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Tuesday Rockpile: Weight Lifted From Shoulders, But Weight Tied to Feet Remains

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The Colorado Rockies defeated the division leading San Francisco Giants last night while utilizing eighth starter Clayton Mortensen against the Giants' ace.  Hard to complain about that.  The team badly needed to show a pulse, especially with a very difficult week of games ahead, and they did more than that.  Here is the top highlight if you missed it.

After losing seven of their last eight series, Jim Tracy called a team meeting before the game, essentially stressing fundamentals and quality at-bats.  Quality at-bats they had most of the time, fundamentals they did not.  

Maybe the last eight series have ignited personal cynicism, but despite the surprising result last night which gives Colorado the chance to wrestle first place away from the Giants tonight, I am inclined to agree with Dave Krieger.  The winning side last night begged fans to notice baserunning and bunting blunders as if that were the night's goal, and the bullpen remains a huge question mark at the front end.

If you missed it yesterday, Jim Armstrong wrote yesterday that the Rockies will show patience with Felipe Paulino and Franklin Morales, with Jim Tracy again recycling Carlos Gonzalez as the example for all reasons patient.  Ken Rosenthal says the Rockies believe both Morales and Paulino would be claimed on waivers.  This morning, Troy Renck gives a slightly different angle:

With Rex Brothers performing well in Triple- A, the Rockies are quietly gauging the trade interest in reliever Franklin Morales, reaching out to at least one National League team. The left-handed reliever has held batters to a .204 average but continues to fight control issues (eight walks in 14 innings).

You can note that Morales has actually performed decently this season.  His walk rate is actually the best he has had since 2007, but his strikeouts are down.  I have been a defender of Morales in the past, but the chances of him changing course and becoming a useful pitcher that Jim Tracy trusts are next to nil.  The mere fact his ERA is under four currently might have raised his trade value as high as it can reach.

The Giants are a good team, and the Rockies won't skate off with the NL West crown with just five dependable bullpen arms, woeful baserunners errors nightly or the inability to get a bunt down.  These issues must resolve.  However, none are all that close to doing so, and the Rockies are one game away from sweeping the Giants and leading the NL West again.  

Off Topic

Baseball Prospectus | Divide and Conquer, NL West: We Did Everything We Needed to Do, and Then We Didn't  Geoff Young highlights the Rockies' biggest flaw:  late games.  Colorado has a strong back of the bullpen,  and yet the Rockies have been outscored 29-9 after the 7th inning in May and outscored 17-1 from the ninth inning on in 2011.

Why Won't The Rockies Trade Ian Stewart? - Beyond the Box Score  Satchel Paige Price wants to know.  Any answer including the words "trading low," "lowest value," "Ty Wigginton," and "potential" get full credit.

Parker: Coors Field food swings for fences - The Denver Post   The Denver Post's Penny Parker did a quick review of Coors Field's cuisine, noting that Coors is following the national pattern of pushing for more quality and quantity.  For more on the topic, make sure to check the Stadium Secrets series Andrew Martin is doing.