Rockies news and links for Saturday October 1, 2016.
Who will manage the Rockies in 2017 is a major question in the final weekend of the 2016 season. While it's possible for the Rockies to offer Weiss another contract, it's looking increasingly like he won't be back. Patrick Saunders notes that the fact that there haven't been any "discussions about returning is a red flag."
The Rockies are in an unusual position in that they can hire a new manager without firing their existing one. Dick Monfort is more likely to sign-off on letting Weiss flitter away instead of firing him. Once the Rockies have an open position, they have no reason not to at least begin considering and interviewing other candidates. They'll have that job vacancy in two days.
Tyler Anderson was slated to make his final start of 2016 tonight, but he'll skip it due to "general arm soreness" that's described as a longer recovery from his previous start. That wraps up Anderson's tremendously successful rookie season.
On Friday, Gerardo Parra received a platelet-rich plasma injection in his left ankle. It was the same ankle he sprained that shelved him earlier in the season. Harding spoke to Parra about his "disappointing" season, and Parra's hope to return to form next season. He also mentions he played this season with more weight than he has in the past, so we can already mark down one "best shape of his life" story for March. Parra is signed through 2018.
Chad Bettis notches win number 14 and Nolan Arenado hits homer number 41 as Rockies roll 4-1.
The Colorado Rockies won their 75th game tonight. When juxtaposed against their 85 losses, that doesn't sound like a very impressive feat. However, it represents the most wins the team has had in a season since 2010, and if you think that statistic is damning with faint praise, just listen to this one: The 2016 campaign is now one of the ten most successful in the franchise's 24-year history. But enough about historical significance...
The Rockies beat the Brewers 4-1 in front of a large fireworks crowd of 41,068 behind a strong start from Chad Bettis and quick work by their bullpen. They also benefitted from Milwaukee going 1-for-12 with runners in scoring position. The one hit came in the sixth inning and it resulted in Chris Carter getting thrown out at the plate by David Dahl.
Bettis's line in his final start of the season: 6 2/3 innings pitched, eight hits, three walks, five strikeouts and just one run allowed. He finishes the year with a 14-8 record and an ERA of 4.79. Carlos Estevez and Adam Ottavino were both perfect in relief and the game ended in just two hours and 30 minutes.
Nolan Arenado gave Bettis all the support he would need in the bottom of the first with a long two-run homer to center field that scored DJ LeMahieu, who had reached on a fielder's choice. It was Nolan's 41st of the season; one shy of the career high he set last year.
After DJ failed to get a hit in his first two at-bats, Walt Weiss removed him from the game in an attempt to preserve his batting title. It remains to be seen whether he'll play again this weekend or not.
The Rockies tacked on a run in the second on a Charlie Blackmon single that scored Daniel Descalso, and in the third when Nick Hundley singled in Arenado, who hit his 35th double of the season to start the inning. The result was never much in doubt after that.
Colorado will go for win number 76 tomorrow at 6:10 MDT when Jeff Hoffman again goes in search of his first big league win against Wily Peralta.
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The Milwaukee Brewers announced a player development contract with the Carolina Mudcats, leaving Lancaster as the only option for the Rockies.
The Colorado Rockies will field their High-A team in Lancaster, Calif., beginning next season.
The club hasn't made an official announcement, but as the lone Class-A Advanced city currently without an affiliate, it's a foregone conclusion that Lancaster will soon announce a player development contract with the Rox after the other remaining option -- the Carolina Mudcats -- came to an agreement with the Milwaukee Brewers on Friday.
Lancaster is a fitting destination for the Rockies. As we all know (because the ballpark has officially reached meme status), Coors Field is heavy on the offense; the JetHawks' ballpark, The Hangar, makes Coors look like Petco Park. The 4,600-seat park, built in 1996, surrendered 148 home runs through 54 games last season. By comparison, 57 (to that point) road games played by the JetHawks -- at the time, a Houston Astros affiliate (the Astros will move to the Carolina League -- specifically, Fayetteville, N.C.) -- saw just 83 combined homers. In all, 14.1 runs per game were scored at The Hangar through Aug. 5.
In short, get ready for a lot of inflated offensive numbers and some pitching lines that probably won't be as bad as they look. Where have we seen that before?
Your news, notes and links for Friday, September 30.
Walt Weiss to meet with Rockies after season | MLB.com
We won't have to wait long after the season finishes to find out the future of Walt Weiss. The two sides have a meeting planned for next week following the conclusion of the season. Neither side will indicate which way they are leaning at this point in time, but Bridich credited Weiss with an improvement in the environment in the clubhouse. Is that enough to warrant a new contract? We have to wait and see.
Rockies Mailbag: Does owner Dick Monfort care about winning? – The Denver Post
Normally I wouldn't include a mailbag, but Patrick Saunders did an excellent job of handling a few tough questions, including one about the job Jeff Bridich has done as general manager. As you might expect, the man asking if the Monforts care about winning brought up the Party Deck.
Chicago Cubs-Pittsburgh Pirates stopped by rain, first tie in majors since 2005 – The Denver Post
This isn't Rockies-related, but it's such an unusual story I wanted to include it. The Pirates and the Cubs tied 1-1 in Pittsburgh after the game was called in the sixth. The delay was only an hour and 23 minutes, but they decided that was enough.
2016-09-29T23:31:45-06:00Defensive mishaps and a hot opposing starting pitcher did in the Rockies in their final road game of 2016. The San Francisco Giants beat the Colorado Rockies 7-2 Thursday night. The Giants showed why they're in the playoff hunt Thursday night behind one of their stellar starting pitchers, Johnny Cueto. Cueto struck out 11 Rockies through his seven innings of work and only allowed two runs in his final regular season start. Jon Gray pitched better than his stat line indicated with defensive mishaps and slowly hit balls as the source of his demise. He pitched 5.1 innings, gave up five runs (four earned) on eight hits, walked three, and struck out three. The Rockies started the game off with a bang, scoring two quick runs and putting pressure on the Giants. The Rockies alternated extra-base hits with strikeouts in the top of the first. Blackmon led off the game with a double and scored on Arenado's double while David Dahl's triple drove in Arenado. The early power output was huge, especially against a top-tier pitcher like Cueto. Gray cruised through the first three innings, only seeing one threat over those innings -- a two-out triple in the second -- but was able to avoid any damage. The Giants finally struck in the fourth. Gray walked Buster Posey to start the inning and quickly had a no-out, runners on second and third situation after a Hunter Pence double. Posey scored on a Brandon Crawford groundout and a Joe Panik single scored Pence with two outs. The fourth inning ended with a score of 2-2. The game got ugly in the sixth. The inning started with a Crawford single off Jon Gray's foot and a Gray throwing error pushed him to second. Pagan laid down a perfect bunt and beat out an Arenado throw for an infield single and the bases were loaded on a Gerardo Parra attempt to throw out Crawford at third on a ground ball to first. With nobody out, the situation seemed dire. Gray got Conor Gillaspie to hit a sacrifice fly, giving up the run bet getting that very important first out of the inning. Things looked manageable with Johnny Cueto, notorious bad swinger, coming up to the plate. With one out, Cueto is expected to drop a bunt down and he did. Unfortunately, there was a miscommunication between Gray and Arenado on whose ball that was, causing a rushed throw from Arenado and the ball skipped down the first base line, allowing the two runners on base to score. Gray was replaced by Chris Rusin, who induced a ground ball out and a popout to end the inning but not before the damage was done. The Rockies headed into the seventh down 5-2. The Giants added two more in the bottom of the eighth after a bases loaded walk and a sacrifice fly, making the score 7-2. The Rockies start their final series of the season as they host the Milwaukee Brewers on Friday at 6:10 p.m. MT. Chad Bettis will take on 27-year-old rookie Brent Suter. [...]
2016-09-29T07:48:54-06:00Baseball is dying and everyone is tuning in to see it. Here Are The 2016 MLB Prime Time Television Ratings For Each Team | Forbes It's almost October, which means it's almost time for every hot take columnist’s favorite season: using playoff television ratings to decry The End of Baseball. It's no secret that baseball has problems on the horizon: an aging fan base that's not getting younger; a business model predicated on large regional sports network contacts buoyed by TV provider carriage fees. But when someone tries to tell you nobody is watching baseball anymore, don't believe a word of it. For the sake of argument, let’s ignore the fact that Major League Baseball is raking in near $10 billion in revenue, and let’s also ignore that they just received a $1 billion investment in BAMtech, the company created to support MLB.tv, and address the argument on its own terms. According to data from Nielsen, this season nine clubs (Royals, Tigers, Orioles, Pirates, Indians, Red Sox, Mariners, and Giants) had the number one television ranking across all networks in primetime, and 16 (including the Rockies) were in the top three. If you limit it to just cable, 24 of 29 teams (Canadian data for the Blue Jays was not included) were rated as the top program in primetime. That means if you turn on a television in a major league city in primetime during baseball season (and it’s not tuned to a streaming service), odds are high that a baseball game is on. This is particularly interesting given the sheer number of games and how easy it is to say, “Nah, I’ll watch tomorrow.” For the Rockies specifically, the numbers are quite interesting. Denver produced a 2.78 rating (which means nearly 3 percent of televisions across the Front Range are watching the Rockies; here’s how the ratings work), an increase of 36 percent from last season. This represents the second highest ratings increase for any team in baseball (Cleveland really loves their baseball now, with ratings up 71 percent from 2015). So not only have the Rockies been better, and likely to get better going forward, more people are tuning in to see it happen. They were ranked just 14th in baseball, but that’s up from 21 last season. Clearly, the reports of baseball’s death have been exaggerated. Fortunately, due to people analyzing the myths surrounding the decline, we’re seeing this narrative play out less and less in the mainstream media. But just in case you hear it around your friends when you tell them, “Sorry, I can’t, I’m watching the playoffs,” at least you’ll have an answer. Jon Gray harnesses curveball, takes steps toward being Rockies’ ace | Denver Post The pathway to being an ace is a complicated one. In addition to regaining his slider, Patrick Saunders shows us how Gray has used his curveball--a fairly new weapon in his arsenal--to further solidify his rise to success. Gray makes his final start of the season tonight against San Francisco. [...]
Chatwood finished with the best road ERA in MLB this season and in franchise history.
Tyler Chatwood held San Francisco Giants hitters to just three hits and two walks in eight scoreless innings in the Colorado Rockies’ 2-0 win at AT&T Park on Wednesday.
Chatwood, who racked up nine strikeouts and induced eight groundouts — including two double plays — ended up setting a franchise record and 2016 MLB-best mark with a 1.69 road ERA this season.
Only four other pitchers — Greg Maddux, Roger Clemens, Pedro Martinez and Jake Arietta — have posted a better road ERA than Chatwood during the Wild Card era, according to Purple Dinsoaur Podcast.
Colorado’s offense didn't do much to help Chatwood but did just enough. Nolan Arenado opened the scoring in the fourth inning with a bloop single to score Carlos Gonzalez, who hit a one-out double a batter earlier. It was Arenado’s 130th RBI of 2016, giving him two consecutive seasons of 40 or more home runs and 130 or more RBI. That placed Arenado in elite company; only Hall of Famers Chuck Klein and Jimmie Fox previously did that prior to turning 26 years old, per Elias Sports Bureau.
Gerardo Parra in the seventh pushed across David Dahl, who led off the inning with a double, for the Rockies’ only other run. Fortunately, that's all Colorado needed due to timely (if not extremely effective or efficient) work from Boone Logan and Adam Ottavino to close it out.
Weiss willing to do the little things to win... a batting title
Just like 2014 when he sat Justin Morneau, Walt Weiss has made it publicly known that he’s not above sitting DJ LeMahieu if it locks up another batting title for the Rockies. Considering that Daniel Murphy, who LeMahieu has a two point lead over, hasn’t played in over a week with a sore butt, and may not play another game in the regular season, I’m surprised we’ve seen DJ play at all the last week.
Thankfully, DJ has been playing and will most likely continue playing through almost the end of the season. However, it’s frustrating to see Weiss willing to do the littlest of thing to help DJ win a batting title, when he doesn’t seem as willing to do the little things to help the team win games.
According to Giants fans, Nolan Arenado really likes hitting against the Giants. In 67 games against them, he’s hit 19 home runs and has a .306/.357/.623 line. Good numbers for sure, however, that’s only a 45 home-run pace over 162 games and about 28% better than his career numbers overall. Arenado has definitely done better against the Giants than average, but a large part of his dominating numbers against them are more of a reflection on his general dominance of the game.
In the smaller sample size of just this season, things aren’t that much different. He has five home runs and a .324/.387/.706 line. Once again, great numbers but only 31% better than his overall numbers for the season, and 47 home run pace over 162 games.
Nolan has followed up last year’s stellar campaign with an even better one. Unfortunately, not only does the Rockies inability to have a winning campaign put a damper on Arenado’s spirits, it also puts a damper on his chances of winning the MVP this year.