Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Rock Solid Recrap: Ubaldo Was Pretty Good

Unfortunately he could have been perfect and still not left Citi Field with his 18th win. It was that bad a night for the Rockies offense.

Yes, it's true the offense averages 5.8 runs a game for Ubaldo this season. It's also true this is only the 5th time they've scored less than four runs for him, and they have bailed him out of at least three potential losses. They have done a solid job holding up their end of the bargain on his nights.

That's all well and good.

But my God, you can't scratch a run across on Mike Pelfrey?

(insert laugh track here)

Yes, that Mike Pelfrey.

"Mike Pelfrey outduels Ubaldo Jimenez" might be the most nauseating headline I read all season.  Seriously sickening.

Of course tonight was about a lot more than piling up wins for Ubaldo or solidifying him as a frontrunner in the Cy Young, this is about the Rockies getting a MUCH needed win on road and failing miserably... again.

This is about a Rockies team losing another 1 run game to an inferior opponent when all they needed to do was scrap together a couple runs. That's all they needed tonight, but that task was way too tall against Mike Pelfrey.

I don't get it.

I do get that Citi is a pitcher's ballpark, but we knew that going in. These are games when you have to be creative. Dexter Fowler needs to push a bunt. The hit-and-run with Barmes and Olivo was a nice idea. Of course Barmes didn't get the ball in play, but you need a little more of that.

And the hitters absolutely have to resist trying to drive a ball out of that yard. It's just not going to happen. Especially guys like Fowler and Helton. Even Gonzalez layed into one that died around the warning track. Next time up he lined one over the head of Carter in left. Line drives will carry. Flyballs won't.

Line drives. Get people in motion. Find ways to put pressure on the Mets defense. I know that's easier said than done, but more times than not (especially on the road) this team makes even the most basic and fundamental of offensive approaches look impossible.

There has to be a middle ground somewhere. Find it. Create some offense. Score some damn runs. Paul Maholm won't be there to bail you out again this season.


Jeff Francis vs John Maine

Pretty even pitching matchup. Another 1-0 game wouldn't shock me at all.  That means it'll probably be 10-9, but I honestly expect another low scoring affair.

Lineup Card: Rockies @ Mets

Hope you enjoyed your day off from Rockies baseball!  I know Ian Stewart did.  

Another big road game lies ahead this evening as the Rockies visit a city that never seems to treat them well.  You may have heard of it.  They call it the Big Apple.  Time to win a series there.  Ubaldo Jimenez will hope to position his team to do just that with a solid start tonight. 

Rockies Lineup (58-53)
  1. CF  Fowler
  2. 1B  Helton
  3. LF  Gonzalez
  4. SS  Tulowitzki
  5. RF  Hawpe
  6. 3B  Stewart
  7. C    Olivo
  8. 2B  Barmes
  9. P    Jimenez
Mets Lineup (55-56)
  1. SS  Reyes
  2. RF  Martinez
  3. CF  Pagan
  4. 3B  Wright
  5. 1B  Davis
  6. LF  Carter
  7. C    Thole
  8. 2B  Tejada
  9. P    Pelfrey
Of the eight position players in the lineup tonight, only three (Reyes, Wright & Pagan) remain from the April series in Denver.  Another season riddled by injury and inconsistency for the Mets.  

One Vote For Herrera

Read an article over at the respected Purple Row website.

Why We Shouldn't Rely On Jon Herrera. byMattBerger

Berger starts by comparing Herrera to Yorvit Torrealba.
the same nitty grittyness singles that we all love, but the fact their best months that made Rockies fans fall in love with them were mostly mirages of what their true talent levels are, and that were better options below them and even in free agency the next offseason.
He then backs it all up with BABIP (Batting Average on Balls In Play) and minor league stats. All a part of the equation no doubt, but weighed too heavily by way too many in my opinion.

My take...

I actually think Berger got the comparison right. Torrealba and Herrera do seem to share a lot of the same traits (though early in Herrera's career). I just think Berger has it completely wrong when he tries selling us on that being a bad thing.

First of all, I didn't fall in love with Yorvit Torrealba because he hit singles. I actually didn't fall in love with him at all, but I did respect the hell out of him and appreciated everything he gave the Rockies, which was so much more than freaking singles.

He was a leader. He was a clutch hitter. Well timed singles. When he did muscle up it was ALWAYS in a big spot. Late in a close game. Playoff game. Excelled in big spots. Did a really solid job receiving, even if throwing runners out wasn't a strength (due to shoulder issues).

He ended up pricing himself out of the Rockies range so they wisely moved on, but a comparison to Yorvit won't get me on your side of the argument when you're trying to convince me a guy isn't valuable.

By the way... if you think the San Diego Padres turnaround has nothing to do with Yorvit Torrealba, you're kidding yourself.  He's giving them the same clutch hitting and has actually regained strength in his throwing shoulder.  They love him there.

I haven't fallen completely in love with Herrera either, but man, I loved the energy and offense he added to the top of the order. That was something they weren't getting before his arrival. Between Fowler, Helton, Smith, Spilborghs, whoever they put up there seemed to struggle setting the table the first half of the season.

Herrera changed that. Even if they were these measley, wimpy singles, at least he was giving the team something to build on offensively. He was wreaking some havoc and giving the team a geniune pain in the ass for opposing pitcher's to deal with.

And his timing! It was Torrealbaesque in that he always seemed to reach base or drive in a run when the team needed it most. How about that game in San Diego? Or the HR in Florida? The hitting streaks. The diving stop in Cincinnati that preserved a 1-0 win.

Why is that not good enough? Why are stat projections more important than making visual judgments of a player's instincts and character. I don't get it. Never will.

So many talented, intelligent and winning baseball players wouldn't have jobs if GMs went strictly by the numbers, so I don't either.  I trust what I see, just as they trust what they see and what their scouts tell them.

I'm not going to suggest the Rockies put all their eggs in Herrera's basket at this point. They have evaluations to make on Eric Young and decisions to make on Clint Barmes before we get anywhere near that point, but I can't find fault in any Rockies fan loving what they see in Jonathan Herrera.