Tag:Jim Tracy
Posted on: June 28, 2010 10:42 pm
 

Jimenez lining up for All-Star start

Looks like Ubaldo Jimenez, the major-league leader in wins and ERA, will be plenty rested in order to start the All-Star Game for the National League if Philadelphia manager Charlie Manuel is so inclined.

And given Jimenez's sensational 13-1 record and 1.60 ERA through his first 15 starts, you would think that would be among Manuel's easier decisions come Midsummer Classic time.

New rules this year will preclude any starting pitcher who works on the Sunday before the break from being eligible to pitch in the All-Star Game. That could make things dicey as rosters are chosen and strategy begins to take shape.

There should be no such issues, however, with Jimenez. Following Monday night's outing in San Diego, Colorado manager Jim Tracy projects him to pitch Saturday against San Francisco and then Thursday, July 8 against St. Louis.

That would put him on his regular five days' rest for Tuesday, July 13 in Anaheim.

Posted on: October 11, 2009 9:09 pm
Edited on: October 11, 2009 9:12 pm
 

Game 3 in Denver: Game on, ear muffs required

DENVER -- It's 35 degrees here roughly 80 minutes before first pitch, the Rockies are finished taking batting practice, the Phillies are hitting now ... and no snowmen have been sighted.

What we're going to get here tonight is the coldest Division Series game in history. Current record holder: Game 2 of the 1999 AL Division Series, when it was 48 degrees at game time in New York for the Rangers and Yankees.

Tonight, that record will be shattered.

Still, it's a heck of a sight better than it was on Saturday night, when it was in the 20s with the wind howling.

"We couldn't have played in that wind," Colorado manager Jim Tracy said.

Had they, it would have been ugly.

There is no wind tonight. The flags at Coors Field are hanging, not flapping.

As for the effects, Tracy says he thinks the most difficult thing during Game 3 tonight will be for fielders to get a grip on -- and a feel for -- the ball.

Philadelphia skipper Charlie Manuel thinks the most difficult thing will be for the pitchers to get the feel of the ball on their breaking pitches.

Incidentally, the coldest game-time temperature in history for a Rockies game came in 1997, when it was 28 degrees for a Rockies-Expos game on April 12.

Oh, and one more thing: Aside from that Rangers-Yankees game that is about to get toppled from the record book, the only other two Division Series games to start in temperatures less than 50 degrees were Game 1 of that Yankees-Rangers game in '99, when it was 49 degrees at first pitch, and Game 1 of the '99 ALDS in '99 in Cleveland, when it was 49 degrees at first pitch between the Indians and Red Sox.

Likes: We've seen some wretched umpiring already this fall, and it should be far better than this, but if you can take a breath and stop screaming and hollering for a minute, this piece from the Newark Star-Ledger on umpire Phil Cuzzi is very well done and gives a glimpse into that agony a guy goes through after he blows a call.

Posted on: September 15, 2009 9:22 pm
 

Colorado's Cook on target to return

SAN FRANCISCO -- Simulated games are big around here these days. Colorado's injured starter trio of Aaron Cook, Jeff Francis and Jose Contreras each threw one Tuesday afternoon, and probably the best news from the Rockies' perspective was that Cook continues to progress well enough that we could see him back on a mound before the regular season.

No need to describe what a boon that would be for the Rockies, who have maintained without their ace since Aug. 22 when an elbow strain sidelined him. Cook is 10-6 with a 4.47 ERA in 25 starts this season.

"He threw the ball fine, physically he's fine," Rockies manager Jim Tracy said. "I can't tell you he was pinpoint in his pitches, but I didn't expect that. He threw good breaking balls and good sinkers that had that good Aaron Cook depth."

Cook next will throw another simulated game on Saturday and, if all goes well, he'll likely go from there to the Instructional League for more work. In a perfect Colorado world, he'll come back for at least one regular season start and then move into the playoffs with the Rockies.

"I am optimistic," Tracy said. "I'm very optimistic."

The manager said he definitely wants Cook to work a regular season game first, rather than re-joining the team in the playoffs.

"I think anytime you can get him back in the pool before waiting to involve him in really significant things, I that it's huge," Tracy said. "I think it's of utmost importance."

As for the other two, Francis, who has not pitched in 2009 after undergoing shoulder surgery, is working toward next year. Contreras' arm is fine but his strained calf remains sketchy. The Rockies are not yet comfortable with him moving quickly off of the mound to field bunts or to cover first base.

 

Posted on: May 29, 2009 6:56 pm
 

Fond memories of Rocktober ... and not much else

Outside of two fantastic months in 2007, the Colorado Rockies have been as irrelevant as any team in the majors. Whether Friday's sacking of manager Clint Hurdle will change any of that, I don't know.

What I do know is this: Judging from past directional changes in Colorado, odds are, it won't.

Even counting their World Series season in '07, heading into Friday night's series opener with San Diego, the Rockies stood at 117 games under .500 since Dan O'Dowd became general manager in 2000.

They have finished with a losing record in seven of the past eight years and in nine of the last 11. They have finished either in last place or next-to-last in 13 of their 16 seasons. And at a major-league-worst 14 games back in the division right now, they're poised to add to it.

Even under new skipper Jim Tracy.

What got Hurdle gone is that, even measured against this historical sad-sack level of play, this year's Rockies are lagging. Take away the Dodgers, and the rest of the NL West stinks worse than the dumpster outside of a fish market. Yet the Rockies still can't help but belly up to the underachiever's bar.

Both Hurdle and O'Dowd entered '09 in the final year of their contracts, and if Troy Tulowitzki doesn't snap out of his slumber sometime soon, it might be O'Dowd's turn to say the next farewell. Tulowitzki, awarded a six-year, $31 million deal that takes him through 2013, has been awful.

One of the main questions asked all season in Colorado has been, "Is Tulo pressing?" and, whether the answer is "maybe a little" or "Hell, yeah!", there's no getting around the fact that his numbers directly relate to the Rockies' dive and Hurdle's axing: He has just three hits in 38 at-bats with runners in scoring position, and recently just snapped an 0-for-27 skid in those situations. Tulowitzki currently owns a .318 on-base percentage, a .393 slugging percentage, a .227 batting average and 34 whiffs.

He's not alone. Garrett Atkins (.195, three home runs), Ian Stewart (.187), Clint Barmes (.234), former closer Manny Corpas (6.65 ERA) ... the list of culprits is a long one.

And it extends upstairs to the owner's suite: In trading free-agent-to-be Matt Holliday over the winter, the Rockies were implicitly signing a non-compete clause. Again: The NL West reeks. It wasn't going to take that much to stay in contention this summer (especially when building the team last winter, before it was a given that the Dodgers would re-sign Manny Ramirez and bag Orlando Hudson). Clearly, winning is not at the top of the Monfort family's to-do list.

Two years ago, I wondered how the Rockies could justify extending the contracts of Hurdle and O'Dowd through 2009. Six months later, they capped the best season in their history by winning an incredible 21 of 22 games and storming into the World Series.

What that is now, though, is the exception to the norm. And an organization that has changed directions more often than Magellan over the past decade sets sail in a new one yet again.s

Likes: Clint Hurdle is a good man and I hate to see him go. After I ripped the Rockies in the '07 column linked to above, he confronted me a couple of months later and it was the beginning of an entertaining give-and-take, which I detailed in this column from October, 2007. We both share a passion for music and we even exchanged a few CDs after that. I'm listening to one he gave me, Neil Young's Chrome Dreams II, as I write this. In fact, when I last saw him earlier this month, I asked him what he thought of The Hold Steady's Stay Positive. It was after an interview as the Rockies were scuffling, and he misunderstood at first and said, "Oh, I'm staying positive." Knowing Hurdle, he still is today, too. Even as ex-manager of the Rockies.

Rock 'N' Roll Lyric of the Day:

"You don't care who you aggravate
"You don't care who you alienate
"I'm tired of your heart of stone
"I just want to be left alone
"Lesson learned
"Bridge burned
"That's why
"I say so long, I'm gone, goodbye"

-- Stone Coyotes, So Long, I'm Gone, Goodbye

 
 
 
 
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