Results tagged ‘ Jason Hammel ’

Crazy weather leads to postponement

Turns out Rockies right-hander Jhoulys Chacin’s mother was right about Denver’s unpredictable weather.

After Denver reached a record-high 84 degrees on Saturday, a rain-snow mix hit on Sunday and forced the final game of the season-opening series with the D-backs. No makeup date was immediately announced.

Chacin was supposed to make his first start of the season, against the D-backs’ Joe Saunders. Chacin invited his parents from Venezuela, but said his mother put off the trip until at least May because she doesn’t like bad weather.

The teams took batting practice in cold wind. By the time the postponement was announced it was rain and snow. Within minutes after announcement, it was simply snow.

Chacin, instead, will start Tuesday against the Dodgers. Righty Jason Hammel will start Wednesday in the second game of the two-game set at Coors.

Right-hander Esmil Rogers, who won the fifth starter spot in Spring Training, will start on Thursday at Pittsburgh in the Pirates’ home opener, and the first home game for current Bucs skipper and former Rockies manger Clint Hurdle. Ubaldo Jimenez, who is battling a cut cuticle on his right (pitching) thumb, is scheduled for Friday. Jorge De La Rosa, who left his first start of the season on Saturday with a blistered left middle finger, will start Saturday at Pittsburgh.

According to the Rockies, tickets from Sunday’s game are valid for the makeup, whenever it is scheduled. Exchanges may be made for any game the remainder of the season, value-for-value, as long as the exchange is made before the makeup date. There are no cash refunds.

Ticket exchanges will be accepted at Coors Field Ticket Office and all Rockies Dugout Stores.

Complimentary tickets have a value of zero dollars and may not be exchanged, and discounted tickets may be exchanged only for the amount paid to the Rockies and are subject to any constraints applicable to the original sale.

For more information, call (303) ROCKIES.

A good stopping point …

– Saturday’s no-hitter by Ubaldo Jimenez against the Braves was the obvious high point, but Sunday’s 4-3 loss to the Braves is a better illustration of where the Rockies stand. They didn’t do enough to win. Sometimes when this happens, they win, anyhow. Sunday, they didn’t.

Five hits from an offense that has been sporadic and 11 walks from pitching that has generally performed well were a recipe for disaster. Yet, the Rockies didn’t give the game away until closer Franklin Morales couldn’t throw strikes consistently in the ninth inning.

Sometimes things go wrong and they win. Sunday, many things went wrong and they almost won. Manager Jim Tracy has been noting all weekend that he ability to stay in or pull out games while not necessarily playing well is encouraging, since it means the club is capable of catching fire.

– The power and situational hitting have come and gone. The team hasn’t been consistently effective on the bases. Errors defensively have been a concern. Which area will begin to perform better first?

I believe the defense has become better. And defense is the one area that can turn hot and not cool. The Rockies made all the plays necessary behind Jimenez during the no-hitter, and performed well Sunday. Not making mistakes makes a team solid, and the Rockies are headed in that direction. The difference between solid and spectacular is taking advantage of chances the be spectacular, the way Dexter Fowler made plays behind Jimenez and the way Carlos Gonzalez did Sunday in throwing out Melky Cabrera at the plate from right field.

Shortstop Troy Tulowitzki has made some highlight reel plays, but in other cases he’s almost made them. That should change. I also believe third baseman Ian Stewart, who has had some questionable throws, needs one or two eye-popping plays to settle him and make him more consistently.

– It may be too soon but I don’t think I’m out of line for wondering … How would the lineup perform with Stewart, a power threat, in the No. 3 position, and first Todd Helton in the No. 7 hole?

– I like the way right fielder Brad Hawpe has swung the bat. I also like the way the team is monitoring his playing time. For me, it comes to this unscientific explanation: Hawpe is a big, strong fellow whose body type may be more suited for first base than the outfield. His recent quadriceps injury occurred after a swing, but the place to watch him is in the outfield, especially when he has a lot of activity. Nagging aches are unavoidable, but keep them under control and he’ll produce from April to September. This is an underrated star. 

– Although Morales has had a rough patch, I like he way the bullpen has performed. It it can maintain some consistency, imagine how much stronger it should be when right-handers Huston Street and Taylor Buchholz return.

– The rotation has been solid. Three keys could take it beyond that. 1. Jason Hammel must find some consistency. It’s early, so it’s not time to panic. 2. Greg Smith has shown a capacity to make the pitch he needs to keep situations from becoming messy, but he’ll be better if he can throw well-located strikes early in counts. 3. Aaron Cook hasn’t found his sinker. I was left intrigued by his last outing, when he relied on breaking balls and gave the team a chance to win against the Mets. Will he reach a stage where he’ll dominate with the sinker for a number of outings in a row, or will a good percentage of his outings be ones where he has to be creative?

Hey, folks, these are more Monday morning thoughts, not super observations. Where do you think the Rockies are, and how can they be better?

Hammel: Bad inning, good spring

Rockies right-hander Jason Hammel was strong overall, but his Cactus League ended with a bad final inning. Hammel gave up four runs in the fifth inning of Monday’s game against the Rangers. The inning featured Nelson Cruz’s two-run shot, after Vladimir Guerrero had reached on a bad-hop grounder that should have ended the inning.

 

For the game, Hammel went five innings, threw 90 pitches, and gave up five runs and eight hits, with four strikeouts and two walks.

 

“I’m ready to start making them count,” Hammel said. “My line wasn’t good but my arm felt good. I wanted to pull a positive out of it, but the last inning I got beat by a couple of fastballs that were up and a curveball that I hung. This is a good-hitting lineup and they hit mistakes.”

 

Hammel said one positive was he found his slider during the game. That and the elevated pitch count put him in a good position to start the regular season.

 

The outing against the Rangers increased Hammel’s spring ERA from 3.79 to 4.88. Hammel is scheduled for his first regular-season start April 10 at Coors Field against the Padres. He’ll throw one more time between now and then, at the Rockies’ training complex in Tucson, Ariz.

 

“Jason Hammel had a better outing than the numbers would indicate,” Rockies manager Jim Tracy said. “Obviously, he was out of the inning on the groundball that Guerrero hit that took the bad hop. But that’s not an excuse to hang the breaking ball he hung to Nelson Cruz, which is what happened.

 

“But he got his pitch count up there where we wanted it today.”

 

Cook finds form against White Sox

Before Sunday, the last Aaron Cook sighting in a Cactus League game featured him getting knocked around by the White Sox on March 16 — six runs and six hits in three innings pitched.

But Cook felt he regained his timing in a Minor League game last Saturday. He returned against the White Sox on Saturday afternoon and held them to one run and six hits in six innings of the Rockies’ 6-2 loss at Hi Corbett Field.

It’s as if the bad game against the Sox — and the bad start to the spring (0-2, 11.42 ERA in three starts) never occurred.

“I hate to say I was just getting my work in [during the first few starts], but that’s what I have to use it as — getting my arm in shape,” Cook said. “Now that I’m getting my timing down, and I’m getting the ball coming out of my hand real well, it’s time to go out there and start getting after it.”

Cook said he likes the order of the rotation. Right-hander Ubaldo Jimenez will open on April 5 in Milwaukee, followed by lefty Jeff Francis and Cook. Lefty Jorge De La Rosa will start the home opener on April 9, followed by righty Jason Hammel.

“We’ve got five completely different pitchers that we’re running out there, so it’s not like we’re running back-to-back sinkerballers or back-to-back lefties,” Cook said.

 

Beimel en route; here’s the lineup

Left-hander Joe Beimel, who reached a Minor League agreement with the club yesterday to join a competitive bullpen association, is scheduled to arrive in Tucson later this morning.

In the meantime, manager Jim Tracy has posted a lineup that, save for the pitcher, looks like something you’d see on Opening Day.

Carlos Gonzalez, LF

Dexter Fowler, CF

Todd Helton, 1B

Troy Tulowitzki, SS

Brad Hawpe, RF

Chris Iannetta, C

Ian Stewart, 3B

Clint Barmes, 2B

Jason Hammel, RHP

Two catchers who have been injured recently, Paul Lo Duca (right arm strain) and Paul Phillips (right calf strain) are listed as available on the lineup card. Lo Duca said if he plays defensively, it’ll be at first base.

Righty reliever Rafael Betancourt will make his first appearance of the spring after battling shoulder tightness, and lefty Randy Flores will return after being hit on the throwing forearm by a line drive six days ago.

Smith has solid numbers, but work to do

Rockies left-hander Greg Smith’s presence means the Rockies have starting rotation depth. His performance in Cactus League play has been far better than one would expect from a depth guy.

 

Smith held the Athletics to one run and three hits in five innings of Friday’s 10-4 Rockies victory. He also struck out six, and had his third successful pickoff of the spring.

 

Still, it would take some misfortune on someone’s behalf for him to make the team to start the season, since the Rockies have five starters.

 

Since Smith underwent elbow surgery after a promising rookie season with the Athletics in 2008 and didn’t pitch in the Majors last year because of shoulder and back ailments, he isn’t being considered for bullpen duty. That means he most likely will begin the year at Triple-A Colorado Springs.

 

“They haven’t said a word to me, so my next step is work out tomorrow,” Smith said. “I’m whatever they tell me, whenever they tell me.”

 

Rather than be concerned about that, Smith is trying to continue his development. On Friday, he was behind in the count more than manager Jim Tracy would have liked, and didn’t spot his pitches to his glove side the way he wanted. He also was kicking himself for not successfully placing a bunt in his second at-bat.

 

Nonetheless, Smith’s 1.93 ERA matches the sparkling ones posted by confirmed rotation members Jorge De La Rosa and Jason Hammel.

 

“I wish it was a year earlier,” said Smith, who barely participated in Spring Training because of the flu and shoulder tightness. “But you learn a couple things being hurt. You learn what you should have done, what you should do, what to fix. This year was all about being healthy. I think I’ve made that step.”

 

Tracy said Smith was passable, but could be better.

 

“‘Smitty’ got ‘em out but he got them out dealing with a lot of hitter’s counts,” Tracy said. “He seems to be one of those types of craftsmen where he seems to always have one more pitch.

 

“Yet, I know that from an effectiveness standpoint, it will be difficult for him to go out there and pitch every fifth day, and pitch from behind.”

 

– Right-hander Tim Redding gave up two runs on three hits, including a triple and a double, in his one inning. Redding had competed for the rotation, but it was his first appearance after being converted to bullpen duty.

 

Tracy said part of it was just getting used to a new role. Redding attacked hitters well but didn’t locate payoff pitches.

 

“He threw his strikes, he got through his inning, and we’ll realize the fact that it was the first time we brought him out of the bullpen, then we’ll see what the follow up is,” Tracy said.

 

– Righty Manuel Corpas had two outs in his inning, but gave up a Daric Barton home run.

 

“Corpas was down,” Tracy said. “He did give up the home run to Barton. It was a sinker that didn’t sink enough.

 

“I wanted to see him get the ball down, and that’s what he did today.”

Lineups for Monday; Street update

Here’s the Rockies’ lineup against the Padres at Peoria:

Eric Young Jr., 2B

Dexter Fowler, CF

Cole Garner, RF

Troy Tulowitzki, SS

Miguel Olivo, C

Michael Paulk, 1B

Jonathan Herrera, 3B

Jorge De La Rosa, LHP

Here’s the rest of the Rockies’ pitching schedule: RHP Jason Hammel, RHP Matt Belisle, RHP Matt Daley, LHP Jimmy Gobble

In another development, well, there wasn’t much of one. Right-hander Huston Street threw a light bullpen session on Sunday that went well, but the true test of whether the stiffness and inflammation in his right shoulder is improving is how he feels the next day.

“I feel good … that’s it,” Street said Monday morning.

Time to get started

It’s time to turn on the radio and dream of a regular season ahead. The Rockies will open Cactus League play today at 1:05 p.m. against the D-backs at Tucson Electric Park. Here is the Rockies’ lineup.

2B Eric Young Jr.

1B Paul Lo Duca

CF Carlos Gonzalez

RF Ryan Spilborghs

LF Seth Smith

C Chris Iannetta

3B Ian Stewart

SS Jonathan Herrera

RHP Jason Hammel

Here is the rest of the Rockies’ pitching schedule for today: LHP Jorge De La Rosa, RHP Manuel Corpas, RHP Juan Rincon and LHP Franklin Morales. The backups, in case any pitcher struggles, are right-handers Alberto Alburquerque, Shane Lindsay, Edgmer Escalona and Andrew Johnston.

D-backs pitchers will be RHP Billy Buckner, RHP T.J. Beam, RHP Bob Howry, LHP Tom Layne and RHP Leo Rosales. 

 

Betancourt, Hawpe delay Cactus League debuts

Rockies right-handed reliever Rafael Betancourt was scratched from his scheduled appearance in Thursday’s Cactus League opener against the D-backs at Tucson Electric Park. There isn’t an injury. It’s just that Betancourt lost three weeks of season preparation because of a virus.

Betancourt said he became ill just after Christmas, and didn’t work out until going to Denver for his preseason physical Jan. 19. He dropped about 10 pounds. After the visit to Denver, Betancourt went to Jacobs Field in Cleveland — he was with the Indians his entire Major League career until being traded to the Rockies last July — to continue season preparation.

There is no other physical issue, Betancourt said. But he wants to face hitters at least twice more before entering game competition.

“The first time I faced a hitter was Saturday,” Betancourt said. “I feel like I need a little bit more to be able to pitch in a game.

“I told the pitching coach [Bob Apodaca] I want to go step-by-step. If I pitch the first game, I don’t feel I’m doing that. It’s like I’m rushing everything. This is Spring Training. I have to be real smart.”

The Rockies will have left-handed starter Jorge De La Rosa pitch two innings Thursday. Right-hander Jason Hammel is scheduled to start and throw two innings.

Also, right fielder Brad Hawpe reported that the infection in an ingrown toenail on his left foot has subsided to the point that he can begin baseball activities on Monday. Hawpe said it’s likely he will miss at least the first couple of days of Cactus League games, but he will be fine.

Rain hits, but the important work is done

A hard and chilly rain hit Tucson right around the time the Rockies’ pitchers and catchers were scheduled to end their drills during Saturday morning’s workout. It forced the team to change some plans for post-workout conditioning, but manager Jim Tracy said the baseball work was done.

Tracy is calling on his pitchers to be versatile offensively. Most of the time they’ll be asked to advance runners, with the bunt being the No. 1 weapon. But if pitchers develp the ability to slug-bunt for a base hit in such a situation or hit-and-run, suddenly Tracy can make surprise calls — or at least give the opponent other factors to consider.

“You look at those great Braves clubs with [Greg] Maddux, and [John] Smoltz, and [Tom] Glavine, and, back in the day, [Steve] Avery,” Tracy said. “One of the things you knew, and this goes back to when I was a coach in Montreal, they started and were able to do a lot of things. When they walked to the plate, yes, you knew a bunt was in order and there were times they would do that.

“But you had to be concious about the fact they could possibly do anything. That alone right there eased the opportunity for you to get the job done.”

Jason Marquis, one of baseball’s best offensive pitchers, took his bat and arm to the Nationals this winter after a strong 2009 for the Rockies. But Aaron Cook is such a versatile hitter that former manager Clint Hurdle used him as a pinch-hitter, and Jeff Francis has been more-than respectable at the plate.

At one point, stories of Ubaldo Jimenez’s ineptitude with the bat were sources of comedy, and Jorge De La Rosa wasn’t good, eithre. Now Jimenez is advanced with the bat. De La Rosa won an important game with the Mets last season with a double. Tracy said Jason Hammel, who had been in the American League with the Rays before being traded to the Rockies at the start of the seaso, also improved as last season progressed.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.