Five ways to revive the Rockies

Here we are, just past Memorial Day, and 2012 already looks like a lost season for the Colorado Rockies.  We’ve seen this too many times before.  The Rockies show no sign of being able to pull themselves out of this most recent May freefall.  Here are five things that need to happen sooner rather than later:

1)      Fire Dan O’Dowd.  NOW.  Under his watch, the Rockies have two playoff appearances (no division titles) in 13 years.  The team caught lightning in a bottle for a month in 2007, and the team has teased its fans with “potential” ever since.

When they made the playoffs in 2009, many fans (including me) thought they had finally turned the corner.

We were wrong.  Years of botched first-round draft picks have left the team in a dead zone where — except for Nolan Arenado — the best prospects are years away from the majors.  O’Dowd tried to plug the team’s many holes with 30-something veteran players.  Other than Michael Cuddyer (for whom O’Dowd vastly overpaid), they have all fallen flat.  Continue reading

American League East: State of the Division

The American League East was considered by many to be the best division in baseball.  Heading into the season with the Yankees and Red Sox fielding All-Star lineups and the Rays employing the divisions best Manager, Joe Maddon, and the division’s best pitching rotation, the East figured to have two playoff contenders in the expanded wildcard playoff format this season.

What nobody failed to mention is that the Baltimore Orioles may be one of the two teams to earn a post-season berth.

Tied for first place with the Rays and playing inspired ball under Manager Buck Showalter has Orioles fans optimistic that this isn’t a flash in the pan start to the year.

With budding stars in Adam Jones and Matt Wieters carrying a line-up which also features JJ Hardy, Chris Davis, and Nick Markakis, the Orioles believe they can compete with the big boys of the division into September. Continue reading

The Pittsburgh Pirates, .500, and Where They Go From Here

Yesterday, the Pittsburgh Pirates celebrated Memorial Day in style – a 4-1 win over the N.L. Central leading Cincinnati Reds propelled the Bucs back to the .500 mark and the team is now just 3.0 games out of first place in the division.  SP James McDonald continued his dominance, as he slowly morphs into one of the top starting pitchers in the game – this time with an 8.0 inning shutout performance before giving way to the bullpen in the ninth.

The Pirates have used their pitching staff to keep them in the hunt as they wait for their offense to get on track.

With the consistent starting pitching performances they have been getting from the rotation and the lights-out nature of their bullpen, the Bucs are now starting to wake up their bats, creating a team that could contend for one of the two Wild Card spots available this season – or perhaps make a run at the weak N.L. Continue reading