In our never-ending quest to provide more ways to make you unproductive at school or work, we're going to try something new this year: series previews.
Unless you've been locked in the crawl space for the last three months, you know that the Brewers open the season tomorrow against the Colorado Rockies, the 2009 Wild Card winners in the National League. The start times and pitching match-ups go something like this:
MILWAUKEE BREWERS vs. COLORADO ROCKIES
Monday, April 5, 2010, @ 1:10 p.m. (CDT)
Yovani Gallardo vs. Ubaldo Jimenez
Tuesday, April 6, 2010, @ 7:10 p.m. (CDT)
Randy Wolf vs. Greg Smith
Wednesday, April 7, 2010, @ 12:10 p.m. (CDT)
Doug Davis vs. Aaron Cook
After the jump: Russ Oates of SBN's terrific Rockies blog, Purple Row, stopped by to answer some hard-hitting questions on the Rockies, the evolution of Jorge de la Rosa, and, of course, dinosaurs:
BCB: The Rockies seem to have followed a pattern in the last three seasons. 2007: healthy Tulowitzki has a big year, Rockies win the Wild Card. 2008: Tulo's hurt, Rockies slide to 74-88. 2009: healthy Tulo has a big year, Rockies win the Wild Card. It's not that simple, right?
I don't want to say it's that simple. I will say, however, that an early key to success for the Rockies will be to see Tulo start off hot, or at least temperate. He's been a cold starter, which has led to dismal Aprils and Mays for the Rockies.
BCB: Other than Tulowitzki, which position player needs to have a big year for the Rockies to contend?
Right fielder Brad Hawpe. He went from being an All-Star in the first half of the season to making the Anti-All-Star Team after the break. Which Hawpe will we see in 2010? If it's the latter one, will his decline be as bad as the departed Garrett Atkins' performance was in 2009? Seth Smith is stalking the Coors Field outfield.
BCB: Tuesday's scheduled starter is Jeff Francis, who was outstanding for the '07 Wild Card champs. In '08, he slumped to 4-10, 5.22 and then he missed the entire '09 season due to shoulder surgery. Is he fully recovered, or is this one of those "you can pitch after a year, but you won't be back to normal for 18 months" injuries? How has he looked this spring? What are the expectations for Francis this year?
Not so fast. Jeff Francis will now start the season the DL as a result of left shoulder stiffness he felt on Friday. [Rubie sez: This is what I get for not procrastinating and sending the questions on Friday morning.] A day earlier, Francis looked sharp and ready to start the season. Greg Smith will replace Francis on Tuesday and for the foreseeable future. No word yet on how long Francis will be out, but the team will certainly be cautious with him.
BCB: You owe us for Jorge de la Rosa. May we have Jason Hammel, please?
Sure, but we want Ryan Braun's 2007 RoY award to go to Tulo.
BCB: OK, seriously: after making remarkable improvement during the 2008 season, George of the Rose will start the Rockies home opener on Friday against the Padres. You watched most of his starts (correct me if I'm wrong). For those of us who didn't get the benefit of seeing him pitch every five days and are still skeptical: did de la Rosa's 2009 season look (for lack of a better term) fluky?
It's really all about focus for JDLR. He found a sports psychologist last season and then produced an outstanding season. He'd still have games with 3+ walks, but as long as he kept piling up the strikeouts it didn't matter. De La Rosa has settled in as a middle-of-the-rotation starter who could be even better this season.
BCB: The Rockies mascot, Dinger, appears to be a purple triceratops, which is (1) awesome and (2) kind of confusing. What am I missing? What does a dinosaur have to do with the Rocky Mountains? And why purple? Doesn't Barney have the market cornered on that color?
During the excavation for Coors Field, an unidentified dinosaur bone was discovered. In early 1994, the team announced they also found a dinosaur egg, which then hatched on 16 April 1994. Out came Dinger. Dinger is purple because of the "purple mountain majesties" line from "America the Beautiful." I don't know. Many fans want Dinger to go the way of his ancestors. Unfortunately, it'll take another 65 million years for that to happen.