Results tagged ‘ Stephen Dodson ’

Making the team better is bigger than making the team

Spring Training can feel like a lot of time to determine little. Teams spend six weeks figuring out the fifth starter, a bullpen position or two, the last infielder and outfielder, and the backup catcher. If we’re lucky, a position or two in the regular lineup. The media fill the World Wide Web with stories about players who will go largely ignored during the regular season. Of course, nothing is wrong with this. And if one of these backups becomes a star, fans have a chance to remember something about him, or at least they can plug his name into a search engine and find plenty.

But the real issue flies under the radar.

In all this activity, what do the stars and backups alike do that will carry over into the regular season?

Probelm is the important work is hard to measure. Last year’s Rockies best illustrate this issue.

The Rockies were 20-11-1 last spring. The storyline went that moving from Tucson, Ariz., to the new complex in Scottsdale, Ariz., meant more regualrs could play regularly, and it showed in the performance. The party line was more time together meant better fundamental play.

But as the Rockies were careening toward 89 losses, I talked to one veteran player who made a point: Many of those sound, fundamental at-bats — the productive outs, the hit-and-runs, the walks — came from young players who were not even in the big-league radar. When they were in the game, the guys they were just as far from the Majors. All of this made the sparkling record empty.

Manager Jim Tracy is paying special attention to the starters this spring to make sure they’re playing winning baseball, even though the victories don’t count once the regular year begins.

After Saturday’s victory over the Giants, Tracy was every bit as excited about outfielder Tyler Colvin’s hit-and-run that drove in a run as he was about Juan Nicasio’s 5 2/3 innings of positive pitching. After Saturday’s victory over the Giants, he made a point of mentioning Jonathan Herrera’s well-executed hit-and-run that led to a two-run inning and complimented Carlos Gonzalez on an RBI groundout with two strikes. These comments have been common this spring.

The headlines will go to position competitions, but we all can use the reminder that spring is not just about making the team.

It’s about making the team better.

Some notes about today’s game against the Angels at Tempe Diablo Stadium:

– Marco Scutaro, who played shortstop for the Red Sox last season but was acquired by the Rockies to start at second base, will make his first Cactus League start at short today. Scutaro’s ability to move to short is important.

Tracy has vowed not to overuse regular shortstop Troy Tulowitzki. Last season, Tulowitzki played in 143 games but that was with him not playing after Sept. 22 with hip soreness. He would have played had the team been in the playoff hunt, but would his production have been compromised? Would he have put himself at risk for further injury?

The 140-game mark sounds smart, but the Rockies need to do that at a normal pace. If they need the National Guard to keep him out of the lineup for a few games in April and May, so be it.

The Rockies have several players capable of playing short in a pinch, but Scutaro represents an experienced alternative with classic shortstop abilities.

– For the second time this spring, Scutaro is batting first and Dexter Fowler is hitting second. They usually are flopped. The first time it happened, Scutaro delivered an RBI double and Fowler had a good game at the plate. Both have spent the spring searching for their swings.

– Regular right fielder Michael Cuddyer is starting at first base today. Tracy had used Cuddyer for eight defensive innings at the position in previous spring games, but Cuddyer must be prepared for more. If Todd Helton’s back becomes an issue, the Rockies could move Cuddyer to first and fill his spot with a backup outfielder.

Here is a look at today’s lineups:

ROCKIES BATTING ORDER

Marco Scutaro, SS

Dexter Fowler, CF

Carlos Gonzalez, LF

Jason Giambi, DH

Michael Cuddyer, 1B

Jordan Pacheco, 3B

Wilin Rosario, C

Tyler Colvin, RF

Brandon Wood, 2B

ROCKIES PITCHING

Starter: Drew Pomeranz, LHP

Matt Reynolds, LHP

Edgmer Escalona, RHP

Matt Belisle, RHP

Josh Outman, LHP

Stephen Dodson, RHP

ANGELS BATTING ORDER

Erick Aybar, SS

Howie Kendrick, 2B

Albert Pujols, 1B

Torii Hunter, RF

Vernon Wells, CF

Kendrys Morales, DH

Bobby Abreu, LF

Alberto Callaspo, 3B

Chris Iannetta, C

ANGELS PITCHING

Starter: Garrett Richards, RHP

Jordan Walden, RHP

Hisanori Takahashi, LHP

Rich Thompson, RHP

 

Chacin must be efficient; Pacheco working on infield defense

Rockies right-hander Jhoulys Chacin struggled in his last outing, after suffering a finger blister in the outing before that. Quite simply, the Rockies expect Chacin to be efficient today against the Reds.

Also, the Rockies have placed Jordan Pacheco on today’s roster as a backup infielder. Pacheco, a right-handed hitting utility man whose bat has impressed the Rockies,  has peformed well at catcher throughout camp. Pacheco, an infielder in college, has made some good plays at third base but he is still considered a work in progress. At the end of the Rockies’ batting practice, Pacheco spent extra time with infield coach Rich Dauer fielding balls off the bat and working on his stance and movement.

Here are the lineups:

ROCKIES BATTING ORDER

Eric Young Jr., CF

Jonathan Herrera, 2B

Carlos Gonzalez, LF

Troy Tulowitzki, SS

Todd Helton, 1B

Michael Cuddyer, RF

Ramon Hernandez, C

Casey Blake, 3B

Jhoulys Chacin, RHP

ROCKIES RELIEF PITCHING

Matt Reynolds, LHP

Esmil Rogers, RHP

Alex White, RHP

Stephen Dodson, RHP

Mike Ekstrom, RHP

REDS BATTING ORDER

Brandon Phillips, 2B

Zack Cozart, SS

Joey Votto, 1B

Scott Rolen, 3B

Jay Bruce, RF

Chris Heisey, LF

Drew Stubbs, CF

Devin Mesoraco, C

Johnny Cueto, RHP

REDS RELIEF PITCHING

Drew Hayes, RHP

Brandon Hynick, RHP

Sam LeCure, RHP

Logan Ondruzek, RHP

Chris Manno, LHP

Chacin leads Rockies against Royals

Right-hander Jhoulys Chacin’s spring devoted to fastball command continues today as he starts for the Rockies, and most likely goes three innings, against the Royals at Surprise Stadium. Also, fast-working lefty Christian Friedrich will appear, on the heels of his two scoreless innings with one hit and two strikeouts against the D-backs five days ago. Friedrich entered camp as a darkhorse candidate for the starting rotation, and has been impressive.

Center fielder Dexter Fowler is the only clear starter in the lineup, but the game is a big one because several players seeking key reserve roles made the trip.

Rockies batting order

Eric Young Jr., LF

Dexter Fowler, CF

Charlie Blackmon, RF

Brandon Wood, SS

Nolan Arenado, 3B

Chad Tracy, 1B

Chris Nelson, 2B

Brendan Harris, DH

Wil Nieves, C

Rockies pitchers

Jhoulys Chacin, RHP

Christian Friedrich, LHP

Rex Brothers, LHP

Matt Belisle, RHP

Joe Gardner, RHP

Dustin Molleken, RHP

Stephen Dodson, RHP

Royals batting order

Alex Gordon, LF

Johnny Giavotella, 2B

Eric Hosmer, 1B

Billy Butler, DH

Mike Moustakas, 3B

Jeff Francoeur, RF

Lorenzo Cain, CF

Alcides Escobar, SS

Royals pitchers

Luis Mendoza, RHP

Joakim Soria, RHP

Sean O’Sullivan, RHP

Tim Collins, LHP

Noel Arguelles, LHP

Nicasio to pitch against Athletics; Smith not making trip

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — Rockies right-hander Juan Nicasio, coming back from a broken neck that he suffered last year, gets his first Cactus League outing today against the Athletics at Salt River Fields at Talking Stick. Nicasio threw two impressive innings in an intrasquad game on Sunday. Listen free to an exclusive webcast.

Nicasio has insisted all along he has no fear of balls coming back to him. He suffered the frightening injury last Aug. 5, when a line drive from the Nationals’ Ian Desmond struck him in the temple.

Interestingly, the Athletics have agreed to forego the designated hitter, so Nicasio will also have to bat.

For the second time this spring, the Rockies are starting Charlie Blackmon in the leadoff spot. Blackmon, batting for the fourth outfield spot, homered off the Giants’ Tim Lincecum on Wednesday. Also, catching prospect Wilin Rosario will start.

The Athletics are not bringing former Rockies outfielder Seth Smith, who was sent to Oakland during the offseason for pitchers Guillermo Moscoso and Josh Outman.

Here are the lineups:

ROCKIES BATTING ORDER

Charlie Blackmon, CF

Marco Scutaro, 2B

Carlos Gonzalez, LF

Troy Tulowitzki, SS

Michael Cuddyer, RF

Casey Blake, 3B

Wilin Rosario, C

Juan Nicasio, P

ROCKIES SCHEDULED RELIEVERS

Tyler Chatwood, RHP

Edwar Cabrera, LHP

Rafael Betancourt, RHP

Stephen Dodson, RHP

ATHLETICS BATTING ORDER

Jemile Weeks, 2B

Eric Sogard, SS

Coco Crisp, CF

Josh Reddick, RF

Kurt Suzuki, C

Brandon Allen, 1B

Josh Donaldson, 3B

Brandon Moss, LF

Brandon McCarthy, RHP

ATHLETICS SCHEDULED RELIEVERS

Jerry Blevins, LHP

Andrew Carignan, RHP

Grant Balfour, RHP

Fabio Castro, LHP

Pomeranz leads Rockies vs. Royals; also, Rox face M’s in B game

Rockies left-hander Drew Pomeranz hopes to build on his scoreless two innings in the team’s Cactus League opener, a 1-1 tie with the D-backs on Friday afternoon, when he faces the Royals today. Fans can see the contest via a webcast. The game will start at 1:10 p.m. at Salt River Fields at Talking Stick. Felipe Paulino, formerly with the Rockies, will pitch for Kansas City.

Additionally, the Rockies and Mariners will play a B game at Salt River Fields at 10 a.m. on Field 1, which is just beyond the right-field corner of the main stadium.

Here is the Rockies’ batting order for the main game:

Dexter Fowler, CF

Jonathan Herrera, 2B

Jordan Pacheco, 1B

Jason Giambi, DH

Ramon Hernandez, C

Tyler Colvin, RF

Casey Blake, 3B

Chris Nelson, SS

Tim Wheeler, LF

Here is the pitching plan:

Drew Pomeranz, LHP

Josh Outman, LHP

Matt Belisle, RHP

Edgmer Escalona, RHP

Dustin Molleken, RHP

Edwar Cabrera, LHP

Joe Gardner, RHP

Here is the Rockies’ lineup for the the B game against the Mariners:

Eric Young Jr., 2B

Brendan Harris, RF

Brandon Wood, 3B

Chad Tracy, 1B

Ben Paulsen, DH

Andrew Brown, LF

DJ LeMahieu, SS

Jamie Hoffmann, CF

Lars Davis, C

Here is the pitching plan for the B game:

Rob Scahill, RHP

Carlos Torres, RHP

Josh Sullivan, RHP

Mike Ekstrom, RHP

Josh Roenicke, RHP

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