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Tuesday Rockpile: The Rise of Troy

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Prince Troy, Queen Helen and I salute you

Sadly, I missed last night's game.  I was out celebrating the landing of a new job and didn't witness a second, but I hear our shortstop had a pretty special night.

For the second straight night, the Rockies pounded Chicago pitching while abandoning Cubs all over the bases.  But of course, that wasn't the story line. Troy Tulowitzki hit for cycle, becoming the fifth Rockie to hit for the cycle (all at home) and the eighth in Coors Field history.  No other MLB park has seen more than five since 1995.

A quick glance at the Rockies history book shows Rockies fans were spoiled, witnessing four cycles in barely a two year span before Tulowitzki ended the home team's nine-year drought.  Some other facts from Tulo's big day:

  • He was the first shortstop in MLB history to go 5-for-5 with 7 RBI.
  • He became the first NL player with an unassisted triple play and a cycle in his career.  John Valentin of the Red Sox is the only AL player with the feat.
  • A prospective grand slam was called a foul ball and was the first replay reviewed utilized in a Rockies or Cubs game.  Due to inconclusive replay, the call was sustained as a foul ball.  Had it been a grand slam, ignoring the butterfly effect for fun, he would have still had the cycle, two home runs, and 9 RBI.  No Blake Street Bomber ever achieved 9 RBI in a game.
  • As it stood, the 7 RBI was Tulowitzki's career high.
  • In truth, Tulo's triple was a function of the Cubs' continuously poor fielding and a bit of a homer scoring call.  Guys don't triple down the left field line unless they are Dexter Fowler.
  • The cycle was the sixth in MLB this year and just the second in the NL.
  • Tulowitzki's ranks among NL MLB shortstops:  HR (1st), RBI (3rd), BBs (2nd), SLG% (3rd), SBs (6th), wOBA (3rd), WAR (5th).  All of that in spite of a .305 BABIP, which is below MLB average for shortstops and 35+ points below the only shortstops that challenge him in the above statistics.  Good thing we didn't trade him.  If he had a line drive rate even as good as Asdrubal Cabrera....

You can thank Brad Hawpe, who went 1-for-5, for the cycle feat.  From Troy Renck:

The 24-year-old shortstop was a triple shy of the cycle. Hit a ball behind an outfielder, Hawpe said, and there's no stopping.

"I swear I wouldn't have gone if he hadn't said anything," Tulowitzki said. "It was craziest thing that has ever happened."

The way the nearly grand slam instant replay was handled inspired a new Mark Kiszla rant.  He spends most of the piece stating that baseball is way beyond the curve technologically with these things and that they need to progress significantly.  He then backtracks at the end, aided by a Tulo quote, saying "Human error is part of what makes sports such compelling drama...All we're asking is: If baseball is going to employ instant replay, at least try to do it right."

A USATODAY piece points out a trend Rockies fans have come to notice:  as Tulo goes, so do the Rockies.

Other Rockies News

What kind of encore can the Rockies have for last night?  How about an MLB starting debut for their top prospect?  Jhoulys Chacin will get the start tonight against Ross Ohlendorf and the Pirates with a pitch count of 70-75.  Jim Tracy actually had more confidence in Josh Fogg, and that's why Chacin gets the start.  Should Chacin blow up and Tracy need to utilize a reliever to bite the bullet and pitch multiple innings, the Rox manager was more comfortable with the erstwhile Dragon Slayer taking on that job.

Courtesy of an article by Harry Pavladis of BtB from two weeks ago, here is a literal pitch tracking image of Jhoulys Chacin's pitches:


Aaron Cook saw a foot specialist for the sprain and inflammation in his right big toe - his push-off foot.  Cook will throw Thursday in a bullpen session but for now seems on course to start Saturday in Florida

If Troy is Tulo Jit to Quit, then maybe Seth Smith is "Too Legit to Sit."  Troy Renck addresses the Rockies almost too deep outfield issue in his latest mailbag, essentially stating that Ryan Spilborghs will move on after this year (big surprise) and that Seth Smith doomed himself by succeeding as a pinch-hitter. 

Dexter Fowler made a tremendous catch last night, crashing into the wall in the ninth to make the grab, sealing a spot in ESPN's top plays.  Such a play is scary for the Rockies centerfielder, who broke his right hand crashing into the wall.  No broken bones this time.  He bruised his knee and likely will sit tonight but should be fine.

Torrealba hits hot streak, gets chance to start - The Denver Post
Yorvit got consecutive starts for the first time since Iannetta was on the disabled list, nine weeks ago.  He claims he is "200% mentally" right now.  Also in the article, Greg Reynolds won't pitch anymore this year and will likely go to the instructional league after the season to overhaul his delivery.  Manuel Corpas will play catch today in the first step for his attempted return next month.

In terms of scoreboard watching, the Dodgers beat the Giants last night, giving the Rockies sole possession of the wild card but keeping them 5.5 games out of first in the NL West.  Randy Wolf faces Joe Martinez tonight at 8:05 MDT.