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Tuesday Rockpile: After Foul Meeting With Pirates, Rockies Still Far From Plank

You will get no apologies from me.  The Colorado Rockies were flat out bad against the Pirates at Coors Field this past weekend, losing two of three and scoring just eight runs total.   Despite coming into the series with MLB's best record, this brought about significant unrest in the Rockies faithful, which is understandable.  It was a bad series.  Let us run down the concerns, and let us find some persepective:

  • The offense was so bad, it got shut down and shut out by journeyman Kevin Correia.  Can it get any worse?  Yes...yes it can.
  • Chris Iannetta is batting just .175.  Mercy!....Oh, but he has a .390 OBP, .373 wOBA and 124 wRC+.  That latter number is 5th among MLB catchers with 70+PA, and he's the 8-hole hitter.  Compare to a rival cleanup hitting catcher, whose matching numbers are decent but inferior .340, .341 and 111.
  • Dexter Fowler strikes out too much...  Then again, he has parlayed his defense and walks to be the 6th most valuable center fielder in MLB.  As for the former Champs?  Their center fielder's injuries have been the Achilles heel of the top of the lineup.
  • With the starter out an indefinite amount of time, Jose Lopez is currently the regular third baseman, and he's hitting .149/.171/.243.  Counterpoint:  Miguel Tejada.  Ahem...MIGUEL TEJADA.
  • After a breakout year and the accompanying contract that was much larger than one would have expected before 2010, the Rockies' erstwhile 3-hole hitter is completely lost, and he was being counted on to carry the offense.  Counterpoint:  The Giants also have a guy that fits all the preceding criteria, and Aubrey Huff is batting .190/.257/.290, good for a -1.1 fWAR.  Plus, we don't have to read about our guy allegedly being a belligerent jerk on the side to hockey fans of a team 3000 miles away from the home stadium.
  • But it's not just the 3-hole hitter that's a concern!  Tulo is slumping too!  Yeah, the Giants fans have better claim for angst:  Buster Posey, Aubrey Huff, Cody Ross, Pat Burrell and Freddy Sanchez are 22-for-their-last-161, a .143 average.
  • Ubaldo Jimenez.  Well, we covered that yesterday.  He won't have a 7.20 ERA all season.
  • The pitching staff has two gaping holes with Ubaldo and Esmil Rogers pitching as they are.  Counterpoint:  overall, the staff has a 3.70 ERA (13th in MLB) and a park-adjusted ERA+ of 122 (6th).  The Giants' vaunted staff are at 3.56 (11th) and an ERA+ of 114 (9th).
Seems like Rockies fans have comparatively little to whine about.  So why am I picking on the Giants when they are down?  For one, a largely unchanged World Series roster is the standard.  Additionally, they were in second place before yesterday's games. Considering the Rockies have never won a division title (duh), if they end up atop the division, this will be a wildly successful season indeed.  

So by all means, let us compare away to the team universally pegged as the Rockies' greatest competitor, one that is 5.0 games behind in the NL West.  Will the Giants (and Dodgers) improve over the course of the season?  Almost certainly.  But then the Rockies still have the Ubaldo and CarGo bullets all saved up.

In 162 game seasons, there will be poor series.  If that series were a guaranteed harbinger of trouble, no team would succeed.  The Cardinals lost their season opening series at home to the 11-18 Padres.   The Phillies have already lost a road series against the 12-15 Diamondbacks and a home series against the 13-15 Brewers.  The Reds have lost TWO series to those Diamondbacks.  The Braves won just two of eight games against the Dodgers (15-15) and Brewers this season, both teams with records comparable to Pittsburgh's 14-15.  

Step away from the plank you silly people.  The Rockies are good, and they have plenty of areas where they will improve.

Rockies' Ian Stewart looks to get swing back to big-league level - The Denver Post  Adrian Dater steps in to write on a Rockies issue, something he seldom does.  I find the last sentence of his seventh paragraph to be particularly amusing this morning.

Rockies' bullpen one of baseball's best - The Denver Post  How are the Rockies succeeding so far in 2011 with several underachieving pieces?  There is your answer.

These Rockies remind Tulowitzki of 2007 World Series team - The Denver Post.  I am certain the only thing that can stop making the 2007 team the golden standard is a World Series championship.

Colorado Classics: Larry Walker, former Rockies great - The Denver Post  Irv Moss features the man who may become Colorado's first player in Cooperstown.

Blake Street Bulletin - For a very long time, ESPN's Sweet Spot team blogroll (formerly operated by Rob Neyer) was without a Rockies' blog representative.  That changed this week when Logan Burdine, who had been running RoxPile, took his talents to Blake Street Bulletin for Sweet Spot.   I have not followed his stuff for long, but I can be certain our home team will be well represented by Mr. Burdine.  Still, Purple Row rules.