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Tuesday Rockpile: Gatekeeper to the Playoffs....Jeff Francis?

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That is it.  Yesterday was 2010's final off day.  That means no more debates about Ian Stewart's off-day itenerary, no more crestfallen jokes, and no more opportunities to stretch out the prize horses in the bullpen.  More importantly, it means that, barring Jim Tracy bringing back a starter on short rest, the starting rotation is set for the rest of the year.

That is significant.

Troy E. Renck and Sportsclubstats agree.  The Rockies need to go 10-3 to make the postseason.  Just three losses.  With a very weary pitching staff top to bottom, that's a tall task, even for a team that is easily the most talked about third place team in the sport.

Going 10-3 means going 3-1 in St. Louis, 2-1 this weekend against the Giants and 5-1 vs the Dodgers and Diamondbacks.  Even that doesn't guarantee anything.  

"I am concerned," Hammel said. "I want to be out there, but I also want to be able to pitch better than this." - Renck

Jason Hammel is evidently tired, sick, confidence shot all to hell.  With 13 games left, he gets just two starts.  As does Jhoulys Chacin.  That means the Rockies will put three starters on the hill thrice more in 2010:  Jorge de la Rosa, Ubaldo Jimenez and.....Jeff Francis.

"You feel strong, but sometimes your location isn't as sharp," Jeff Francis, speaking about a 9-day layoff between starts, via Renck

It is possible Tracy could bring back Chacin on short rest for the season finale if it proves meaningful, but otherwise, the Rockies must go 2-1 in Francis' remaining starts (@ARI, vsLAD, @STL) to avoid the rest of the staff having to finish 9-1.  There could be a lot riding on that tired arm.

Fortunately, the game isn't just about pitching though, and the Rockies will profile well against Arizona and Los Angeles' pitching staffs at Chase and Coors.  Colorado inexplicably owns St. Louis home or road of late, and they get the Giants at Coors Field.  It doesn't hurt that, four days before the series at Coors, the San Francisco Chronicle is freaking out about the humidor again.  It is definitely doable, but the Rockies need a little Matt Belisle/Chris Nelson to rub off on The Physicist.

Rockies' Street praises Dotel - The Denver Post - I'm a bit surprised this storyline didn't get picked up more at the time of the trade.  I suppose it is because when Dotel played in Oakland five years ago, it was also EIGHT TEAMS ago.  But when Huston Street broke into the big leagues with the Athletics, he was the heir to the closer position, which was then held by Octavio Dotel.

"He was a real mentor. He knew they were grooming me to take his closer's job, and he could not have been better to me...He was a friend, someone who really helped me understand the mental side of the pro game." Huston Street on Octavio Dotel, via Renck



Rockies' Tulowitzki named NL player of the week, again - The Denver Post I think this gives Tulo the inside track to NL Player of the Month.  Probably.


Satchel Price Beyond the Boxscore will also likely weigh later today in on the Rockies' likely non-tender candidates this offseason.