News And Notes: Rockies Go For Sweep Of Pirates
Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports
The Colorado Rockies built on their offensive success from Friday night with a beautiful 6th inning rally Saturday night to once again defeat the Pittsburgh Pirates. The sequence went like this: Nolan Arenado double, Charlie Blackmon double, Dexter Fowler single, and Corey Dickerson single. This keyed a huge 6-4 victory and locked down a series win.
Those four names are significant. The young position players on the Colorado Rockies have to hit if this team hopes to have a consistent offense. We can stress about situational at-bats or Troy Tulowitzki‘s recent slump, but the fact is there are three guys flat out getting it done this season: Tulo, Michael Cuddyer, and the injured Carlos Gonzalez. What those three do doesn’t matter if the rest of the lineup doesn’t produce.
If we are looking ahead to 2014 and beyond, it falls on guys like the four listed above to start getting the job done consistently. The more rallies like we saw last night between now and the end of the season, the better the Rockies will feel moving forward.
Here are a few more quick hits going into Sunday afternoon’s game in which the Rockies will go for a sweep:
Clint Hurdle‘s ejection, and some reactions.
Bryan Kilpatrick from Purple Row (follow him on Twitter here) went through and retweeted a number of the reactions from people last night when Hurdle, the former Rockies manager, got run. The common thread? Why doesn’t Walt Weiss defend his guys? How can Weiss still have zero ejections? That’s how you stand up for your team! Take a look Walt! I miss Clint Hurdle!
All I’ll say is this: I get the thought process. It’s really pretty extraordinary that it’s August 11th and Weiss does not have a single ejection. But isn’t it up to the players if it is acceptable that he has not yet been ejected defending them? Maybe the Rockies’ players like how cool-headed he is, especially on a team with some volatile tempers (looking at you, Troy Tulowitzki and Edgmer Escalona). I, of course, have no idea. But you don’t either. If he loses this locker room we will likely be able to tell, just like we were able to tell with Hurdle in 2009.
Speaking of which, there’s some especially rosy revisionist history being written about Hurdle’s departure from Colorado. I love Hurdle and I will always have fond memories of him in Colorado. I will also always cheer for his teams and I love the attention he is getting with the season the Pirates are having. But things were truly disastrous when he was replaced with Jim Tracy. And even though the distaste for Tracy is fresher at the moment, let’s not forget that he won manager of the year in 2009 and players cited his managerial style, including its stark departure from Hurdle’s, as a huge reason for their playoff run.
Hurdle and Tracy both have styles that can work for short bursts of time. Both had success in Colorado, and then they both reached a point when they seriously needed to move on. The passing of time has been kind to the perception of Hurdle in Colorado, but there was no scenario in which he could have stayed and been successful.
Pressure on Chad Bettis.
The young starter likely senses his opportunity to crack this rotation, and so his first home start comes with significant pressure. He faces a playoff team trying to avoid a sweep with a good pitcher opposite him in Jeff Locke. Hopefully he is up for the task.
Rex Brothers, your closer.
Look, I sincerely appreciate what Rafael Betancourt has meant to the Rockies and the successful transition he made to the closer’s role. But I don’t know if he could ever pull off what Brothers did last night: after allowing one run, he K’ed Andrew McCutchen and Pedro Alvarez on dirty, dirty pitches to end the game.
Brothers needs to be this team’s closer. As I’ve said before, we know that players can lose their job to injury, and that’s what needs to happen to Betancourt here. He can return to his spot as set-up man supreme.