Nick Groke writes about the Rockies’ very own Tale of Two Seasons and the offensive surge that brought them from the National League’s basement to Wild Card contender. Why, you ask, do I only say Wild Card contender? Well, if you have been living under a baseball rock so far, the Rockies find themselves stuck behind the Dodgers in the NL West standings, and they’ve been pretty good so far.
Yes, the Rockies have been the third best team in the NL since May 1st, with a 37-23 record entering play yesterday, but the Dodgers have been two steps ahead all year. They are 0-4 against Los Angeles so far, but the season series is young and the Rockies are confident they can still put up a fight.
And put up a fight they have. As I write this, the Rockies and Dodgers are in an extra innings battle in Chavez Ravine for game two of the series, and one thing no one can say is these games have not been entertaining. The Rockies are playing good, close games against the division leaders, and despite the outcomes, look like they’ll be a thorn in the Dodgers’ side all season.
★ ★ ★
Well, the Rockies just lost to the Dodgers on another walk-off home run, this one off Alex Verdugo’s bat in the 11th inning off a Jesus Tinoco meatball. It’s one thing to be a thorn, and it’s another to be a slightly annoying itch that is easily scratched away. Nolan said the Rockies need to bring their “A game,” but they’re just on cruise control with B’s and C’s.
As Aniello Piro writes, Brendan Rodgers got a wonderful opportunity to show off his talents earlier this year when he was called up to split time at second base with Ryan McMahon. He had a solid debut, but was ultimately sent back down to receive regular at-bats and work on some lingering inconsistencies with his defense and approach at the plate. And if that first call-up was a wonderful opportunity, consider this round a diamond in the rough.
Everyone is happy that Rodgers will get a bigger opportunity, but it comes at a Trevor Story injury cost. Regardless, now is the time for him to prove he deserves to stay in the big leagues. The shortstop position will be his to lose, in Trevor’s absence, and he may even be more comfortable there since it’s his natural position.
If Rodgers can start to show off that offensive potential that brought him to be ranked the sixth best prospect in baseball (according to MLB Pipeline), the Rockies will be in great shape—and Brendan might need to invest in some real estate in LoDo.
The July 31st non-waiver trade deadline is quickly approaching, and the Rockies are currently tied with the Cardinals for the second Wild Card spot. If things stay about the same over the next month, they have to be buyers, right? Aaron Hurt says they “without a doubt” will be, and suggests three specific aspects of the team the Rockies will need to address if they want to return to the Postseason in 2019.
In case you missed it, the 2019 All-Star Game finalists were revealed on Friday, and three Rockies are among those considered to be the game’s best. Nolan Arenado, Trevor Story, and Charlie Blackmon will all have the opportunity to be voted as the NL’s starter at their respective positions, and despite having been an All-Star three times already, Chuck is still excited at the opportunity.
Sarah Wexler talked to the Rockies’ star outfielder about the possibility of a fourth All-Star appearance, and he told her it’s “definitely special” just to be considered. Blackmon has had an impressive season, especially since returning from the IL earlier this month.
There are many metrics to rate batters these days, and you’ll find Chuck near the top in most of them for qualified NL outfielders. He is third in wRC+, third in SLG%, third in wOBA, fourth in BABIP, and seventh in fWAR, for example. He may have had a slow start to the year, but Blackmon has proven he deserves to be in the conversation as a starting outfielder to represent the senior circuit at this year’s Midsummer Classic in Cleveland.
On the farm
In a low-scoring affair, Yonathan Daza had himself another multi-hit game and Sam Hilliard hit a triple to account for all of the ‘Topes offense. Ben Bowden made his Triple-A debut and pitched a scoreless inning on fifteen pitches, walking one and striking out one batter.
Ben Bouchard hit a three-run bomb for the JetHawks and ended his day going 2-for-4 with 4 RBI, and Ryan Vilade had two hits, as well.
In Asheville, Terrin Vavra went 0-for-3 but drew two walks and scored twice, including the winning run in the bottom of the 9th when he flew around the bases following an errant throw from Columbia’s pitcher on a sac bunt from Will Golsan. Speed thrills!
Short Season-A: Spokane Indians 5, Boise Hawks 0 | MiLB.com