Also-Rans Face off / Rockies Preview

We need more of this and less of that latest Dodger trend that involves getting thrown out at the plate. (Photo by Scott Boehm/Getty Images)


Rockies are 58 - 67 one full game a head of the Dodgers as two teams who had aspirations for post season play find themselves playing out the string in August. For the Dodgers it was more of a pipe dream where many things had to go right for a postseason endeavor but for the Rockies as early as April they were crowned the NL Western champions so it must really be a tough pill to swallow to find themselves in this situation.

They still have Cargo and Tulo but Ubaldo is no more. They got a pomeranian for him. At least their brightest pitching prospect didn't undergo TJ surgery, he simply got whacked upside the noggin with a line drive and is out for the year. Which in his case was the best case scenario as it could have been much worse. Rockie fans will need to wait until next year to see if Juan Nicasio can shake off the mental aspect of being beaned and come back to the level he was at before the ball dented his skull.

1st Base - Todd Helton / Jason Giambi - does any team have an older duo manning 1st base?  How is Giambi in the NL? The White Sox could have saved 60 Million by simply signing Giambi to DH, and he would certainly have produced at a level you'd expect a DH to produce at. Then again the last time we saw the Rockies, Jason could not even run to 1st base without hurting himself.

2nd Base - Mark Ellis - seems strange to me they are still giving him at bats and have decided to try Chris Nelson as a 3rd baseman.  Ellis came over when the Rockies still thought they would be in the hunt and he made a huge impact in his first week but has since cooled off. In the last 28 days he has a .475 OPS.  Jonathan Herrera may end up playing some 2nd.

SS - Some guy name Tulo, you might have heard of him.

3rd - right now they are using former number one pick Chris Nelson at 3rd base. He's struggling but at least they are going to give him regular at bats for the rest of the year. I suspect he'll either be the starting 2nd baseman or 3rd baseman in 2012. Like the James Loney era in LA is coming to an end it would appear the Ian Stewart era is also ending for the Rockies. They are two completely different players, but still incredibly ineffective.

C - Chris Ianetta continues to be a plus offensively. He had a terrible July, but is smoking hot in August with a .974 OPS.

RF - Carlos Gonzalez - Other then a terrible April, Cargo has posted a plus .900 OPS every month.

CF - Dexter Fowler  is now getting full time at bats and he's doing what he's always done. Since 2009 he has posted three season OPS+ of 94, 92, 97.  Of course it has taken a scorching 2nd half to get him to his normal level. .892 OPS in the 2nd half.

LF - Looks like Seth Smith and Eric Young are getting the time in LF. Earlier in the year Carlos Gonzalez was playing LF and Smith right field but in August they looked to have been flip flopped.

Bench has Giambi, Wiggington, Herrera, Spilborghs, Eliezer Alfonzo is the backup catcher. Nice old group who can hit a home run if you need it, play terrible infield defense if you need it. 

Match Ups:

Triple Stat Line = TSL = tERA / SIERA / xFIP

Hiroki Kuroda  versus Jason Hammel - Hammel used to be able to strike out hitters but in 2011 he's strictly a contact pitcher which might not be a good idea pitching in Coors. His K rate in 2010 was 7.14, in 2011 it is 4.78. Too bad for him his GB rate has dropped from 46% to 43%.  I'm not an expert nor did I sleep at a Holiday Inn but those don't appear to be good trends. His TSL 5.99 / 4.89 / 4.71

Ted Lilly versus Esmil Rodgers - hard throwing Rogers is back in the rotation. He throws a 94MPH fastball, along with a 84MPH slider. He also has a change up and curveball that he will mix in. TSL = 5.57 / 4.51 / 4.74

Chad Billingsley versus Kevin Millwood - The 36 year old Millwood has only made two starts for the Rockies since being signed to help the beleagured rotation. Once upon a time he was a good pitcher, got paid a lot of money, was not so good, and will spend the next few years of his career bouncing around from team to team.  Chad Billingsley might end up with the exact same career path.

Bullpen:

Huston Street is hurt which doesn't really help a team because Rafael Betancourt takes over the closing duties and this guy is nails. Betancourt has had some of the best peripherals of any bullpen pitcher over the last few years.  I'm not going to spend any time on the rest of the bullpen, hopefully we see a plethora of them.

 

Dodgers will have no excuses for not scoring some runs this weekend. Ted Lilly in the daytime in Coors would appear to be a nightmare but he's pitching so well lately that I think he delivers again. The Dodgers ran into a legitimate buzzsaw with the Brewers but they played that very good team solidly and came within a few breaks of winning that series or at the least breaking even. The Rockies are not the Brewers, if the Dodgers don't win 2 out of three and score at least three runs in every game, they deserve to be in last place by the time this series is over.

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