The Colorado Rockies are in Arizona playing the Diamondbacks this weekend. They then continue their road trip in Los Angeles against the Dodgers to start next week. The team’s record currently sits at 14-8. Here are this week’s power rankings of the people, stories, and anything else that matters to the Rockies right now.
10. Confusing roster decisions
Major League Baseball’s collective bargaining agreement allows for a team to have a 26 man roster (instead of the usual 25) for one day in the case of a doubleheader. The Rockies did not take advantage of that option last week against the New York Mets despite Dexter Fowler‘s aching foot. With no off days in the next week, the Rockies again chose not to call up an extra player for their twin-bill against the Atlanta Braves this week. It probably would have made sense to bring up a starting pitcher with no days off…right?
Additionally, Todd Helton really did not want to go on the disabled list. It appears, at least from where I’m sitting, that the Rockies accommodated him by keeping on the roster for five games despite the fact he could not play. That left them shorthanded and opened the door for Walt Weiss to Jim Tracy* himself into a corner and insert Yorvit Torrealba at first base.
*Jim Tracy (verb) – proper noun used as a verb. To double switch because you can double switch and this is the National League so you are supposed to double switch because you can double switch and you must double switch. Period. End of definition.
9. Dante Bichette, a (lack of a) baseball cap, and an investigation
Before I proceed, I must disclose that I could not tell in a brief glance whether or not Rockies hitting coach Dante Bichette was wearing a baseball cap last night. Having said that, by my count he has either worn a “CR” skullcap or gone with the bald-headed look in every game this season. Does he have something against caps? Or does he just like how bad-ass he looks without one? I am OK with him never wearing a cap, I just want to know why.
8. Nolan Arenado watch
Yesterday the Rockies finally placed Helton on the DL. Thankfully the team had lots of options down on the Sky Sox, and they chose to call up
Tyler Colvin Charlie Blackmon DJ LeMahieu Corey Dickerson Nolan Arenado Ryan Wheeler. Ryan Wheeler? Seriously? OK…
Wheeler had to be the long-shot in that situation. Nevertheless, one could not help but notice that he started at third base in Chris Nelson‘s stead. That’s supposed to be Nolan Arenado’s spot sometime soon, and you can almost sense that Nelson and anybody else who plays there feels the heat. The logic for not bringing up Arenado right now makes sense: once he’s up they want him to stay up for good. As such, they want to be extra sure that they do not rush him. I get that, but it was still strange to see Wheeler starting over there last night. And I felt that way before those errors…
This story did not get too much play last week, but it’s pretty crazy that the two pitchers on the receiving ends of terrifying balls to the head were matched up against one another, right? Both are inspiring in their returns to the mound, and they will face off again tonight.
6. Walt Weiss sticking with Wilton Lopez
Weiss is unwavering in his fidelity to Lopez in the late innings. Lopez has responded with sharper looking sinkers and better command (although it was a bit shaky last night). The Rockies traded for Lopez to be a set-up and sometimes-closer type guy, and Weiss is apparently going to let him work through a rough spot in those same high leverage situations.
5. This picture of Troy Tulowitzki from the Colorado Rockies Facebook page
4. This picture of Dinger from the Colorado Rockies Facebook page
3. Dexter Fowler being clutch
That opening day home run off John Axford, that go-ahead home run off Huston Street, that two-run double off Craig Kimbrel, and even that two-out walk against JJ Putz last night. Right now Dexter Fowler is the man the Rockies want at the plate in late game situations.
From my first day at Rox Pile I have harped on how important Jorge De La Rosa is to this franchise. I am so happy to see him pitching well, and while one pitcher can only impact the team’s record so much, his influence on the team as a whole is apparent.
1. The Rockies grounds crew
Head groundskeeper Mark Razum earned an appearance on Buster Olney’s Baseball Tonight podcast thanks to the crew’s incredible work on the field the last two weeks. Before we move on to actual baseball weather, Razum and his crew deserve a huge tip of the cap for keeping the Rockies’ schedule at least somewhat on track despite two huge April snowstorms in Denver.