Sunday, February 16, 2014

Spring Training 2014 Begins for the Colorado Rockies

Apparently, spring training is starting up and Walt Weiss, Colorado Rockies Manager, likes what he sees in his roster.  The biggest off-season surprise was the departure of center fielder Dexter Fowler, who steals bases like nobody's business.

Walt Weiss is starting his 2nd year with the Colorado Rockies

In his outfield, Walt Weiss has Michael Cuddyer in the right.  He can place Carlos Gonzalez in either left or center field.  Drew Stubbs signed with the Rockies, providing options in center field.  Returning players who are also capable of handling the outfield include Charlie Blackmon and Corey Dickerson.

The Pitching Staff


In the last few years, the Colorado Rockies were purely offensive, playing with very weak pitching rotations.  This season can potentially look different, even though there are some returning players.  The starting rotation will see the following returners:
  • Jorge de la Rosa
  • Jhoulys Chacin
  • Tyler Chatwood
Brett Anderson, who joined the team during the off-season, will be the fourth pitcher in the starting rotation.  He joins the Colorado Rockies after pitching for the Oakland As for five years.

Brett Anderson, starting pitcher, joined the Colorado Rockies from the Oakland As.

The fifth spot in the rotation will be filled after spring training.  Weiss will have a chance to watch his pitchers and determine who will fill the last spot.  Those vying for a starting position include:
  • Juan Nicasio
  • Franklin Morales
  • Jordan Lyles

Batting Rotation


Although it is still up in the air who the lead-off guy will be for the Colorado Rockies, Walt Weiss is likely to follow the leader with:
  • Michael Cuddyer batting second
  • Carlos Gonzalez batting third
  • Troy Tulowitzki batting fourth
...with Justin Morneau, Wilin Rosario, and Nolan Arrenado to follow.  The jury is still out on whether Weiss will start DJ LeMahieu or Josh Rutledge on 2nd base.  Only time will tell.

Looks Promising


It is entirely possible for the Colorado Rockies to go far this year.  Barring any major injuries and a strong pitching year for the starters and bullpen, the Rockies have a young team that can potentially gel and be contenders in the end.

As spring training rolls out and the pitchers, catchers, and eventually the core return, it will be interesting to see who will show up to play.

Go Rockies!!

Sunday, February 9, 2014

What Will Denver Nuggets' Coach Brian Shaw Do Now?


Ty Lawson was hurt with a shoulder injury.

Ty Lawson came back.

Ty Lawson got hurt again.

This time, the injury seems more serious -- rumored to be a fractured rib.  If that's the case, Ty Lawson will likely be sidelined for a few weeks.  What will head coach Brian Shaw do to fill the void?

In the starting lineups Shaw has used so far this season, Randy Foye has never stepped into the point position.  When Ty was out last, Evan Fournier stepped into the point guard's shoes, presumably because he can be a playmaker when he needs to be one for the team.  Perhaps the first-year coach will go with the Frenchman and give him the starting minutes.

With Nate Robinson also out for the rest of the season, the Denver Nuggets are really hurting in the back court.  It is going to be tough as the team vies for the 8th playoff spot.  With Fournier starting, the team will automatically be bigger, which helps with some opponents.  The payoff, however, is that the Nuggets have now lost the running game -- the run and gun style brought by Ty Lawson and Nate Robinson.

The best thing that can happen for the Nuggets is a quick recovery from Ty.  With a short all-star break coming up, the injured can take the time to heal.

This year, the Denver Nuggets have just been plagued with many long-term injuries.  JaVale McGee, Danilo Gallinari, and Nate Robinson will not be back until the 2014-2015 season.  That's a heavy toll a team hurting to stay in the playoff race.

Only time will tell how well the younger players such as Anthony Randolph, Darrell Arthur, and Quincy Miller will do as their minutes will certainly increase as a result of the varying injuries.  These youngsters have been patiently waiting their turn to increase minutes.  Their time has come to show Brian Shaw they are ready to fill in the gaps.

And what about Andre Miller?  The trade deadline is coming up on February 20th.  Management is likely scrambling, looking for a point guard to come in and support the team.  Rumors point in Toronto's direction, with Masai Ujiri in their front office rumored to be snooping around the Nuggets' roster.

Although it may seem far fetched for Kyle Lowry, a starting point guard, to come to Denver, one never knows what may happen given the circumstances.  Other rumors have Ujiri eyeing the big man, Timofey Mozgov and the Manimal, Kenneth Faried.  It's no wonder...Ujiri did bring a lot of young talent to the Mile High City.

Whatever happens, we'll know soon with the trade deadline approaching.  If the Denver Nuggets want t o be playoff contenders, something has to be done soon.  There is a sense of urgency as the clock keeps ticking.


Monday, February 3, 2014

Colorado Rockies Fans Left Scratching Their Heads Over Dexter Fowler Trade


Sure, adding Justin Morneau to the Colorado Rockies during this off-season was necessary -- long-time first baseman, Todd Helton, retired from the game.  All seemed great after the acquisition until management decided to trade away one of the team's best outfielders -- Dexter Fowler.

Not only is it mind-boggling that the Colorado Rockies would trade away their fastest player and base stealer for pitcher, Jordan Lyles, and outfielder, Brandon Barnes, to the Houston Astros.

Who?

Exactly.

Jordan Lyles, so far, has nothing to show for his pitching talents.  He does not have a signature pitch, nor is he currently strong enough to appear in a starting lineup.  He had a 5.59 ERA in the 2013 season.

Brandon Barnes batted 0.240 in 2013, scoring 8 home runs and totaling 41 RBIs.  Compare his numbers to Fowler, who batted 0.263, scored 12 home runs, and had 42 RBIs that same year.  Dexter also stole 19 bases over Barnes' 11.

On top of it all, Dexter Fowler was a successful switch hitter, making him a versatile asset that will now benefit the Houston Astros.

It will be interesting to see what the Colorado Rockies end up looking like as spring training looms ahead.  On February 28th, 2014, the Rockies will play their first spring training game against the Arizona Diamondbacks.  Walt Weiss will have time to figure out what works best with the players on his roster.

Do you think the Colorado Rockies will have a strong year, or will they use this season as one to rebuild and reground the guys?


Denver Nuggets' Coach Brian Shaw: Decisions, Decisions, Decisions


Brian Shaw has some important decisions to make regarding his point guard position.  

On New Year's night, Andre Miller the veteran of the bunch, had a melt-down in the middle of the game.  He started yelling at Coach Shaw and was unhappy with a decision made that would have led to less minutes on the court.  Since then, Miller has been "on leave" from the team.

With Miller's departure, the  team was able to hold its own in the point position.  Ty Lawson continued to start with Nate Robinson backing him when needed.  

This explosive combination with two of the league's fastest point guards brought much needed energy to the team.  There were talks about trading the still-absent Miller for, perhaps, a center.  After all, JaVale McGee has been out for a while with a stress fracture in his left leg.  A new center would mean that J.J. Hickson could return to his true position as power forward rather than play out of it as center. 

Everything was going well until injuries started to plague the team.

Now, Lawson has been struggling with a shoulder injury and Robinson is done for the season with a torn ACL.

Although Brian Shaw has mentioned that he would be willing to coach Andre Miller if he were to return, management is still looking to trade him -- but for a point guard rather than a center.  All of a sudden, the point is weak and Shaw needs to figure out a way to strengthen his back court.



So far, Evan Fournier has stepped up to the plate.  In his last two games, starting at point guard, Fournier has started in the last two games, scoring an average of 17.5 points in 35.5 minutes.  Although a true shooting guard, Shaw has used the Frenchman as point because he can make plays.


With both Lawson and Robinson facing injuries, Randy Foye has also stepped up his game.  He has been on fire with three pointers, making up for the absence of Lawson's high scores.  In the last outing, Foye dished out a career high of 16 assists.  

What will Denver Nuggets' head coach, Brian Shaw, do with his point guard position?  Ty Lawson will likely be back very soon, however, it may take a little bit of time -- time the Nuggets don't have -- for him to get back in his A-game.  Until then, the team's shooting guards will have to continue to play the point while the big men adjust to new games.  

What do you think Brian Shaw should do?  What is best for the Denver Nuggets?


Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Denver Nuggets Forward Danilo Gallinari Out Until Next Season

Although Danilo Gallinari has already gone through surgery for his torn ACL, apparently, the first round was not enough.  He really needed his ACL reconstructed.  On January 21, 2014, Gallinari went under the knife again.  Hopefully, this time, the surgery will take and he can be on the road to recovery soon.

Danilo Gallinari, Denver Nuggets Forward - Courtesy of bustasports.com

Gallinari originally injured his left knee in a bout against the Dallas Mavericks on April 4, 2013.  On April 30th, the fan favorite went through surgery, but to repair meniscus damage done to the knee.  It never addressed the root problem, which was his ACL.  

The rest of the season is going to be rough for Danilo as he is keen on getting back with the guys and playing ball.  It is very difficult to be side-lined, feeling helpless night after night.  The rest of the season will certainly test Gallinari's patience and mental strength as he watches his teammates gel and become a machine under new coach, Brian Shaw.

Gallinari is greatly missed by his teammates and fans alike.  During the 2012-2013 season, he was the second highest scorer behind Ty Lawson.  Despite Danilo's absence, the team has been holding their own.  The Denver Nuggets are currently three games out of the playoffs and could potentially see the post-season.  With Gallinari not slated to return until next season, the playoffs are not as probable, but can potentially be possible.

The good news for the Nuggets is that other players are stepping up to the plate.  Starting for Danilo Gallinari is Wilson Chandler, who is holding his own.  Chandler is averaging 13.5 points and 4.9 rebounds per game.  Although not as dramatic and "showy" as Danilo, Wilson is certainly taking care of business in the Small Forward position.

Only time will tell with the Denver Nuggets.  Fans may need to settle for the fact that this was a transitional, rebuilding year.  Once everyone gels and works together, others will have to watch out.  The new Denver Nuggets may prove to be unstoppable when everyone is back and healthy.

There is still something to be said for a team without a superstar.

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Justin Morneau: Colorado Rockies Fill Vacant 1st Base Position

Courtesy of Justin Morneau by Keith Allison (Free to Share and Use/Google)

With the departure of Todd Helton at the end of the 2012 season, the Colorado Rockies needed to find a new starting 1st baseman.  Sure, Michael Cuddyer and Ryan Wheeler can cover the position, as they did last season.  The Rockies, however, are looking to fill Helton's former position with a more permanent figure.

On Friday, December 13, 2013, the Colorado Rockies signed Justin Morneau to a 2-year contract to start at 1st base.  Morneau, however, knows that he has big shoes to fill and acknowledges that he is there to "fill-in" rather than "replace" the Hall-of-Fame bound legend.

Morneau as been playing in the major leagues for 11 years, earning the following opportunities and recognitions:
  • 4-time All Star
  • 2006 American League MVP with the Minnesota Twins
  • 2 Silver Slugger Awards
  • Won the 2008 Home Run Derby
The long-time MLB player was with the Minnesota Twins for 10 1/2 years.  He was traded to the Pittsburgh Pirates in August 2013 before joining the Colorado Rockies during the off-season.  Morneau will be reunited with his former teammate, Michael Cuddyer for his stint in the Mile High City.

It will be interesting to see how well Justin Morneau fits in with the Colorado Rockies this year.


Brian Shaw's Denver Nuggets: The Starting Five and the Supporting Four

After a disappointing eight-game losing streak and a blowup that has driven Andre Miller away from the team, Brian Shaw's Denver Nuggets are finally settling into a rhythm.  Shaw has shaved the team down to a nine-man rotation and is doing the best he can while some critical team members are battling injuries.  There is still no return date for Danilo Gallinari and JaVale McGee's fractured leg is taking time to heal.

Evan Fournier and Coach Brian Shaw - Courtesy of Getty Images.


Shaw's nine-man rotation includes:

Starting Lineup
Point Guard - Ty Lawson
Shooting Guard - Randy Foye
Center - J.J. Hickson
Power Forward - Kenneth Faried
Small Forward - Wilson Chandler

Supporting Cast
Point Guard - Nate Robinson
Shooting Guard - Evan Fournier
Center - Timofey Mozgov
Forward - Quincy Miller

Brian Shaw felt the need to tighten up the roster to allow the players to get into rhythms rather than trading them out in a shorter rotation.  With more minutes, the Nuggets are embracing the opportunities to score -- and score well.  The team's free throws, as well as three-point shots are improving dramatically.  As a team, the Nuggs are averaging .361 for three-pointers and hitting 73% of their free throws.  

Scoring has also improved in light of the Nuggets running game coming back into play.  Shaw initially wanted to slow the team down and play a half-court game.  This new style of play is foreign to the George Karl Nuggets, who were used to running and gunning at every game.  Brian Shaw has allowed some of the fast-paced running game, filled with alley-oops and slam dunks, to come back into play.  There is currently a sound balance between the two styles.

This may not end up being a winning year for the Denver Nuggets, but as far as transition teams go -- considering the changes the team has experienced -- the Mile High team is holding its own.  It will not be surprising if the Denver Nuggets continue to get better and better as time goes on.

The season is still young, and the Denver Nuggets are still in the midst of readjusting to a new coaching, management, and team dynamic.

Peyton Manning and His Supporting Cast


The 2014 NFL Playoffs are under way and Peyton Manning has taken the Denver Broncos past the 2nd round (1st round was a bye) into the AFC Championships.  On January 19th, the Broncos will face the New England Patriots for a chance to go to the Super Bowl.

Although Tom Brady may enter the Championships with a confident air, having beaten the Broncos already this year, Manning and his guys are ready to seek revenge and plow forward.  Of late, the Mile High team has been tight, with healthy receivers and runners.

The numbers this season do not necessarily represent the Broncos well, however, there are a few stand-out stats that cannot be overlooked...

1.  Peyton Manning's records.  Most touchdown passes in the regular seasons - 55.  Most passing yards - 5,477.

2.  Five Denver Broncos players finished the season with more than 10 touchdowns each: Demaryius Thomas - 14, Knowshon Moreno - 13 (10 of them rushing), Julius Thomas - 12, Eric Decker - 11, and Wes Welker, 10.  League-wide, there were only 23 players finishing with more than 10 touchdowns during the regular season.

3.  The Denver Broncos broke the record for points scored during a regular season at 606.  The previous record of 589 belonged to the 2007 New England Patriots.

4.  The Denver Broncos broke the record for the number of touchdowns scored during a regular season at 76.  The previous record of 75 belonged to the 2007 New England Patriots.

5.  The Denver Broncos converted 293 passed first downs.  The previous record of 280 belonged to the 2011 New Orleans Saints.

6.  The Denver Broncos broke their own record of the most points scored in the second half of play, set in 2012 at 299 points.  This year, the Broncos scored 318 points in the second half of play.

7.  Matt Prater set a record for the longest field goal at 64 yards, beating Jason Elam's previous record of 63 yards.

Beyond these stand-out statistics are other records that were broken this year, including many at the franchise level.  Even with three losses, it has been an exquisite season for the Denver Broncos.

As the AFC Championship game approaches, fans are ready to help push the Broncos through to the Super Bowl.  The game against Tom Brady and the New England Patriots may be tough in the end, but there is a good chance the Broncos will come out on top.  They have been playing like a well-oiled machine of late, with Peyton's hurry-up offense.

Sports Authority Field at Mile High will be loud on Sunday.  Hang on to your hats as the Broncos face the Patriots in one of the most important games ever.  Watch out, New England...here we come!

Friday, December 13, 2013

Time to Reset: Manning and the Broncos Heading to the Playoffs



What a loss -- and against the San Diego Chargers!

Perhaps the loss was a humbling experience that helped Peyton Manning and the Broncos reset themselves as they head to the playoffs.  At least that's what I'm hoping will happen.

People will not be able to blame the Denver Broncos defense for not doing their jobs.  The offense did not come ready to play against the Chargers.  I don't even want to get started about special teams.  On top of it, I was ready to throttle Trindon Holliday for a couple of obvious mistakes.

After painfully watching the Broncos lose 27-20, many of us are left wondering if Peyton Manning has the ability to bring the team all the way to the Super Bowl.  Last season, albeit Manning's first, fans were extremely disappointed when the team's season ended after the first game of the playoffs.  The million-dollar question has become, "Will last year happen again this year?"

Let's hope that this was just a minor speed bump that does not set the team too far back.  There isn't much time left to hone and refine, but certainly enough to figure out Plans B through Z before beating the Texans and Raiders and going on to rule the playoffs.

Only time will tell how much there is left in Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Walt Weiss Not Afraid: Changing Up the Colorado Rockies Starting Lineup

Walt Weiss is not afraid to switch around the Colorado Rockies' lineup, going with whatever is working at the time.  There have been many different looks this year.  It seems Weiss has been making the right decisions of late, with wins against the San Francisco Giants.  The Colorado Rockies managed to end a 10-game losing streak against the Giants, which goes back to last season.

On Friday, May 17th, against the Giants' Bumgarner, Walt Weiss started the following batting lineup:
  • Eric Young, Jr. - RF
  • Dexter Fowler - CF
  • Carlos Gonzalez - LF
  • Troy Tulowitzki - SS
  • Wilin Rosario - C
  • Nolan Arrenado - 3B
  • DJ LeMahieu - 2B
  • Jordan Pacheco - 1B
  • Jorge De La Rosa - P

On Saturday, May 18th, against the Giants' Lincecum, Walt Weiss started the following batting lineup:
  • Dexter Fowler - CF
  • Josh Rutledge - 2B
  • Carlos Gonzalez - LF
  • Troy Tulowitzki - SS
  • Wilin Rosario - C
  • Todd Helton - 1B
  • Nolan Arrenado - 3B
  • Charlie Blackmon - RF
  • Tyler Chatwood - P

On Sunday, May 19th, against the Giants' Zito, Walt Weiss started the following batting lineup:
  • Eric Young, Jr - RF
  • Dexter Fowler - CF
  • Carlos Gonzalez - LF
  • Troy Tulowitzki - SS
  • Jordan Pacheco - 1B
  • DJ LeMahieu - 3B
  • Josh Rutledge - 2B
  • Yorvit Torrealba - C
  • Juan Nicasio -P

With such strength on the bench, Walt Weiss can mix up the lineup as much as he wants.  The Colorado Rockies' offense is definitely making a huge difference in this season's record so far.  Both Carlos Gonzalez and Troy Tulowitzki are red hot, on fire!  CarGo is batting .310 and Tulo is averaging .333.  

Charlie Blackmon came up from Triple-A to cover for Michael Cuddyer, who was placed on the 15-day DL with a neck injury.  Cuddy's departure has brought Blackmon in ready to play.  Since May 12th, Charlie has averaged .267 and gotten on base 31% of the time.  

Charlie Blackmon, Colorado Rockies' Right Fielder


DJ LeMahieu was also called up from AAA, Colorado Springs to take Reid Brignac's place, who was not quite getting the hits.  DJ is an extremely versatile player, filling in at second and third bases, as well as shortstop, if necessary.  He has been filling in since May 16th.

DJ LeMahieu

No matter who starts for the Colorado Rockies, the roster is deep.  When the Mile High team is clicking on all cylinders, they are difficult to stop.  Thanks to the bullpen, when the offense is not doing well, the pitching reserves pull their weight.  The Colorado Rockies have most definitely been fun to watch so far this year.  

Who will start for the Rockies when they turn their attention to the Arizona Diamondbacks next?  We'll all have to wait and see.

Go Rockies!