As a matter of proper discourse, I believe an introduction is in order.
I'm going to regularly post "The State of the Rockies" here at ColoradoHomers and I am also the one and the only "Jeff" from the first blog that is considered not to be funny.
I am a Denver native and an absolute, unabashed fan of Colorado sports. That's what we do here. I'm not an insider or journalist, I don't talk to athletes (except for JT, who is one hell of a field hockey player) and, quite honestly, think both the print media and talking heads on the radio and TV have very little to contribute to a "fan" of our local sports.
I am both myopic and honest at the same time, if you can believe that. Yes, I think the Broncos will win the Super Bowl every year going back to 1983 (I hope I don't have to explain the significance of that year to everyone) and I think that, indeed, the Rockies are in the midst of their breakthrough year, every year. That's part of what being a fan means to me. I have in my own mind, every reasonable piece of data available to me that helps prove my point. That's where the honesty comes in. I also realize that the 35 year time horizon that JT has put on the Rockies is fairly reasonable. Again, honesty.
With that in mind, I intend to pontificate on every sport in some way, shape or form here with most of my interest going toward the Rockies, the Broncos, and the University of Colorado Athletic Department. For you CSU fans out there, my dad played QB for you back in the late 50's, but I certainly will not hide my disdain for your team and some of your fans. I will, however, honestly discuss your team's chances as well as anyone can that does not consider themselves a "fan".
All that being said...let's discuss our Rox.
First, as of this writing, they are a paltry 4-5. Any right-minded baseball fan will tell you that 3 of those losses have come on the last AB of the game and could have gone either way. In fact, 4 of the Rockies games have come down to the last AB and we're 1-3 in those games. So let's be fair and assume that they should actually be closer to 6-3 or 5-4 and have played 6 games on the road against favorites to win the NL West.
Second, let us also note that the Rox lead MLB with 7 quality starts as of this writing. For those who don't know what a Quality Start is, it is defined by 6 IP and 3 ER given up or less. For you old timers, I'm sure 6 IP is not going to make you do cartwheels, but that's the definition. Also, before last night's game, we had a team ERA under 3.00. Not bad...but!
This all looks sneakily suspicious and similar to last year. Very little "clutch hitting", not able to drive runs in (14 runs in the 6 game roady so far, 10 of those coming in the 2 wins), poor ABs (see Holiday's bases loaded catastrophe from 4/10) in those clutch situations, and simply everyone going into a slump at the same time. Couple that with fantastic starting pitching and a shaky bullpen, and we're 4-5. Both Fuentes and Hawkins have looked scared at times this season and Hurdle just sticks to the ACME Baseball Manager's Handbook at all times. Must be nice to get a cozy extension.
Still, though, there are a lot of great things going on. We have the #2 farm system in all of baseball (I have followed minor league baseball fanatically since 1999) and trust me on this one, this current wave of talent might not be as good as what is to come. O'Dowd (who I am a supporter of, by the way. Bring it on, Rockies fan base!!!) has done a wonderful job assembling cheap talent in waves. We have a very solid nucleus of talent and a very serviceable 1-5 in the rotation. The bullpen is both young, cheap, and good AND old, overpriced and bad at the same time, depending on who we're talking about. Our closer is one of the best in the NL. This team, in my opinion, should win 85-87 games this year and compete for the division or a wild card. That is...if they can fix the slump thing.
I'm intersted in what other people think on this topic (if anyone is even reading our stuff yet) and ask if anyone has seen anything quite like it. Obviously, I'm sure this is not unique, but seriously... When the Rox slump, they do it in style. The bats disappear entirely. NOBODY gets on base and it seems like everyone stands around and looks at eachother waiting for someone to come help them. I guess this is where Todd Helton is supposed to come in, but who knows.
Regardless, those are my thoughts through the first 3 series of the year. The Purple Pinstripes are off to Phoenix to finish up the road trip, and I'll check back in next week with The State of the Rockies #2. I'll give a position by position breakdown with more of a standard season preview-type feel to it.