SportsNation Blog Archives Colorado Rockies
First it was Ndamukong Suh coming up on the outside (or right through the guard and center, as the case may be) to nearly swipe last season's Heisman Trophy. Now we've got Troy Tulowitzki making a late run in the NL MVP race. We don't know if the two things are related, but the Steelers might want to get in touch with Chris Fuamatu Ma'afala, just in case there's something afoot with the 21st letter of the alphabet.
Tulowitzki and the Rockies finally cooled off, sort of, Sunday against the Dodgers. Tulowitzku had only one RBI and struck out three times in a 7-6 loss in 11 innings. Nonetheless, the Rockies are just 1.5 games out in the NL West and Tulowitzki is hitting .371 with 14 home runs this month. But before we get to Tulowitzki's place in the NL MVP race, what is his place in Colorado's MVP race?
Tulowitzki is an absolute beast! If he could just stay healthy over a full season, he could win multiple MVPs. Hopefully, he picks up a Gold Glove and a Silver Slugger Award this year, which he rightly deserves.” -- jtrms45
Information travels fast these days. At least, it does most of the time. When it comes to Cardinals ace Adam Wainwright, on the other hand, it feels a little like the information is still traveling out of the "Gateway to the West" via covered wagon.
Wainwright improved to 17-6 by giving the Cardinals sole possession of first place in the NL Central in Wednesday's win against the Reds. He also lowered his ERA for the season to 1.99, a number more familiar to the Taco Bell menu than MLB pitching statistics at this point on the calendar. And yet when the ballots, so to speak, went out to SportsNation this morning, Wainwright wasn't even in the same area code as first-half star Ubaldo Jimenez.
Then again, while Jimenez has fallen off the ERA pace recently (and here is where we mention perpetually overlooked Josh Johnson and his MLB-best 1.97 ERA), the Rockies ace does still spend half his time in Coors Field. Is that enough to offset Wainwright's surge?
Rob, is Mat Latos in the running for the Cy Young? Take away his first 4 starts of the season and he has a 1.72 ERA, .170/.239/.247 slash line and .90 WHIP, all tops in the MLB. Not to mention he already leads the NL in OBA/OOBP/OSLG with all starts considered.
We're not allowed to take away those first four starts, are we? (If so, I'll take back my brilliant decision to release Latos from my fantasy team.) He's a dark horse Cy Young candidate, if only because of all the other viable candidates. Full transcript
The standings say the San Diego Padres own the best record in the National League as play begins Monday, riding a four-game winning streak out of the All-Star break to some breathing room in the NL West. The statistics say no team in either league has allowed fewer runs than the Padres, fueling the best run differential in the National League.
Is SportsNation -- which ranked the Padres behind the Yankees, Rays, Braves, Rangers and Red Sox at midseason -- selling San Diego short or showing sage skepticism?
Arguing for the prosecution ...
And arguing for the defense ...
Mark (San Diego)
Are the Padres [going] to move Adrian Gonzalez in the off season if a contract can't be agreed upon? It would seem to be the smart thing to do. They could probably get a huge package in return.
That's what I think almost has to happen. They're not going to be able to sign him. And they certainly can't trade him now, when they're in first place. But this winter will be a time to establish once and for all that he's not signable (by them, anyway). And once that's out there, I think even the people in San Diego who love him will understand that they have to deal him. Full transcript
We're on record as considering Pedro Martinez's 2000 season as perhaps the finest pitching performance of all time. Consider: In the midst of the steroid era, in the AL East, in a hitter's park, Martinez put up a 1.74 earned run average. That's good for a 285 ERA+, meaning he was almost three times as good as the league-average ERA. Pretty crazy, right?
It's early yet, but Ubaldo Jimenez might have a chance to better that mark. Jimenez gave up two runs Sunday, which means his ERA soared to a magisterial 0.93. That's good for an ERA+ of 484, which means he's almost five times better than the league average. All this in Coors Field in a division that has a number of good hitters. (Adrian Gonzalez, Manny Ramirez and Pablo Sandoval can put a pretty quick dent in a pitcher's ERA, don't you think?) Ubaldo (we think we can refer to him by his first name, considering the last Ubaldo in the majors was Ubaldo Heredia in 1987) throws a 100 mph fastball that seems to move about three feet, which would make him a rather good pitcher if that were the only pitch he had. Unfortunately for National League hitters, he has about five more.
Bob Gibson's 1.12 ERA, achieved during the so-called "Year of the Pitcher" (1968, when only six players hit better than .300), is the modern record low for a starter. Could Ubaldo challenge that mark? He certainly has a head start.
Marty (Stratford, CT)
Did analysts see Ubaldo Jimenez's mad skills as he came through the minor league system, or has this year come as a surprise to you guys?
There's been a buzz about Jimenez for years. What's propelled him to this level this year is that he's finally commanding his whole repertoire, and especially his fastball. Lots of fun Ubaldo talk in this week's Rumblings and Grumblings, by the way. Full transcript
Halladay vs. Jimenez? Halladay has a much lower xFIP.
I still believe Halladay is the best pitcher in the National League. But there's certainly an argument here. Full transcript
It's right there in the projected stats for Ubaldo Jimenez: 32-3. These days, 30 wins spread over two seasons will earn a pitcher a good chunk of change (we're looking your way, Mr. Suppan). And with pitch counts, five-man rotations and other factors, the idea of a pitcher winning 30 games in a season is almost unthinkable. Almost. Baseball has seen a 30-game winner (Denny McLain in 1968) much more recently than a .400 hitter (Ted Williams in 1941), but which would be more impressive to see again?
Meanwhile, two SportsNation commenters squared off as to whether Jimenez is doing it with smoke and mirrors or some of the best heat ever.
So this is what everybody expected out of the Rockies. Are they going to stay like this for the rest of the year?
I still like the Rockies to win that division. They've barely had their team together all year. And if you count their bullpen health issues, they've actually never had their team together all year. That is one seriously talented group. And Ubaldo Jimenez is Bob Gibson! Full transcript