Sorry about the delay on the Rockpile this morning, everyone, it's Russ' morning, but seeing how he's in Sicily or Mars or wherever he is, and none of our other astute writers (including myself) stepped up to take it, we're scrambling! This is full disclosure Purple Row. At least as far as today's Rockpile goes.
Francis' rehab start in Tulsa went well enough. He threw 74 pitches, pitched 4 2/3 innings, allowed a 2-run homer, walked 2, struck out 3. Overall, I give it a "meh". He needs to stay with Tulsa a bit longer IMO.
Jason Hammel will be making a rehab start with the Sky Sox tonight. Assuming success and awesomeness and such, Hammel may be back by Wednesday v. Philly.
Brad Hawpe started in a rehab capacity with Modesto, going 1-for-4 with a double and 2 punchouts.
Basically, Franklin Morales is losing ground as closer, Rafael Betancourt is looking better, Manuel Corpas is making ground toward retaking the 9th, Taylor Buchholz looked good in relief rehab and Huston Street may be beginning a rehab assignment next week. Reinforcements are on the way!
Much as we've beaten this topic into the ground, we're seeing some confirmation on it. Manny Corpas is throwing strikes, Franklin Morales is not, but while manager Jim Tracy won't confirm that Corpas is taking the closer role, he's pretty much the closer.
"I will say this, we need to throw strikes in that spot," Tracy said. "And all Manny did was pound the strike zone."
"He's been amazing. A life saver," reliever Matt Daley said. "He's my new favorite player."
As if there wasn't enough to love about Ubaldo Jimenez, he also loves his mother. It seems his family is up here a lot, and his mama's a good cook. In fact, there are RECIPES in this article. Seriously, make sure this kid never leaves the Colorado Rockies.
Bottom line of this article is that Todd Helton has done nothing but hit singles this year, and it's not really great, and he acknowledges it.
"I (stink)," said Helton, when asked to assess his season.
They are claiming it's mechanical, I'm pointing to a trick back. Renck says it's this:
So what has caused the outage? Helton said he's dealing with a mechanical glitch. Without getting too technical, it comes down to this: He's consistently stepping out with his front foot against right-handed pitchers, forcing him to hit the ball deeper in the strike zone than he wants, sapping his power. That has led to a wrist-flip swing.
What kind of made me laugh is this:
But Helton's lack of production has already forced Tracy's hand; the manager dropped the slugger to fifth in the batting order for two games in the Giants series last weekend.
Maybe it's just my method of lineup construction, but that's actually WORSE for the lineup. You want your 5-hole guy to be one of your top-5 OPS/wOBA hitters, but the one who's most drastically SLG driven(see: Stewart, Ian). The SABR lineup has your 5th best hitter in the 3-hole, as that person actually has the fewest opportunities to drive runs across the plate. 2 and 4 are supposed to be your premium hitters.
The top-5 in the SABR lineup are your 5 best wOBA hitters, organized like this:
1. Your most extreme high-OBP-low-SLG guy
2. One of your top 2 hitters, the one who is more OBP driven than SLG driven
3. Your 5th best hitter
4. The other of your top 2 hitters, the one who is more SLG driven than OBP driven
5. Your most extreme low-OBP-high-SLG guy
Then you just juggle your bottom 4 however. And bat the pitcher 8th with a speed burner in the 9 who just has trouble getting on base enough to put him in the leadoff spot.
ANYHOW that's enough of me for one day. Thanks for your patience, and let's grill the Dodgers tonight!