I squeezed in my first Colorado Rockies game of the year while in Phoenix for the SABR Analytics conference. It was a bit of a challenge trying to get into a sold out game, as fans lined up to see all the promising prospects the Rockies have, stand in awe at the new shade of purple, and possibly also to see the Cubs. But I was able to get a seat. The game, for the most part, went quite well for the Rockies. It seemed like the Cubs looked rusty as both Anthony Rizzo and Kris Bryant failed to make plays that otherwise seemed routine. There was a huge “ooh” when Trevor Story hit his long home run as fans, like blind bats, tried to echo locate wherever the ball landed.
Alas, though it may appear that the Rockies bullpen was also in midseason form with the late inning loss, the bullpen didn’t technically blow it. To be a bit more accurate, the failings were mostly on Miguel Castro, who, under normal circumstances, might not have been in the game during the regular season and would’ve been promptly yanked after giving up a the first of the two home runs he gave up that inning. Eddie Butler got the win and is now 3-0 this spring. That looks great until you see his peripheral runs, hits and walks allowed, which also resemble his midseason form.
If the Rockies keep playing like they did the other 8 innings of this game when the games start to matter, they’ve got a good chance of remaining relevant once summer turns into fall.
There’s some debate on whether the headfirst slide into first is actually quicker than sliding in feet first or running directly through the bag. They even did a Mythbusters episode on the science of it all. The more important issues are that Nolan Arenado wasn’t hurt when he dove headfirst during Friday night’s Team USA win over Colombia. Bud Black and Keith Duggar both texted Arenado to make sure.
In another WBC note, during Saturday’s Team USA game against the Dominican Republic, Purple Row’s Ryan Freemeyer said that Jake McGee threw a 98 mph fastball. He only threw two pitches that fast all of last season.
Pat Graham catches up with Nolan Arenado, who has had a whirlwind of an offseason. If you couldn’t see how excited he was about playing baseball this year from his slide in the WBC, this article shows you that and more about his mindset as the Rockies strive to contend in 2017.