Post 

"If I don't have any setbacks, I am hoping to be back in September," Embree said.

And if not, would he retire?

"(Heck) no. There's no way I going to end that way," Embree said. "When something like this happens, it makes me realize how much I desire I still have to pitch."

Spilborghs at wife’s side for birth of child : All Things Rockies Colorado
Ryan Spilborghs' could have gotten the start against lefty Doug Davis last night, but he was busy becoming a daddy.  Congratulations to the lucky kid, who will have the coolest dad, and naturally, to the parents.

Marquis’ start moved up to Friday against Giants : All Things Rockies Colorado
Jason Marquis will slide into Friday's slot to pitch the opener of the Giants' series, despite the lingering blister on his middle finger.  Jason Hammel slides back to Friday.  The move keeps Marquis on four days rest, but perhaps more importantly, it pits him against Matt Cain (11-2, 2.32).  Seems like they are aggressively trying to win that game, huh?

Video Library -
Jim Tracy gushes over Todd Helton in a Channel 4 video.


Put your Nerd Hat on

What's wrong with Arizona's Chris Young?  Well, he's striking out too much.  But why?  RJ Anderson at fangraphs says "it's probably nothing more than some umpire-based luck" that he's striking out more than the likes of BJ Upton, Raul Ibanez, Evan Longoria and Matt Kemp.  Hmm.

AZ SnakePit and TrueBlueLA each have Part 2 of the NLWest Roundtable.

BABIP is used to quantify luck in a way, for both hitters and pitchers.  Most assuredly, you would expect some pitchers to have a lower BABIP due to skill rather than luck, however.  After all, if a pitcher consistently locates his slider low and away rather than hanging it up in the zone, one would expect less hits off a weak groundball than a handing breaking ball.  Alex Krowlewski posted a FanPost investigating BABIP, HR/FB, and Batted Ball Type by Pitch Location at Beyond the Box Score.

Lastly, yesterday was the 40 year anniversary of Neil Armstrong landing on the moon.  They had to travel a quarter million miles to get to the moon but didn't go very far once there.  Check out a map of the Apollo 11 landing site superimposed on a baseball diamond.