The Rockies have tried to make a four-man rotation work before.
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This season isn't the first time the Rockies have experimented with a four-man rotation: they tried it in 2004, too. It didn't make much sense then, either, as Rany opined in the piece reprinted below, was which was originally published on May 3, 2004
What is Dexter Fowler doing this season to achieve sustained big-league success?
I stare at Dexter Fowler in search of inspiration. Not at the actual man, of course—that would be awkward and inappropriate—but at his statistical record. What do the numbers say about him? Again, not the actual man, but the player. More specifically, the hitter.
The lanky 26-year-old center fielder is playing his fourth more-or-less full big-league season and, despite a recent slump, enjoying unprecedented success at the plate. After being sent down to Triple-A Colorado Springs for brief “refresher courses” in each of the previous two seasons, Fowler seems to have figured out how to avoid repeat visits.
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Josh Outman didn't get to finish his fifth inning, despite being up by eight. Will this be the sort of conflict that dooms the Rockies' four-man rotation?
You don't care whether Josh Outman gets credited with a victory, but Josh Outman cares whether he gets credited with a victory. On Saturday, with his pitch count well past the limit his manager has set for his new four-man starting rotation, Outman was pulled from his start. He was leading by eight runs, with two outs in the fifth inning and, therefore, an out short of getting credit for the win. He became the first starter since at least 2000 (as far as I went back) to leave a game with two outs in the fifth inning while leading by at least eight runs.
The Rockies need pitching. Here's how they're trying to find it.
The Rockies enter today with the National League’s worst team earned run average and Fair Run Average. If there is a floor, then Colorado has already hit it. Being in such a position allows the Rockies to try new things, like a four-man rotation. But ESPN.com’s Jerry Crasnick reveals that the Rockies are doing more than figuratively experimenting:
"I felt we had to do something non-conventional," said Tracy of his beleaguered pitching staff that includes a reliever Josh Roenicke who has thrown more innings than one of the team's starters. "I was given the opportunity to tweak this. We are going to see what transpires as we move forward."
Carlos Gonzalez's hot streak against the Astros isn't even the best of his career.
The Thursday Takeaway
In the 23-hour period spanning 8:00 p.m. MT on Wednesday and 7:00 p.m. MT on Thursday, it seemed irrelevant who Astros manager Brad Mills put on the mound—Carlos Gonzalez was going to hit a home run regardless.
After getting swept by the Mariners, the Rockies have hit rock bottom.
The Weekend Takeaway
With the National League West seemingly lacking an elite team, Jim Tracy’s imperfect squad was expected to contend for a chance to bring Rocktober back to Denver for the first time since 2009. Instead, the fans at Coors Field have been treated to a sequence of rock bottoms, the most recent of which came over the weekend in a three-game sweep at the hands of the Mariners.
After dropping three in a row to Seattle and four straight overall, Colorado is in the division cellar at 15-25 and has allowed more runs (218) than any other NL team. The Mariners—featuring Kyle Seager in the cleanup spot of their lineup and using starters not named Felix Hernandez—outscored the Rockies 20-13, exposing weaknesses in the home team’s roster each day.
Nolan Arenado could turn into a newt, maybe. What else could go wrong for young Rockies players?
Prospect #1: 3BNolan Arenado Background with Player: My eyes; industry sources Who: Selected in the 2nd round in the 2009 draft, Arenado has emerged as the best pure hitting prospect in the system. Armed with fantastic hands that are both quick and strong, the 21-year-old can barrel balls to all fields, showing the ability to hit in all quadrants against a variety of offerings. He’s not as gifted in the field, were his below-average speed creates a limited workspace at the hot corner, but his glove is at least average and his arm is a plus tool, so his overall skill set will play in the majors. The total package is a first-division talent, with a high-6 hit tool that comes with a mature approach, enough bat speed and strength to prompt some scouts into projecting plus power down the line, and enough defense to stay above water at third.
What Could Go Wrong in 2012: Arenado is a great prospect, and every team in baseball would welcome him into the fold with open arms, but what could go wrong in 2012 is that the realities of the skill set start to become more representational against more advanced pitching, leaving the picture of a good prospect, but not one with impact level talent at the next level. I really like Arenado’s approach to hitting, as he’s aggressive without being reckless, and he shows pitch recognition skills and the ability to adjust in sequence. He’s a smart hitter that can stay inside a pitch and drive the ball, and manipulate the barrel to match the plane of breaking balls. But his swing wasn’t built for over-the-fence power, as his linear stroke works better in the gaps, despite the raw strength and bat speed necessary for power. Some scouts think the power will develop down the line, as Arenado learns to introduce more loft in his swing, but how much hit tool utility will be sacrificed for the sake of power? I asked around to get ceilings on Arenado, and the majority saw him as a potential .275+ hitter with 10-15 home runs and a truckload of doubles. I like this projection, as it's reasonable and realistic, but it’s not a first-division talent, is it? A few other sources saw a .300+ hitter with 25+ bombs a year, which would make Arenado an All-Star and one of the most valuable players at his position in baseball. Because he’s taking his licks at the Double-A level, we are going to get a better view of what Arenado will be able to bring to the table in the future, as the major leagues are very much within his reach. We all know Arenado can hit, but the questions will be: how much can hit, and how much power will he be able to bring into game action? Again, I think he’s a great prospect, but I tend to think his future is closer to a solid-average regular than an All-Star, which is still a very valuable player to have.
Josh Hamilton pulled off a rare feat on Tuesday night against the Orioles.
The Tuesday Takeaway
Step aside, Matt Kemp—there’s a new name atop the home run leaderboard. That would be Josh Hamilton, who hit not one, not two, not three, but four long balls at Camden Yards in the Rangers’ 10-3 win over the Orioles.
Hamilton, whose absurd 1.298 OPS still trails Kemp’s by seven points, went 5-for-5, adding a double to those homers to finish just one total base shy of Shawn Green’s single-game record of 19. He is the first player to hit four homers in a game since Carlos Delgado did it on September 25, 2003, the first Rangers player ever to accomplish the feat, and the second player to join the club against the Orioles. The other was the Indians’ Rocky Colavito on June 10, 1959.
Three home runs were hit by three improbable players during last week's action.
Sometimes there is no obvious story. Sometimes there is just the beauty of the thing. Baseball's limitless capacity to surprise keeps those of us afflicted with fandom enthralled. This past week alone bore witness to three unexpected home runs, among other things. Such are the moments that define any given game, season, or lifetime of watching baseball.
Monday, April 30: Ransom vs. Buehrle
In the second inning of a scoreless game at Miami, the Diamondbacks' Cody Ransom stepped to the plate against Mark Buehrle. With Paul Goldschmidt on second and Gerardo Parra on deck, Ransom got ahead in the count, 3-0. Buehrle then grooved an 85 mph two-seam fastball down the middle, and Ransom drove it over the 386-foot sign in left-center for his second home run of the year.