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Sunday Rockpile: Rocktober 2010, coming to an auditorium near you

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On Rocktober 2010

It's still doable at least as far as the NL West is concerned, but winning today is extremely important on that front. The Rockies had a similar "it's extremely important to win today" moment at home against the Phillies on Thursday, but failed to capitalize and pretty much sealed the door shut on any dreams of the wild card. With home series against both the Giants and Padres yet to come and with those two teams also having to face each other seven times plus the Dodgers and D-backs lurking as spoilers, teams that have mismatches over another in the division (as the Rockies apparently do against Padres) will have somewhat of an advantage.

The Rockies need to figure out the Diamondbacks, as a .500 record against them isn't going to cut it at the end of the season. Also, beating the Dodgers in Los Angeles would help.

Renck's assessment overlooks the rest of the Rockies starting rotation, which has proven to be October ready.

 

On Esmil Rogers

Jason Hammel is much more suited for the bullpen, don't you think? He's had success there and his stuff plays up, while he's struggled more in a starter's role. Besides, we have other starters, there's just no space for him. Jorge De La Rosa needs to be kept in bullpen too. Clearly with his lack of command and high walk rate, anybody who's thinking of using him as a starter is nuts.

In reading comments from yesterday's game thread and Jim Armstrong's blog entry about Esmil Rogers, I am reminded of words I've read before from Tampa Bay and Milwaukee or Kansas City about Hammel and De La Rosa, respectively. If you don't believe me, read the archives at DRaysBay or Royals Review. The point is that a starter's value quickly eclipses that of relievers, especially low leverage middle relievers, and attempts to pigeon hole Rogers into that latter category are detrimental to the return in both his future and the franchise's.

Right now, the Rockies have a greater need in the bullpen than they do in the rotation, and Rogers is suitable for that need, but don't be misled by a small sample of stats from his rookie season to jump to the conclusion that's all he may ever be suited for. Seriously, compare his start this week to that of Aaron Cook's on Friday. They're almost exactly as valuable (Rogers had a game score of 57, Cook of 56) and the main differences are that Cook made his start in a venue that's typically easier on pitchers, but for whatever anomalous reason, also easier on Rockies hitters. 

I don't want to come off sounding like I'm anti-Aaron Cook here, however. I'm certainly rooting that he turns his season around and pitches as well in Coors Field and other venues as he has in PETCO. I'm just fairly convinced that in the next season or two, Rogers passes him in value as a starter, and given Cook's contract, that's going to put the Rockies in a difficult position.

On Ubaldo and the Cy Young award

If Ubaldo wins 20 and Roy Halladay and Adam Wainwright stagnate, and if the Rockies complete a comeback into the playoffs, I think he's got a solid shot at the Cy Young. Otherwise, it's going to be extremely difficult given the pretty thick "he's not worthy" campaign that was launched against him mid-summer. Should the Rockies make the playoffs on the back of a dominant September by Ubaldo, there will be enough old-timey voters left to overcome the young SABR enthusiasts.

The same sort of scenario plays out for the Carlos Gonzalez for MVP campaign. If the Rockies get in, and Gonzalez wins a triple crown, I'd expect him to be first in the voting. What potentially would be most disappointing as a Rockies fan would be the scenario that sees Pujols/Wainwright win those two major awards on a second place, out of the playoffs Cardinals team, while Gonzalez and Jimenez get shut out on a first place, miracle comeback Rockies squad. Of course, if that's the sacrifice that has to be made by us fans to the baseball gods to ensure said playoff comeback, I'll take it.

 

Speaking of the favor (or lack thereof) of the baseball gods:

The last team to lose nine straight this late in the season and still find themselves in first at the end of said streak was the 1995 California Angels. What the ESPN stats blog doesn't mention is that the Angels collapse wasn't finished at that point, and they'd go on to suffer what's easily the most improbable collapse in baseball history up to this point. Not a good sign for Padres, fans, I would say, and pretty good news for us.

The Rockies eighth place position in these standings means that we're likely to get an NIT bid if we don't get into the big dance. Oh wait...