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Wednesday Rockpile: Poor National (Ball) Security Helps Rockies

Oh, the places you'll go! There is fun to be done!
There are points to be scored. there are games to be won.
And the magical things you can do with that ball
will make you the winning-est winner of all.
Fame! You'll be famous as famous can be,
with the whole wide world watching you win on TV.

Except when they don't.
Because, sometimes, they won't.

I'm afraid that some times
you'll play lonely games too.
Games you can't win
'cause you'll play against you.

All Alone!
Whether you like it or not,
Alone will be something
you'll be quite a lot.

Oh the Places You'll Go, Dr. Seuss.

The Rockies (44-39) won an error-filled, gift-wrapped game 5-4 over the hapless Washington Nationals (24-57). For the most part, the Nationals seemed to be playing against themselves, contending to see who could blow the game first and most creatively.

Willie Harris, perhaps too used to playing in the outfield, eschewed wearing a cup--which predictably turned a routine grounder to second into a painful incident and ultimately two Rockies runs that tied the game in the fourth. Then there was Cristian Guzman (he who is among the last five for the All-Star team slot) just flat out missing a routine chance to short in the seventh. And finally, Joe Beimel came on with two on and one out, got an easy comebacker, and promptly threw it past the base, enabling the Rockies to eventually push across the go-ahead run.

This on a night in which Washington left five runners in scoring position with two outs (six runners stranded from the sixth on), against a pitcher (Jason Hammel) who admitted "It could've been really bad. I honestly had nothing -- fastball all over the place, couldn't even get to the off-speed stuff because I couldn't locate a fastball."

Credit the Rockies though: they took advantage of two out of the three chances given by the Nationals' errors. In addition, Colorado's bullpen, anchored by the return of Franklin Morales, was nails: five men combined for 3.1 scoreless innings, giving up only two hits. Morales provides the possibility of a power arm, a long man, and a LOOGY--in other words, he's a valuable commodity to have in the bullpen.

Perhaps the most remarkable element of an unusual win by the Rockies was the fact that Alan Embree's mere presence was sufficient to cause Austin Kearns to fall on his face on the basepaths as he was picked off--meaning that in his winning effort Embree never actually threw a pitch. It was only the second time in recorded history (since 1986, when STATS, Inc. starting keeping track) that this had occurred.

Rowbots (and Rowbettes), you just witnessed history last night--the kind of history that, when you took the strange game into context, oddly made sense. Troy Renck likened it to a circus, a particularly apt description.

More news and analysis after the jump...

Local Media

Franklin Morales is happy to be back. Also mentioned in the article is speculation that the Red Sox could trade for Garrett Atkins due to Mike Lowell's injury. I hope that such a deal can get done, because Boston has a surplus of bullpen arms from which to deal from.

On a sour note, Rockies bullpen prospect (and member of the 40 man roster) Ryan Mattheus needs Tommy John surgery, knocking him out of the picture for the near future. The article does mention that star prospect Christian Friedrich is working his way back into the starting rotation of Modesto after suffering left elbow inflammation.

Draft Update

As Rox Girl noted yesterday, the Rockies signed 34th overall pick Rex Brothers as well as second-rounder Nolan Arenado and third rounder Ben Paulsen. Troy Renck has more on these prospects, while Baseball America's Jim Callis notes that Brothers and Paulsen both signed slightly above their slot recommendation.

Brothers signed for $969,000 (slot $918k) while Paulsen was inked for $391,000 (slot $387k).

For more information on these prospects, see my previous Purple Row post that links to scouting reports and video of the prospects.

National Media

Ken Rosenthal chimes in with notes on Jason Hammel, Everth Cabrera, Clint Barmes, the Rockies' schedule, and Eric Young, Jr. Rosenthal ponders Barmes for Matt Capps--a deal that I would do in a New York minute.

Two methods of power rankings: Larry Dobrow of CBSSports puts the Rockies eighth while Nino Colla of the Bleacher Report groups teams by class, placing the Rockies squarely in the middle.