Welcome to the 105th edition of Tuesdays With Mitch, where things are lookin’ up. Let’s get into it…
Let’s talk some baseball, folks. The Rockies have played seven games and won five of them. They’ve played four games on the road and won all four of them. They are off to an awesome start.
My favorite part of Opening Day and, by extension, Opening Week and the weeks that follow is the free-flowing optimism that permeates most every team and fan base in the league. When the Rockies jump out to a quick start, their fans fit the mold. Hope springs eternal. Optimism overflows.
With that in mind, I’m taking a stance with which I am verify unfamiliar. I’m playing the BringDown card. This is not something I’m wont to do when it comes to the Colorado Rockies, but hear me out.
Last season, sometime in mid-May, I was convinced the Rockies would finish above .500 and were a playoff contender. They finished the year 66-96.
This year the Rockies have to play 155 more games over the course of five and a half months. Things have gone well in the first week, but I’m not ready to move off my prediction of somewhere between 69 and 75 wins for the Rockies.
The reasons will not shock you: 1) Starting Pitching. 2) Injuries.
While it’s encouraging that the Rockies are 5-2 without any contribution from Jorge De La Rosa, the starting rotation is just too shaky and shallow for the team to be a contender. If Kyle Kendrick’s first two starts are any indication, his year will be a roller coaster. Eddie Butler has great stuff but hasn’t really been able to harness it in his two starts. Jordan Lyles has been solid. Tyler Matzek was pretty unimpressive in the Home Opener. JDLR should provide stability when he returns soon, but it’s just hard to envision those five guys leading a baseball team to a winning record.
And of course, the ever-present elephant in the room is hanging above our heads like a balloon we’re all hoping doesn’t pop. Injuries are going to happen. I hate to think about these things, but Precautionary Measures will transition into Day-To-Days, which will transition into 15-Day DLs, which will transition into 60-Day DLs. All we can do is hope the key players don’t miss more than a week or two at a time. If that’s the case, I do think the Rockies can outperform a lot of expectations, including my own. But I’ve learned over the years that a casual scroll of Twitter or an unexpected notification from my CBS Sports app or a text from a friend with similar Rockies-fan interests can quickly ruin my week and change the entire course of the Rockies’ season.
(As an aside, if the Rockies’ shortstop does go down, Daniel Descalso hasn’t done much to instill a lot of confidence as a backup.)
Now I want to be clear that I am not saying you shouldn’t enjoy these games and take pleasure in these wins and wonder What If?. Indeed, the seven games the Rox have played thus far have been an absolute blast. (Well, five of them at least.)
Take for example, the third game of 2015. which brought probably my favorite moment of the first week when Carlos Gonzalez hit a ball really far. I love CarGo’s I’m-pretty-sure-I-just-hit-that-ball-to-the-moon pimp strut so if you need me, I’ll be at my desk watching this GIF for the next few hours. The gorgeous swing! The bat drop! The stare! The strut!
One interesting thing I noticed after watching that about 500 times: Immediately after the swing, the camera-person zooms out and starts to pan left under the assumption that Carlos is about to, like, run to first. Nah, bro. Not when you bounce it off the scoreboard about 30 feet up in dead center.
The official distance on that homer was 466 feet, but as Drew Goodman said on the broadcast, it sure seemed closer to 500.
But you get my point. That was fun! That’s vintage Carlos Gonzalez, something we haven’t seen much of lately. And vintage CarGo is a treat to watch. If you can’t get pumped and enjoy the hell out of that home run, you’re simply not a Rockies fan.
Through seven games, the reasons for optimism are there. The lineup looks really, really good. (DJ La Maheiu is out there for his defense and even he’s hitting .517!) The non-LaTroy Hawkins bullpen has been pretty much perfect. Walt Weiss is using defensive shifts! Walt Weiss is not messing around! (If you blow a couple saves, you’re not the closer anymore.) And yes, the starting pitching has been more than acceptable.
These are all good things with potentially positive implications, so if you feel so inclined, live it the hell up. All I’m saying is the more level-headed, less volatile among us might also see reasons to curb that enthusiasm and measure that optimism.
Now if you’ll excuse me I have to watch that Carlos Gonzalez homer a few more times.
Some of the other notable stuff from baseball’s first week:
The schedule-makers didn’t do the Rockies any favors in scheduling them to play the Giants in the Giants’ first home game since winning the World Series. (The Rox won anyway.) The celebration featured Madison Bumgarner bringing in the World Series pennant… on a horse… on the field… for real.
The Marlins take the postgame interview antics to the next level:
Probably the coolest moment from around the Bigs this week was this
walk-off grand slam game-saving catch from George Springer.
And here’s the other your defensive play of the week from Andrelton Simmons. We’re partial to Troy Tulowitzki ’round these parts, but yeah, Simmons is okay defensively.
And let’s hit the weekly departments…
Stud of the week:
You might not have heard, but Jordan Speith had a pretty good weekend. This is my favorite moment, when he found his grandpa for a long hug after WINNING THE MASTERS. That’s not something you see too often.
Also studly from Augusta: Jack Nicklaus’ shot in the Par Three contest on Wednesday afternoon.
Douche of the week:
This douche is hilarious. HAM IT UP, PAL! YOU DID IT! … Just maybe wait til you cross that finish line first.
(Fox Sports, FTW)
That WTF look on his face when he realizes what just happened at about the 11 second mark is priceless. What a dork.
Photo/Tweet of the week:
This one pretty much speaks for itself. It is very, very amazing.
NBA Tank Watch 2015:
Only one game remains in the NBA regular season for most teams, so these are likely to be your final Tankandings. The Nuggets will finish with the seventh-worst record in the league. The day Brian Shaw was fired, they were 20-39, meaning they’ve played almost-.500 basketball (10-12) under Melvin Hunt. Before that stretch of terrible wins, they had the sixth-worst record in the league and appeared poised for a push to catch either the Magic or Lakers, or both. Stupidly, the Nugs went in the opposite direction. So much more could have been accomplished.
With the seventh-worst record, the Nuggets will have a 4.3 percent chance at landing the #1 pick and a 15 percent chance at sneaking into the top-3.
- Minnesota, .198, 16-65
- New York, .210, 17-64
- Philadelphia, .222, 18-63
- L.A. Lakers, .259, 21-60
- Orlando, .309, 25-56
- Sacramento, .346, 28-53
- Denver, .370, 30-51
- Detroit, .384, 31-50
And finally, I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, these will not ever get old.
That dad is awesome.
Happy Tuesday everybody. Thanks for readin’. See ya next week.
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