In the 7th inning of yesterday afternoon’s game against Miami, with a tight score of 2-1 in favor of the opposition, the Marlins loaded the bases against Rockies starter Tyler Anderson and Bud Black decided it was time to go to the bullpen. Enter Bryan Shaw—and the overwhelming darkness of pain and misery that has haunted Rockies fans this season.
Shaw proceeded to leave a cutter up and over the plate, and J.T. Realmuto hit it over the right field fence for a grand slam. It was the difference maker and the Marlins went on to win 6-2. Black was clearly upset with Shaw when he visited the mound to send him to the showers, and after the game said “we might have to take a step back from Bryan if we get some of our guys back.” Is the nightmare that is Shaw’s season finally coming to a head?
On a positive note, Gerardo Parra accounted for all of the Rockies offense as the #SummerOfParra continues. Here’s a look at his home run yesterday:
Ask any Rockies fan who the greatest player to don the purple pinstripes is and you might get a few different answers, but the majority of respondents would undoubtedly say Todd Helton—and in a tone that suggests you’d be crazy to think otherwise.
Patrick Saunders of the Denver Post digs a little deeper and asks a tricky question: will that ever change? If it’s possible, we’re likely witnessing the career and currently in the presence of the man who can dethrone the Toddfather—the Sandblaster himself, Nolan Arenado.
Entering this weekend’s series against Miami, Nolan had played in 789 games for the Rockies, slashing .292/.346/.539 with 164 home runs, 202 doubles, and 557 RBI. Through the same amount of games in his career, Helton slashed .334/.418/.615 with 178 home runs, 226 doubles, and 602 RBI.
It’s incredibly impressive that Nolan is as close to Todd in these numbers as he is, but it should also be noted that Helton was much better early in his career than he was later on. Nolan is only showing signs of improving as a hitter still, owning a wRC+ that has improved every year he’s played at the major league level (77, 113, 121, 126, 129, and 153 each season since 2013). So it’s not difficult to imagine, as long as he stays healthy (and a member of the Rockies...), he very well might have what it takes to become the greatest Rockie of all-time.
Helping to celebrate the Rockies’ 25th anniversary, Larry Walker spoke to the media yesterday and discussed his impressive career and time playing for Colorado. Naturally, the conversation turned toward his chances of making the Hall of Fame, and Larry was very diplomatic about the arguments against him being voted in—like playing at hitter-friendly Coors Field:
“As I say in some interviews, I agree with a lot of things they’re saying and I don’t agree with a lot of things they’re saying. I’m on both sides of the fence.”
Quite a contrast to his comments from January after being snubbed by the BBWAA. It sounds like Larry has gotten a little more zen on the issue, and good for him. His career speaks for itself, and I believe he deserves to be in the Hall of Fame, but his peace of mind is admirable. Hopefully we wont have to keep harping on this issue following next year’s vote, when Walker becomes the first Rockie enshrined, and we can all join Larry in his serenity.
Staying on the topic of former players who made the Rockies All-Time 25, Nick Groke caught up with Huston Street on his recent retirement and how he came to the decision to hang up his cleats. For Street, who battled injuries for much of his career, it came down to the ability to compete, win, and be healthy—and as he explains, “I picked up a ball in January, but I couldn’t pick up groceries until February.”
I feel your pain, Huston. My quads scream at me every time I have to make an extra trip up and down the stairs after forgetting a cup of water for my daughter before bed.
What I found most interesting is Huston confiding in Bud Black for advice to make his decision this past November. Street mentions that his three years with the Rockies was particularly special for him, one of his favorite teams to play on in his “entire life,” so it is only fitting that his career ended with a phone call to their current manager.
Patty Barrels is back in a Rockies uniform for the third time this season after being called up prior to Saturday’s game against the Marlins. Valaika will provide infield depth and another right-handed bat option to a club lacking both, but it remains to be seen if he will make an impact—it was less than a month ago that he was sent down to Triple-A for slashing a disappointing .120/.185./173 in 75 at-bats this year.
As a corresponding move, Yency Almonte (no. 8 PuRP) was sent back down to Albuquerque where he’ll continue his development. It’s a curious move, though, considering the Rockies still have three catchers on their active roster—including Tony Wolters, who has been a major offensive black-hole in 2018. Regardless, we can only hope Pat got his groove back with the ‘Topes and will pack a punch off the bench for the Rockies moving forward.
Jesse Winker, who recently hit a walk-off home run against the Rockies in Cincinnati, hit his first career grand slam this past Thursday. Where’d he get this new-found mojo? Well, I got your mojo right here:
That’s right, straight from the king of bat-drops himself, Carlos González. CarGo gifted Winker some of his personal gear after the Rockies’ recent trip to Ohio and apparently he left some of his CarGo magic in the gloves—at least Winker seems to think so.
CarGo has also been acting as a sort of mentor to Winker, helping him develop, talking baseball over the years, and generally being an all-around good guy to the kid. CarGo even snagged the walk-off home run ball Winker hit against the Rockies and made sure it found its way back to Jesse, knowing it would be an important memory for the young outfielder. CarGo continues to impress with his bat and his character—a true star to admire in the game of baseball.