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Rockies Charlie Blackmon is the best leadoff man in the league, according to Bud Black

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Colorado Rockies news and notes for Thursday, May 18, 2017

Marquez starts Game 1 of doubleheader | MLB.com
After the rainout last night, the Rockies and Twins are set to play a day-night doubleheader today, their second one in as many weeks after getting rained out of their series opener against the Cubs last Monday. Germán Márquez gets the start in the early game (11:10 am MT!) while Tyler Chatwood will take the mound in the nightcap at 5:10 pm MT.

Rockies' Blackmon is one of best leadoff hitters | Denver Post
It's sometimes hard to believe just how good Charlie Blackmon has become. Right now he’s hitting .319/.360/.619 with a 135 wRC+ and his 1.6 fWAR is the best mark among National League outfielders (non-Bryce Harper division). That’s already nearly half of the value he put up last year when he hit .324/.381/.552. That’s #ASGWorthy if you ask me. And, as BSN Denver recently pointed out, trading him away would have been a huge mistake.

Blogpile

Little room in the lineup for Tapia it seems | Roxpile
Ostensibly, Raimel Tapia was called up to the big leagues after dominating Triple-A because the Rockies could use him, perhaps during interleague play. That hasn't been the case so far and it's gotten to be a bit infuriating. Kevin Henry digs in a little to the details.

Ottavino gets candid about his recent command struggles | BSN Rockies
The Rockies have been winning due in part to the fact that the bullpen has been mostly impenetrable. This, even though one of the arms the team and fans were most counting on heading into the season, Adam Ottavino, hasn’t been his usual dominant self. His ERA still looks okay, but his strikeout rate is down to what is now considered pedestrian-for-a-bullpen-arm 9.6 K/9 and his walk rate is up to 6.1 BB/9.

What does all of this mean to Adam? Drew Creasman spoke with the right hander and the Rockies manager about his struggles and how he hopes to come back from it.

Valaika taking full advantage of newfound playing time | Mile High Sports
Aniello Piro has a great report on Pat Valaika, who has stepped in admirably in the absence of Trevor Story. As Piro points out, Valaika's success is one more instance of the Rockies' impressive roster depth working to their advantage. Teams that hope to make--and compete--in the playoffs don't get there without depth.

Greetings from a Twins fan, in the Duke City | Purple Row FanPosts
We had a visitor from Twinkie Town drop by to volunteer to answer questions about the Twins and generally talk baseball. Feel free to drop in, even though the series in the Great White North is nearly complete.

FPF: Baseball With Mom - Purple Row
We’ll be recapping our FanPost Friday prompt tomorrow, but there’s still time to get your FanPost Friday submission in! Start your FanPost today and keep your eye out NEXT week for our next prompt.

Around the NL West (and the league)

40 games in: The D-backs' playoff odds | AZ Snake Pit
Lest we forget, the Rockies aren't the only surprise team in the division. The Diamondbacks started off really hot but have cooled off over the last week plus. They also lost catcher/old friend Chris Iannetta to the DL along with AJ Pollock, which, considering how much better the offense has been with AJ in the lineup, could spell doom for those odds of theirs.

In addition to highlighting the playoff odds, Jim McLennan has gone through every season since 1998 and noted which records produced playoff teams. The Rockies, at 24-16, are currently in good company: 60.7% of teams with this record eventually made the playoffs. It's a trend worth keeping an eye on.

Giants avoid sweep, winning streak snapped | McCovey Chronicles
The Giants were taken down by Clayton Kershaw and the Dodgers yesterday, which is significant because, don't look now, but the Giants had won five in a row heading into yesterday. That was enough to help them crawl out of the cellar and make me nervous because you never know when a team like that can come back. It's also significant because there was another hullabaloo. Something about stealing signs or whatever, it never matters. But there was this tweet:

Look man, leave us out of this, okay?

White Sox players defend Kahnle after Hawkins ripped former teammate | CSN Chicago
In case you missed it yesterday (and I'm not sure how you could have), LaTroy Hawkins was in the Twins booth for Tuesday's game and brought up a rather unflattering story about former Rockies teammate Tommy Kahnle. Kahnle and his current White Sox teammates responded to the comments today, but Kahnle elected to take the high road.