2009 MLB National League West Notebook
The inevitable finally caught up with Colorado manager Clint Hurdle. He became the second manager in baseball this year to get fired. Hurdle was notified by general manager Dan O'Dowd shortly before the Rockies started their weekend series against San Diego. Bench coach Jim Tracy, the former manager of the Dodgers and Pirates, takes over.
For Colorado, the last straw was when the ballclub was swept in a three-game series by the Dodgers at Coors Field earlier in the week. The Rockies are sitting in last place at 18-28 and were 14 1/2 games behind Los Angeles. It's been a mess for Colorado ever since winning the 2007 National League Pennant. The team finished 74-88 last year.
Hurdle was 534-625 (.460) since taking over for Buddy Bell three weeks into the 2002 season. Hurdle's only winning season was in 2007 when the Rockies used a 21-1 run at the end of the season to finish 90-73. His team has losing records in every other season. Arizona fired Bob Melvin earlier in the month.
So what are we to make of San Diego's recent 10-game winning streak that got the team back to the .500 mark?
Well, you'd like to think this was the stretch that convinced doubters that this team could contend for the wild card playoff spot. But in reality, it probably was just a nice stretch and that was it. There just isn't enough offense in this lineup to keep this team in the race.
And the streak also didn't quell talk about the team dealing right-hander Jake Peavy to a likely National League playoff contender. Still, ownership would like to see which of the remaining starters will step up.
It's been a bit of a mixed year for right-hander Chris Young. He started quickly with a pair of wins and then suffered through a stretch of six consecutive starts with either a loss or no decision. But Young has righted himself recently with back to back wins. He's 4-2 with a 4.76 ERA.
The Dodgers appeared to have caught lightning in a bottle with left-hander Randy Wolf. No one was exactly sure what they were going to get when Wolf signed a one-year deal back in February.
The move really looks good now. Following another 7-inning performance, Wolf is 3-1 with a very nifty 2.84 ERA. Wolf has actually filled the void vacated by the departure of right-hander Derek Lowe. Again, the Dodgers starting rotation was pretty good.
To get more than a six innings per start from a journeyman is pretty good. And keep an eye on left-hander Eric Milton who just returned to the big leagues earlier this month. He's thrown nine innings in two starts. That's not much, but the Dodgers are bringing him along slowly.
Unlike the Padres, the Giants have to wonder if they are really going to be a contender for the NL Wild Card. They and the Padres definitely mirror each other in club makeup with all pitching and no hitting.
But that hasn't stopped general manager Brian Sabean to consider adding a bat to the lineup. A report out of the Bay area cited the Giants were looking at several prospects including Texas DH Hank Blalock. Blalock, a third baseman by trade, has slowed to the point where he is a third baseman. He is a left-handed power hitter and swings hard. He is hitting .245 with 11 home runs and 25 RBIs.
Ryan Roberts was pretty much a journeyman minor league infielder throughout his career. He bounced around in several organizations between Toronto and Texas. But when he signed with Arizona in the offseason, it was thought he would be just a normal addition.
So far, Roberts is taking advantage of his opportunity. Roberts, a third baseman, has played in a career-high 31 games for the Diamondbacks and is hitting .356. The power isn't there with 12 of his 16 hits as singles. Yet, he's just glad he has a chance to show what he can do. Prior to this season, Roberts had only two career hits. His first was a home run for the Blue Jays in Yankee Stadium in 2006.
By Kevin Lonnquist
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