Results tagged ‘ Rockies ’

Ready or not, Rockies’ Brothers must be right as he faces Dodgers

After a slump of about a week and a half, Rockies left-handed relief pitcher Rex Brothers appears to be in better sorts. In his last three appearances, he has thrown three scoreless innings with seven strikeouts, two hits and no walks.

Brothers will need to be at top form with the Dodgers invading Coors Field on Monday night for the opener of a three-game series.

Leading the Dodgers, whose 16-6 record matches 1981 for tthe best start in franchise history, is Matt Kemp, who has a franchise-record 11 April homers and is the early frontrunner for National League Most Valuable Player. In tight, late situations, manager Jim Tracy will not let Kemp beat the Rockes.

In close, late situations, expect Tracy to walk Kemp and let Brothers face Andre Ethier, who is no slouch with five home runs and 24 RBIs — which ties him with memp for the National League lead. Still, that left-on-left matchup is one the Rockies would rather have.

“The deal with Rex Brothers yesterday was to get him right or get him much closer,” Tracy said. “As a matter of fact, he might be there, but monitoring every pitch that he threw yesterday to make sure that there’s availability for this specific situation.”

When Tracy managed the Dodgers a few years back, Kemp was a top Minor League prospect who impressed him during some Spring Training cameo appearances. Kemp went through a difficult 2010 season, but last year he realized his potential and finished second to the Brewers’ Ryan Braun in National League Most Valuable Player voting. Tracy said Kemp should be proud of his growth.

“I tip my cap to the guy,” Tracy said. “When you have young kids that hang on everything that goes on at the Major League level and have an opportunity to identify with a player like this, both character-wise and physically, that’s refreshing.”

Tracy rested right fielder Michael Cuddyer for just the second time this season. Tyler Colvin started in right field. The lineup also has Jonathan Herrera hitting second and playing third base, because Tracy wants to give Chris Nelson a day off because he had fought through left wrist soreness last week. Tracy also said that at some point in the three-game series with the Dodgers, Herrera will start at second base and Marco Scutaro will rest.

Dodgers lineup

Dee Gordon, SS (.207, 0 HR, 4 RBIs)

Mark Ellis, 2B (.247, 0 HR, 2 RBIs)

Matt Kemp, CF (.425, 11 HR, 24 RBIs)

Andre Ethier, RF (.277, 5 HR, 24 RBIs)

James Loney, 1B (.227, 1 HR, 6 RBIs)

Tony Gwynn Jr., LF (.242, 0 HRs, 2 RBIs)

A.J. Ellis, C (.277, 5 HRs, 24 RBIs)

Aaron Harang, RHP (1-1, 5.16 ERA)

Rockies lineup

Marco Scutaro, 2B (.247, 0 HR, 1 RBI)

Jonathan Herrera, 3B (.296, 1 HR, 3 RBIs)

Carlos Gonzalez, RF (.288, 4 HR, 16 RBIs)

Troy Tulowitzki, SS (.284, 3 HR, 11 RBIs)

Todd Helton, 1B (.270, 4 HRs, 16 RBIs)

Ramon Hernandez, C (.241, 4 HR, 12 RBIs)

Tyler Colvin, RF (.297, 1 HR, 6 RBIs)

Dexter Fowler, CF (.250, 4 HRs, 10 RBIs)

Juan Nicasio, RHP (1-0, 4.76 ERA)

Rockies: Helton, Hernandez rest; Colvin gets a start

Rockies manager Jim Tracy decided Wednesday to give veteran first baseman Todd Helton and catcher Ramon Hernandez extra rest by not starting them in Wednesday’s first game of a doubleheader against the Pirates at PNC Park. Jason Giambi started at first base and Willin Rosario was the catcher.

Game 1 also gave the Rockies an opportunity to start Tyler Colvin in center field. Colvin, hitting .323 in part-time duty, started instead of Dexter Fowler, who is at .224 after getting a hit in Tuesday night’s 5-4 loss to the Pirates.

“Hernandez and Helton, just because of the opportunity to give them a few more hours to recharge their batteries,” Tracy said. “I’m looking at our lineup in Game 1 and Game 2 and feeling real good about the fact that these lineups right here can win on any given day.

“I’m not taking anything away from Dexter because I’m using Dexter in the second game, but I want to keep Tyler Colvin in play and try to find him games to be involved in.”

Tracy said he plans to start left fielder Carlos Gonzalez, who homered twice Tuesday night, shortstop Troy Tulowitzki and right fielder Michael Cuddyer in both games.

Right-handed relief pitcher Zach Putnam, recalled from Triple-A Colorado Springs as the 26th player (allowed under new Collective Bargaining Agreement rules for doubleheaders), will wear No. 54. Putnam was 1-0 with a 1.23 ERA, three saves, 11 strikeouts and three walks in five Triple-A appeareances. Last season, Putnam appeared in eight games with the Indians (1-1, 6.14 ERA, nine strikeouts, two walks), and came to the Rockies over the winter for pitcher Kevin Slowey.

The Pirates are a heavily right-handed hitting team, which plays into the hands of today’s starting pitchers, Juan Nicasio and Jhoulys Chacin. Nicasio has held right-handed hitters to a .226 career aveage in a big-league career that has consisted of 14 starts last year and three this yer, and Game 2 starter Jhoulys Chacin has held righties to a career .208 average. This year, righties are hitting .100 (3-for-30), the fourth-lowest average among right-handed pitchers in baseball.

Rockies, Game 1

Marco Scutaro, 2B (.224)

Tyler Colvin, CF (.323)

Carlos Gonzalez, LF (.278)

Troy Tulowitzki, SS (.293)

Jason Giambi, 1B (.273)

Michael Cuddyer, RF (.322)

Wilin Rosario, C (.261)

Chris Nelson, 3B (.239)

Juan Nicasio, RHP (1-0, 6.19 ERA)

Pirates, Game 1

Alex Presley, LF (.288)

Jose Tabata, RF (.196)

Andrew McCutchen, CF (.339)

Neil Walker, 2B (.222)

Casey McGehee, 1B (.289)

Pedro Alvarez, 3B (.108)

Clint Barmes, SS (.146)

Michael McKenry, C (.286)

James McDonald, RHP (0-1, 3.45 ERA)

 

Tracy stays with Fowler despite scary matchup numbers

Tuesday night is as good a night as any for Rockies center fielder Dexter Fowler to crack Pirates right-handed pitcher Kevin Correia.

Fowler is 0-for-19 in 21 plate appearances against Correia. Fowler has struck out nine times against one walk, and has a sacrifice bunt.

With Fowler hitting .222, it would seem a good time to sit him. But Fowler went 2-for-5 over the final two games of the Milwaukee series, when the Rockies took 2-of-3, and manager Jim Tracy said he wants to make sure to send Fowler the message that he is the starter in center field. Last year, Fowler struggled early when he was in and out of the lineup. After a demotion to Triple-A Colorado Springs, Fowler received steady playing time and was one of the hottest hitters on the team in the second half of the year.

This year Fowler has drawn seven walks and has a .327 on-base percentage, as well as two home runs and six RBIs from the No. 2 spot in the batting order.

Tracy has rotated his bench players into the starting lineup at various times, and said Wednesday’s doubleheader is a time to continue that practice. But he also wants his regular players to feel that they’re regulars, even when playing through slumps.

“I want them all in a good place, and I want them all to come to the ballpark with the realization and the expectation that unless I’ve told them something differently, that you expect to play,” Tracy said. “I don’t want them walking in here feeling like they have to do guesswork from day today whether or not they’re gonig to be in there.”

The most favorable matcup for the Rockies is catcher Ramon Hernandez, who is 3-for-5 (.600) with a double agaisnt Correia. Also, Carlos Gonzalez, hitting a pedestrian .240, is 4-for-14 with two home runs and a double against Correia.

Rockies lefty Jamie Moyer, the oldest pitcher to win a game in Major League history, will try to add to his record tonight at 49 years and 158 days.

Rockies lineup

Marco Scutaro, 2B (.222)

Dexter Fowler, CF (.222)

Carlos Gonzalez, LF (.240)

Troy Tulowitzki, SS (.296)

Todd Helton, 1B (.239)

Michael Cuddyer, RF (.345)

Ramon Hernandez, C (.289)

Chris Nelson, 3B (.256)

Jamie Moyer, LHP (.000)

Pirates lineup

Alex Presley, LF (.273)

Jose Tabata, RF (.170)

Andrew McCutchen, CF (.351)

Casey McGehee, 1B (.278)

Neil Walker, 2B (.240)

Yamico Navarro, 3B (.000)

Rod Barajas, C (.091)

Clint Barmes, SS (.089)

Kevin Correia, RHP (.251)

Tulowitzki rests, clears his head; Scutaro plays short, Herrera second

Veteran Jason Giambi introduced his friend and Rockies teammate, shortstop Troy Tulowitzki, to someone really special Tuesday night.

“I showed him some highlights of him playing and, ‘That’s you.’” Giambi said. “I said, ‘I know. I’ve been there many times, the deer in the highlights look and you’re just reeling.’ He’ll get through this just great. He’ll be fine.”

Right now, Tulowitzki doesn’t recognize the player he sees in the mirror.

Tulowitzki committed two errors Tuesday night, the second of which nearly cost teammate Jamie Moyer in his bid to become the oldest Major League pitcher ever to win a game at 49 years and 151 days. The Rockies prevailed and Moyer earned his place in history. Now Tulowitzki needs to realize that his ability to control a game from shortstop isn’t history, either.

The present isn’t looking so bright for Tulowitzki. His six errors match his total for last season, and he is hitting .244. Both of those figures are shocking for a player who has won National League Rawlings Gold Glove and Louisville Slugger Silver Slugger awards for each of the last two seasons.

Tulowitzki, who was out of the lineup for the first time this season for the Padres-Rockies game Wednesday night, admitted the mistakes — especially the throwing errors — are weighing on him. He said he has been worried about his throwing since Saturday night, when he had two throwing errors while playing in wet and cold conditions against the D-backs.

“I’m taking the field and thinking about it,” Tulowitzki said. “I never thought about defense. I just go out there and play, and if I make an error, I made an error. But I wasn’t worried about it. So, yeah, I think about it. It’s in my head. I’d be lying if I said it wasn’t in my head. I think about it because I care.

“It’s never that I don’t want the ball to come to me. Once I reach that point, then I have some serious problems. I want the ball. But more or less when you’re playing catch, it’s, ‘OK, hit him in the chest,’ where before it was just throwing it to him. It’s more things like that, that I never really thought about. There’s nothing more to really say than that.”

Tulowitzki suffered a right hip flexor strain during the season’s first series at Houston, but he played through it and insisted that there is no injury that’s preventng him from performing well.

Marco Scutaro moved from second base to shortstop, the position he occupied with the Red Sox last season, and Jonathan Herrera started at second base.

In other lineup news, catcher Wilin Rosario started for the second straight game while Ramon Hernandez nursed a sore left hand. Manager Jim Tracy said Hernandez should be available Friday night when the Rockies begin a three-game series at Milwaukee.

Padres lineup

Will Venable, CF

Chris Denorfia, RF

Chase Headley, 3B

Jesus Guzman, LF

Yonder Alonso, 1B

Nick Hundley, C

Jason Bartlett, SS

Orlando Hudson, 2B

Clayton Richard, LHP

Rockies lineup

Marco Scutaro, SS

Dexter Fowler, CF

Carlos Gonzalez, LF

Michael Cuddyer, RF

Todd Helton, 1B

Wilin Rosario, C

Chris Nelson, 3B

Jonathan Herrera, 2B

Juan Nicasio, RHP

Ring-ring … CarGo is ready to help Moyer

As Rockies manager Jim Tracy left Coors Field on Monday night, he was doubtful that Tuesday night’s lineup would include left fielder Carlos Gonzalez, who was in the final stages of recovery from a case of strep throat that had kept him out of the lineup since Friday.

“We talked about it last night, how I wanted to be in there, so they were waiting on my call in the morning,” Gonzalez said. “So I called and told him I was ready to play.

“I was getting better day by day. I can’t wait to get on the field and be ready to play.”

Gonzalez returns to his customary No. 3 position in the order against the Padres and righty starter Anthony Bass.

Lefty Jamie Moyer will make his third attempt to become the oldest pitcher ever to win a Major League game. His next win also will tie him with Hall of Famer Jim Palmer for 34th on the all-time list at 268.

In a pregame player move, the Rockies sent right-handed reliever Tyler Chatwood to Triple-A Colorado Springs to work as a starter, and he could help the rotation soon. The Rockies recalled hard-throwing righty reliever Edgmer Escalona from Colorado Springs.

Padres lineup

Cameron Maybin, CF

Mark Kotsay, LF

Chase Headley, 3B

Jesus Guzman, 1B

Nick Hundley, C

Chris Denorfia, RF

Andy Parrino, 2B

Jason Bartlett, SS

Anthony Bass, RHP

 

Rockies lineup

Marco Scutaro, 2B

Dexter Fowler, CF

Carlos Gonzalez, LF

Troy Tulowitzki, SS

Todd Helton, 1B

Michael Cuddyer, RF

Wilin Rosario, C

Chris Nelson, 3B

Jamie Moyer, LHP

 

 

Guthrie under the weather, on the mound

Just three times in nine games as the Rockies’ starting pitcher stayed in a game longer than five innings. Right-hander Jeremy Guthrie has one of the long ones, seven innings while winning the opener at Houston, and one of the short ones, 3 1/3 and six runs against although the Rockeis beat the Giants in comeback fashion.

Now Guthrie must shake off illness to give the Rockies the innings they need against the Padres on Monday night.

“He’s dealing with being a little bit under the weather,” Rockis manager Jim Tracy said. “It’s not even close to the extent with Carlos Gonzalez [who was at Coors Field and possibly able to pinch-hit, after missing two straight games with strep throat]. But he did have a little bit of a sore throat over the last day or so.

“We’re keeping an eye on that but also keeping out fingers crossed that this is one of those days where you go out there and get a Guthrie performance, where he potentially pitches you deep into a game and you can use your bullpen accordingly.”

Tonight, Tracy said the bullpen is not in bad shape. Right-hander Josh Roenicke, who went 2 2/3 inings on Sunday and an inning the previous game, is the only one definitely unavailable. Righty Esmil Rogers, who threw 62 pitches over two performances Thursday and Friday, is in play, as is righty Tyler Chatwood, although Tracy said Chatwod cannot pitch for an “extended period.”

Also, the Rockies have asked right-handed starter Jhoulys Chacin not to throw his scheduled bullpen session until later. He is available out of the bullpen in an emergency.

Padres lineup

Cameron Maybin, CF

Will Venable, LF

Chase Headley, 3B

Jeremy Hermida, RF

Nick Hundley, C

Yonder Alonso, 1B

Andy Parrino, 2B

Jason Bartlett, SS

Cory Luebke, LHP

Rockies lineup

Marco Scutaro, 2B

Dexter Fowler, CF

Troy Tulowitzki, SS

Todd Helton, 1B

Michael Cuddyer, RF

Tyler Colvin, LF

Ramon Hernandez, C

Chris Nelson, 3B

Jeremy Guthrie, RHP

Stand up and cheer Juan Nicasio

Opening Day is always special, but fans at Coors Field saved their special level of noise and joy for when right-handed pitcher Juan Nicasio was introduced. Nicasio, standing along the first-base line, stepped forward, doffed his cap and truly took in the appreciation.

We expect there will be another roar tonight, but Nicasio might be trying too hard to concentrate to acknowledge as fully. But folks will understand.

For the first time since last Aug. 5, when the Nationals’ Ian Desmond’s line drive bounced off his head and left him with a fractured skill and a broken C-1 vertebrae, Nicasio will be pitching at Coors when he faces the D-backs tonight at 6:40.

“I’ve been thinking about how it’s going to be like when I pitch my first game here,” Nicasio said Thursday. “I’m excited.”

The dramatic comeback story is enhanced by the fact Nicasio has become an important cog in the rotation. In his first start, at Houston on Sunday, Nicasio limited the Astros to one run and four hits in seven innings.

Although his last experience at Coors was horrifying, it’s been a good place for him. After being called up from Double-A tulsa last year, Nicasio went 4-1 with a 1.98 ERA in 41 innings at home.

What a homecoming this will be.

Rockies lineup

Scutaro 2B

Dexter Fowler, CF

Carlos Gonzalez, LF

Troy Tulowitzki, SS

Todd Helton, 1B

Michael Cuddyer, RF

Ramon Hernandez, C

Chris Nelson, 3B

Juan Nicasio, P

Rockies trainer was first to see Nicasio’s comeback coming

When a player is injured, the team’s head atheltic trainer knows more about the injury, rehab and chances of a comeback better than anyone, save for a doctor. Rockies head athetic trainer Keith Dugger  was the first to see pitcher Juan Nicasio’s miracle return from a broken neck — which culminates with his start against the Astros on Sunday afternoon — coming.

Dugger watched in amazement during the winter as Nicasio, who suffered the injury (along with a fractured skull) when he was hit in the head with a line drive by the Nationals’ Ian Desmond and tumbled to the mound last Aug. 5, threw pitches in the Dominican Republic, with no effects from neck surgery and no referred pain in his muscles. When general manager Dan O’Dowd called and asked if Nicasio would be ready by June, Dugger was the first to say it could be long before that.

In Spring Training, Nicasio proved Dugger correct.

“I was more worried about Spring Training,” Dugger said. “But after that first comebacker [a line drive that buzzed past him in his first spring appearance], I knew we were home free.

“And I think once he gets through a start in Denver, back on the mound where he got injured, he’ll be completely over it.”

Manager Jim Tracy said Nicasio is “way past what happened.”

Nicasio will be backed by a lineup full of changes, as Dexter Fowler, Todd helton, Ramon Hernandez and Marco Scutaro rest.

Rockies batting order

Tyler Colvin, CF

Jordan Pacheco, 3B

Carlos Gonzalez, LF

Troy Tulowitzki, SS

Jason Giambi, 1B

Michael Cuddyer, RF

Wilin Rosario, C

Jonathan Herrera, 2B

Juan Nicasio, P

Astros lineup

Jordan Schafer, CF

Jose Altuve, 2B

J.D. Martinez, LF

Carlos Lee, 1B

Brian Bogusevic, RF

Chris Johnson, 3B

Jason Castro, C

Marwin Gonzalez, SS

Bud Norris, P

Rockies’ Moyer: One for the ages

Jamie Moyer is 49, coming off Tommy John elbow surgery in 2010, and he’s pitching for the Rockies against the Astros tonight.

But manager Jim Tracy simply wants a deep outing and a chance to win against the Astros at Minute Maid Park.

“I just really beleive and personally I think Jamie wants it preceived this way, is Jamie wants to compete,” Tracy said. “He’s here to do exactly what Jeremy Guthrie did for us last night. That is go out, be very, very competitive and give us an opportunity to win a baseball game. I really personally feel that’s the way Jamie Moyer is approaching what he’s going to set out to do tonight.

“As far as I’m concerned, it’s the same Jamie Moyer that I saw prior to the arm injury. It’s the same guy. Since the injury that forced him to miss the entire season last year, there’s been very little if any change in his velocity. He pitches exactly the same. He competes exactly the same. There’s still a burning desire to go out and pitch competitively at the Major League level.

“Obviously, the thing that comes into play is a lot of people suggesting how can he do that at 49 years of age. He’s still doing it, and he did it all spring well. I saw no tradeoff whatsoevery as far as where Jamie Moyer is at competitively in relation to his age. We’re looking forward to this. It really boils down to his command, his capability of getting into the strike zone, getting ahead of hitters and getting hitters to start to swing.”

The Rockies are using the same lineup as in the season-opening 5-3 victory over the Astros on Friday night:

Rockies lineup

Marco Scutaro, 2B

Dexter Fowler, CF

Carlos Gonzalez, LF

Troy Tulowitzki, SS

Todd Helton, 1B

Michael Cuddyer, RF

Ramon Hernandez, C

Chris Nelson, 3B

Jamie Moyer, P

Here is the Astros’ batting order:

Jordan Schafer, CF

Brian Bixler, 2B’

J.D. Martinez, LF

Carlos Lee, 1B

Chris Johnson, 3B

Brian Bogusevic, RF

Chris Snyder, C

Marwin Gonzalez, SS

Lucas Harrell, P

 

Tulo feels stiffness during BP but expects to be ready for Opening Day; Blackmon also takes BP

Rockies shortstop Troy Tulowitzki wore a tight, white sleeve on his left elbow while taking swings in the batting cage and reported improvement in his sore left elbow.

But Tulowitzki, hit on the elbow by a pitch from former teammate Ubaldo Jimenez on Sunday, said he will play in Wednesday’s Spring Training finale against the Mariners at Salt River Fields at Talking Stick. More importantly he expects to be ready for Friday night’s opener against the Astros at Minute Maid Park.

“Today felt good,” Tulowitzki said. “Tomorrow I’m pretty sure I’m in there. I’ll give it a go, and hopefully all signs point to being fine.”

The ball came off Tulowitzki’s bat with authority.

“I didn’t feel any pain,” he said. “It’s obviously a little tight, so the amount of extension I’m getting isn’t as much as it normally is. But with another two day, three days of treatment I should have full motion.”

Tulowitzki will protect the elbow with padding.

Another injured Rockies player, outfielder Charlie Blackmon, whose chance to compete for an Opening Day roster spot was scuttled by a right big toe injury, took batting practice Monday as well.

Blackmon has been running, but not at full intensity. Blackmon, who hit .255 in his 27-game debut with the Rockies last season before a broken foot ended his year, had a strong start to the spring. However, he dropped to .233, then was hurt. It opened the door for Tyler Colvin to earn that left-handed bench spot. Colvin carried a .385 average with three home runs and 18 RBIs into Tuesday’s game.

“It’s very frustrating,” Blackmon said. “Everybody is excited to start playing some real games that count, and I’m just going to stay here and finish up my spring.”

Blackmon hoped to play some games at the Salt River Fields at Talking Stick later this week. He’ll play at Triple-A Colorado Springs and hope to earn a promotion to the Rockies.

“I think [the swing] will come back in a couple of days and I’ll feel like I did three weeks ago,” he said.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.