Results tagged ‘ Kazuo Matsui ’

Could Rox return to the Matsui era?

An intriguing possibility for the Rockies presented itself when the Astros asked unconditional release waivers on second baseman Kazuo Matsui after their game with the Rockies on Wednesday night. Matsui, of course, was one of the key cogs in the Rockies’ run to the 2007 World Series. Matsui, 34, signed with the Astros after that season. He hit .293 with 20 stolen bases in 96 games for the Astros in 2008 but dropped to .250 with 19 steals in 132 games in 2009.

Any club has the right to claim Matsui by Monday. The Rockies aren’t inclined to do so and it’s not clear if anyone wants to pick him up an clear a roster spot for him. However, if he clears waivers, it’s fair to say the Rockies have reason to be intrigued.

Matsui was a superstar in Japan. After much fanfare, he signed with the Mets for the 2004 season but didn’t blossom in the Majors until joining the Rockies in a 2006 trade. Matsui hit .300 with six home runs, 56 RBIs and 40 steals in 132 total games with the Rockies. His high point with the Rockies was a grand slam in the 10-5 victory in Game 2 of the National League Division Series against the Phillies.

Also, Matsui was well-liked by teammates and management.

What role would he have with the Rockies today? Just guessing here, but he certainly could add depth. He would more likely have to go to Triple-A Colorado Springs for regular playing time, but could be a reasonable alternative if Rockies starting second baseman Clint Barmes continues to struggle offensively and defensively. The drawback about Matsui, however, would be that it would be hard to ask him to play shortstop on days that Troy Tulowitzki rests. Barmes can do that. Also, Matsui’s decline the last two years left veteran baseball observers questioning how much he has left, especially after years of back issues.

Still, it would be worth it for the Rockies to at least consider approaching Matsui to increase depth.

Go Pens! … Nothing wrong with Barmes

As I write, the Penguins are up on the Capitals, 4-0, in the second period of Game 7. How cool.

Good comment on yesterday’s blog: infielder Clint Barmes has been notably absent from the starting lineup, and he isn’t starting tonight, either. It would make some sense to have him at second as another left-handed bat against Astros lefty Mike Hampton. Plus, Barmes hasn’t been in the lineup since Friday, when he went 0-for-4 with three strikeouts against the Marlins.

Checked with Barmes today. He’s not injured and says he’s ready to play when needed.

A few factors keep Barmes out of the lineup:

– The Rockies are giving third baseman Garrett Atkins more time to overcome his almost season-long hitting slump. Manager Clint Hurdle said he gives a younger player abotu 100 at-bats and a player of Atkins’ experience about 150 at-bats to find his form.

– Stewart hit two home runs last night agianst the Astros. He also has a history of hitting lefties well.

“I want to see him against this left-hander, Mike [Hampton],” Hurdle said. “We know him a little bit, not that ‘Stew’ does. Just watching tape and historically, Mike gets outs. There’s no doubt he can get people out. His walks-to-strikeouts ratio is better against left-handers but the batting average is pretty similar, .284 to .281.

“‘Stew’ still has a pretty good history of hitting left-handed pitching. [Thursday starter Wandy] Rodriguez could present more of a challenge. He’s just off to a tremendous start this year, overall and especially against left-handed hitters. And I want to play off the momentum he was able to create and bring to the table yesterday.”

Here are both lineups:

Astros

Kazuo Matsui            2B

Michael Bourn           CF

Lance Berkman         1B

Carlos Lee                 LF

Miguel Tejada            SS

Hunter Pence            RF

Geoff Blum                3B

Humberto Quintero      C

Mike Hampton            P

Rockies

Dexter Fowler           CF

Troy Tulowitzki         SS

Todd Helton              1B

Ryan Spilborghs        LF

Brad Hawpe              RF

Garrett Atkins           3B

Chris Iannetta             C

Ian Stewart                2B

Jason Marquis             P

No hot seat, but still …

I’ve been asked on a number of radio shows recently about the jobsecurity of Rockies manager Clint Hurdle. It’s logical. After all, the D-backs fired Bob Melvin, and that team had a slightly better record than the Rockies. I said all along that it’s not the Rockies’ style to make such a quick change. None of my sources have said anything different. If there was heat, it was from the outside. A story in the Denver Post today confirms; ownership isn’t looking to make the big change.

Anyhow, here’s the issue: they’ve got to score to win. The Rockies’ pitching was supposed to be weak, yet the staff leads the National league with a 2.81 ERA in May. Their May record is 4-6 going into Tuesday night’s game against the Astros at Coors Field.

hHit and everyone stays employed. Or at least that’s the way it seems to me.

Shortstop Troy Tulowitzki will do his part tonight. The pain from the quadriceps strain he suffered Sunday is manageable, so he’s in the lineup. 

Here are tonight’s lineups:

Astros

Kazuo Matsui                   2B

Michael Bourn                  CF

Lance Berkman                1B

Carlos Lee                        LF

Miguel Tejada                   SS

Hunter Pence                   RF

Geoff Blum                       3B

Ivan Rodriguez                   C

Felipe Paulino                   P

Rockies

Dexter Fowler                  CF

Troy Tulowitzki                SS

Todd Helton                    1B

Brad Hawpe                    RF

Garrett Atkins                 3B

Seth Smith                     LF

Chris Iannetta                   C

Ian Stewart                     3B

Ubaldo Jimenez                P

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