OK so honestly I'm still not sure how to react to Troy Tulowitzki's injury aside from the fact that I'm really not a fan. It sucks that Tulo went down. It sucks something awful. The fact that Tulo is now out of the lineup means that we are featuring the leftiest bunch of remaining "starters" out of roughly everyone ever. I'm not considering Chris Nelson or Johnny Herrera here. I mean that now with Tulo out of the middle of the lineup, the recognizable names are now: LHB Todd Helton, LHB Brad Hawpe, LHB Ian Stewart, LHB Carlos Gonzalez, LHB Seth Smith (well, "recognizable"), and RHP Miguel Olivo. Tremble, right-handers.
Fact is that no matter his handedness, it's going to hurt not having our leader, shortstop, and cleanup hitter playing for roughly 2 months. In his absence, sure, we have depth, but the entire team is going to have to hunker down.
Here is a list of players who have hunkered down thus far (read: 3 games):
RHP Jason Hammel. On the day of the destruction, Hammel pitched 7.1 innings of 8-hit-shutout ball, striking out 4, walking 2. Of course, a real pitcher would strike out 8 and walk 2 and not have to rely on his defense, but who's counting. Consider him hunkered.
RHP Aaron Cook. Sunday, after receiving numerous lacerations of the parchment variety (which equated to getting his left leg sawed off) vs Minnesota, Cook twirled 7 innings of 3-hit ball, allowing 1 run, striking out 5, walking 4. Also 12 groundouts to 4 flyouts. Another hunkerer.
2B/SS Johnny Herrera has hit 6-for-12 while playing 2B to Clint Barmes' SS. Might as well dub him Iverson, because he is clearly The Answer. The difference in his case is that nobody really knows what the question is, but I'll be damned if batting .500 doesn't sate everyone's curiosity. That's some fine hunkering there.
LF Seth Smith went 2-for-6 with a bomb. Milwaukee's bullpen has tried to bring the hunkerbusters but they've hardly phased Smith.
RF Brad Hawpe is slowly trying to make some noise among the clamor of the "Hawpe's 2nd half is staritng early" crowd, and he's gone 4-for-11 in the Milwaukee series. Brad Hunker, bring it on.
Click past the jump for whose hunkering could use some work.
Here is a list of players who have NOT hunkered down thus far:
1B Todd "beat that dead horse" Helton hasn't done much other than continue digging. He's gone 1-for-9 with 4 strikeouts and zero walks since Tulo went down. That's kind of the story of Todd Helton this season (except it's more like 2-for-9 with 4 strikeouts on average) and if anyone needs to do something to be productive, it's him. Do you know what the opposite of hunkering down is? Pressing.
RHP Manny Corpas was clearly so spooked by the fall of his 2007 co-star that he's sniveled his ERA up about 2 entire runs and allowed 8 runs in his past 0.2 innings pitched. Maybe Milwaukee just hates him or something. You see though, when you're properly hunkered down, hatred just glances off of you. Unless that glancing is a kicksave that wrecks a double play, and then it's clearly a non-hunker situation.
3B Ian Stewart has gone 1-for-9 in the wake of Tulo's wrist and his OPS has dropped to .741 on the season. He's had a positive WPA only 3 of the 13 games he's played in June. That isn't going to get it done, Ian. Hunker down, Ian.
Here is a list of players who haven't hunkered, but haven't NOT hunkered either, so they kind of get a "meh" rating.
SS Clint Barmes - yes, SS, because I really don't think we'll see him at 2B again (barring weird doubleswitches) until August - has also gone 1-for-9, but the reason he's not a non-hunkerer is that he's back over at SS and honestly, the defense in the 6 hasn't missed a beat. Want to hear my dirty little secret? I like Barmes' SS fielding more than Tulo's. Tulo's is far more incredible, but when Barmes ranges way to his right to make a play, he plants, and makes an incredibly clean throw across the diamond. Don't get me wrong, it's not as if Tulowitzki's lollipop bombs from the LF foul like aren't on the money or anything, but they terrify me. Barmes seems so much more mechanical (and please, read ALL emphasis into the word "seems", because I refuse to back any of this up with anything other than gut feelings) and such. During the 1st inning on Saturday night, when Barmes fielded that double play and avoided the takeout slide, he just made a nice little leprechaun hop and threw out the runner, while Tulo tends to make that sprawling-both-legs-flailing-while-falling-down throw. Again, it gets the job done, and it's so much more dramatic, but if I know that I'm putting an all-glove-zero-bat guy in the lineup, I want him to look like a fielding robot. BarmesTron's fielding is well-hunkered. Clint Barmes' bat is like Helton, and further digging a foxhole.
OF Ryan Spilborghs has gone 2-for-11 since Tulo was missing. Granted, he's had to kind of focus on fielding CF or something like that, but seriously man, you just got all hot and began hitting well, WAT HAPPEN. Not hunkertastic. That said, he kind of gets the same pass that Barmes gets, because he has to hold down CF unexpectedly.
OF Carlos Gonzalez hasn't sucked, but he hasn't been great, either. In fact, he hasn't played at all. I said hunker down, Carlos, not duck-and-cover. Now get out from under the bench.
LHP Jeff Francis posted a Quality Start on Saturday night, striking out 5, walking none, going 6.1 innings and allowing 3 earned runs (4 total). I'll take that. Not bad hunkering, Jeff, but a real pitcher hunkers more.
Ok now that I have used the word "hunker" probably more than any other sportswriter ever has, let's post some links and news and other cool things. Disclaimer: Cool is relative.
This is mostly just a repeat of news and notes we've seen already, but here's the highlights: The rotation has performed admirably over the last run-through, Street could be activated for the Boston series, and Johnny Herrera's 4-for-5 night earned him the start on Sunday. He got another hit. Spot on, Johnny. However, does anyone else see a bit of an inconsistency here?
Yep, Huston Street got kicked while getting lit up in the Springs. He also apparently was getting squeezed. So Street had a word with the ump. Ump didn't like the word. Ump tosses Street. Street claims he didn't have a potty mouth. Hm. Well, I sure hope you can overcome being squeezed when you get up here, Huston.
I've seen this mentioned a few places, but Dexter Fowler hit for the cycle in AAA Colorado Springs. That's pretty cool. I still don't think he's fixed his problems, but I guess we should call him up sometime soon. Who gets demoted/cut?
More news and links later this morning.