0-0 (T-1st place, NL Central)
0-0 (T-1st place, NL West)
|Yovani Gallardo (0-0, ---)
|Jhoulys Chacin (0-0, ---)
There's still a few hours left to make up an excuse to miss work tomorrow or simply quit your job to watch the first of 162 Brewer games when they host the Rockies at 1:10 tomorrow. Just saying.
To help you prepare for this week's series (but not your pending unemployment), we traded questions with Bryan Kilpatrick of Purple Row, the SBN Rockies site. His answers are below, and mine will probably show up there at some point.
BCB: The Rockies were nearly a 100-loss team a year ago and their 29-52 road record was the third worst in all of baseball, but they were also one of the NL's best teams this spring. Is a better year on the horizon for this team?
PR: A lot of that depends on the health of Troy Tulowitzki. If the star shortstop is able to stay on the field, the Rockies will be a better team solely for that reason. Add in an effective Todd Helton and full seasons from Jhoulys Chacin and Jorge De La Rosa, and that should add a few more wins.
They're still thin in the starting rotation and the road problems will almost always be there, although hopefully Walt Weiss will be able to identify trends and use players accordingly, unlike the last manager.
BCB: With players like Carlos Gonzalez, Dexter Fowler and Troy Tulowitzki, it seems like this team has plenty of star power on offense. Is pitching the only issue the Rockies face going forward?
PR: I wouldn't say it's the only issue, but it's certainly the main one. The Rockies still need to find a long-term option at first base, and the team's quality of position-player talent in the system has decreased, although the quantity seems to be there.
Tulowitzki needs to shake the injury-prone label for him to no longer be a concern, while Fowler and Gonzalez could use more consistency on the road. Also, defense was a problem last year but has been a focal point for Weiss, so hopefully we see some improvement in that area this season.
BCB: Catcher Wilin Rosario posted a .530 slugging percentage as a rookie a year ago. Is he the best Rockie that most fans outside of Colorado may not have heard of?
PR: No question about it. Rosario is a future star with perhaps one thing holding him back: defense. While he mashed 28 home runs and maintained better numbers on the road than at home for a large chunk of the season, his ability to block pitches and overall game-calling was atrocious. Bringing back Yorvit Torrealba, who knows how pitchers (and pitches) react at altitude, could help Rosario in the intangibles department, and Wilin worked very hard on his defense behind the plate this offseason. We'll see if it pays dividends.
BCB: Juan Nicasio and Jorge De La Rosa combined to make just 14 major league starts a year ago but are the probable pitchers for two of the three games in this team's opening series. Is the Rockies' pitching staff really this thin?
PR: The staff is very thin, but these two guys have demonstrated some success at the big league level. De La Rosa was arguably the Rockies' best pitcher in their most recent playoff season (2009), and Nicasio burst on the scene with a solid campaign in 2011 before his season ended when he was hit with a line drive in a game against the Nationals.
I think the bigger concern is that the club still feels Drew Pomeranz isn't ready, hence the decision to sign Jon Garland and insert him into the rotation. Pomeranz's development was one of the keys to the Rockies getting better this season, but if he's not even going to be on the major league roster, that's a problem. Hopefully he finds his way at Triple-A Colorado Springs and never again has to worry about whether or not he'll make the team.
BCB: What would the Rockies have to do in 2013 for you to consider the season a success?
PR: Troy Tulowitzki needs to stay healthy and Carlos Gonzalez needs to take a step forward after taking two steps back since his MVP-caliber 2010 campaign. With all of the attention focused on the team's pitching woes, the success of those two guys is still the biggest thing for this club.
Thanks to Bryan for taking the time, and check out Purple Row for more on the Rockies!