The Colorado Rockies have finally won two games in a row and have a chance to really get some momentum going against the San Francisco Giants this afternoon. This stretch of games, including the ensuing three-game set against the Arizona Diamondbacks, have been highly anticipated and billed as a pivotal time in the Rockies young season. So it is certainly encouraging to see them come out of their offensive slump a bit and put up some runs against the defending champions.
That being said, if they lose today, they allow the champs a road series split within the division, and have still yet to actually win a series against a winning team. This would be a great time for the Rockies to secure a big win over a division rival, prove they can run with the big dogs, set themselves up for a competitive series with the Diamondbacks, and show that the May swoon is no longer in effect. Today is a big mental game for the Rockies, and it will almost undoubtedly be one for their starting pitcher.
Momentum is tricky in baseball. Offenses certainly slump and get hot (and Rockies fans have seen plenty of both this season) but as Earl Weaver said "momentum is the next day's starting pitcher." After another solid start from young Tyler Chatwood, the Rockies will hand the ball to Juan Nicasio, who may be one or two bad starts away from demotion. Yorvit Torrealba will set up behind the plate in a managerial move designed to help guide Nicasio through this important start for both him and the club.
Umpires and Replay Update:
A few weeks ago I wrote a scathing critique of MLB umpiring, insufficient use of technology, and a general lack of transparency. That very evening, a home run that was ruled a double by Angel Hernandez in an Oakland vs Cleveland game would set off a series of conversations with MLB ultimately announcing that it hopes to have a "large" expansion of instant replay by 2014. That night was also a tough officiating night for the Rockies, but while more replay may have helped on a decisive bang-bang play, MLB reports that it still has no intention of shifting the way balls and strikes will be called, so the Mariano Rivera 4-inches-outside-strike is likely still as useful as ever. Still, these are steps in the right direction toward the inevitable Umpire Robot Uprising.
Troy E. Renck (I'm already running) actually gives us some pretty good insight as to the off day situations for Troy Tulowitzki this season and his journey to remain healthy and effective. It will be interesting to see if "playing it safe" pays off for him and the club all year, or even for years to come.
Not a lot of great links today but I found this piece on Hardball Times about some excellent pitching performances that included very few swings and misses. Especially in today's game where BABiP and the like have become such important stats, it was interesting to see a break down of how and why some pitchers can be dominant by actually forcing the opposition to put the ball in play.