The Wish List
Break in the new toys
I would love to see the new back end of the bullpen come out firing for the fans back home. First, that would mean we are leading games heading into the eighth inning. Second, I would love to get those guys’ feet wet before they return to Coors Field for the first time as Rockies.
As witnessed a year ago when Greg Holland saved three of the Rockies first four games to start the season, there is no doubt that a strong showing from Jake McGee, as well as the newcomers Shaw and Davis, can have a resounding impact on the weeks ahead. Let’s start strong there.
As for Chris Iannetta, I’d be alright with him launching a ball or two into the Chase Field seats this weekend, but mostly his job is and always will be to handle an extremely young starting pitching staff, and I have confidence that he’ll be on his game.
Put the doubt to rest
If I was a betting man, I would say that nobody is more excited for Opening Day Thursday (excluding Nolan … he’s been excited for 176 days) than two Rockies who struggled quite a bit a year ago: Trevor Story and Carlos Gonzalez. Both players are very similar in that we know what they are capable of and we drool over the possibilities, but they both had their lion’s share of trouble at the plate a year ago.
CarGo’s struggles and Story’s strikeouts have been extremely well documented and, finally, it’s time to stop living in the past. Both players have a chance to announce to Rockies fans and the baseball world that they are back, and that starts Thursday.
I’m looking for both players to come out raking on this road trip to put any doubt that Rockies fans may harbor to rest. These are the guys we know and we are lucky to have them.
Pick their pockets
As I mentioned in a previous article, I believe a big key for the Rockies to take the next step as a team is stealing more bags, especially on the road. Stolen bases not only make the opposing pitcher uncomfortable, but if the Rockies can achieve a decent proficiency at it, it will help them manufacture runs in ballparks that don’t fit the slugging nature of the offense.
Last season, in the first seven road games of the season, the Rockies stole a total of three bases. They only attempted two others. That isn’t going to get it done with the volume of games the Rockies have to play in Los Angeles, San Diego and San Francisco, which consistently play as pitcher’s parks.
I understand that as the Rockies commit to being more aggressive, a byproduct will be more guys getting thrown out. I expect that to be a problem particularly early in the year as they get more comfortable, but let’s go out and steal at least six bags on this road trip, doubling last year’s output from the first seven road games.