Good News/Bad News

September 28, 2003. The Rockies have had their best season since 2000, winning 74 games after defeating the Padres 10-8 in the last game ever played at Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego.

The bad news is that Todd Helton lost the batting championship to Albert Pujols when the Padres intentionally walked him in the 8th inning. Had he gotten a hit, he would have won the title.

Good News!
September 27, 2003. Rockies fans all over the world can rejoice today. Why? Because, while the Rockies may have not made much progress this year, they avoided having a worse record than the last two years by winning their 73rd game by a 10-2 score over the San Diego Padres. Jason Stark, Aaron Cook, Jason Young, and Chin-hui Tsao combined to hold the Padres to just two hits. Ronnie Belliard, Preston Wilson, Larry Walker, and Gregg Zaun hit HRs for the Rockies.

Secondly, with a two-for-four day, Todd Helton moved into a virtual tie for the batting championship with Albert Pujols of the Cardinals. With a good day, Helton could win the title on Sunday, which would be the sixth batting championship by a Rockies player in their 11 years of existence - a remarkable achievement.

Shut Down in San Diego
September 26, 2003. Another day, another loss for the Rockies, as they were shut out 5-0 by Adam Eaton and 4 relief pitchers in the next-to-the-last game in Qualcomm stadium. Cory Vance started for Colorado and lowered his record to 1-3. The lineup for Denver's finest was particularly inoffensive on this occasion, counting no extra base hits among their 8 safeties.

With the loss, the Rockies road record dropped to 23-56, assuring themselves of their worst road record ever, eclipsing last year's sad 26-55 mark. (In their first year, 1993, they won 28 games.) They also need to win one of the remaining two games in order to tie the last two year's overall won-loss records of 73-89. Three consecutive years with the exact same record. Now that's consistency! If only attendance had remained the same those three years, instead of dropping from 3,166,821 to 2,224,977 (29.7%).

Rockies Wrap Up Home Season on a Sour Note with 8-7 Loss to Arizona
September 25, 2003. The game started on a positive note, and ended in disappointment, much like the 2003 season. The scene was beautiful - sunny, not too warm, the mountains in view, and the sparse crowd up-beat, aided by the coupon for a free game next April given to every entrant to the ballpark. What could be better than warm September day in Denver at Coors Field?

But the optimism ended quickly, when Rocks' second baseman Mark Bellhorn made an error on a double play ball in the first inning, then missed a tag later, opening the door to 3 Arizona runs off starter and Colorado native Scott Elarton, drawing boos from the crowd. The lead increased to 4-0, then to 6-2 in the top of the sixth, when the Rockies launched a comeback and jazzed up the crowd, as they scored 5 in the bottom of the sixth to take a 7-6 lead. The surge after the half-way point paralleled the surge the team had after the All Star break, temporarily putting them in contention for the Wild Card, exciting fans with visions of October games.

But, the excitement died quickly, as the Rockies only managed one hit and two walks the rest of the game, and ended up losing the game when Arizona scored once in the seventh, and once in the ninth. The winning run scored on a single by Rockies castoff Quinton McCracken.
The game tied the longest of the season at 3 hours and 48 minutes, but it seemed to last much longer. The Rockies were the beneficiaries of 11 walks, contributing to the boredom, and also giving them 608 for the season, a new club record. Even though the Rockies had the second-best home record ever, they closed the season losing the last three series in a row for the first time since their first year in 1993.

Big Unit Stifles Rockies

September 24, 2003. Randy Johnson proved he is still a dominating pitcher at age 40 by limiting the Rockies to 3 runs, 2 on a HR by Juan Uribe and one on a Todd Helton Blast, 24 hours after the Rocks finished scoring 20 times against lesser hurlers. Jose Jimenez finally lost to the Diamondbacks after beating them in 3 straight starts, giving up 4 runs on 7 hits over 6 innings, lowering his record to 2-10. It was probably Jimenez' last game ever for Colorado.

Rocks Stomp AzAsps

September 23, 2003. The

Rockies are finishing up their 8th consecutive year out of the playoffs, while Arizona will be missing the postseason for the first time in the last 3 years, so neither team has any reason to play. This may explain, if not excuse, the free-for-all at Coors Field tonight, resulting in the final score of 20-9 in favor of the Rockies.

Larry Walker started the run parade in the first inning with a grand slam HR, the fifth of his career. Ronnie Belliard walked and singled in the same inning, the hit bringing in two runs to hand Rockies starter Darren Oliver a 6-0 lead. Oliver allowed 4 runs on seven hits in the five innings he pitched, leaving with a 12-4 advantage.

Belliard had a career night, with two HR and 8 RBI on a 4 for 5 night which makes us wonder why he is not in the Rockies' plans for next year. He and Walker accounted for 14 of the 20 Colorado runs on the highest scoring night in Rox' history. Walker is now tied with Dante Bichette for the lead in career RBI for the team, and Belliard tied Andres Galarraga for the single game total. Only 22,686 showed up to watch on a night when the 4th commemorative lapel pin in a set was given to the first 20,000 fans. Well, at least only 2,686 went away empty-handed.

Millwood Stabs Phil's Heart

September 23, 2003. If he's not trying to throw these games, he's doing an incredible simulation. In tonight's episode, Millwood is cruising along with a 3-0 lead, seemingly in total control, and he suddenly can't throw a strike, walking the first two batters.

Then he finds the strike zone, throwing fat gopher balls to the next two hitters. The first one doesn't quite get all of it, and flies out to center field. But the second hitter, Jeff Conine, takes the snake's gift and knocks it out of the park to tie the game.

Stunned manager Larry Bowa finally pulled Kevin, perhaps finally losing faith in "Mr. non-clutch", but the damage is done and the Phillies go on to lose 5-4. It looks like Kevin will get his wish - the Phillies will not make the playoffs, so he can go back to Atlanta and start negotiating a long term deal with the Braves.

To prove a point, Millwood's overall ERA is 3.88, but is 5.67 against Florida and 7.00 against the Braves, with a combined record of 1-5. Without the Braves and Marlins, he would have a 13-5 record with a 3.02 ERA. What do you call the opposite of a "Money Pitcher"? A Millwood.

What is the Deal With Quotes in the Denver Post?

September 22, 2003. This quote appeared in today's Post, under the byline of Troy E. Renck, purporting to be the response of Rockies' catcher Charles Johnson when he was asked about singing a duet with his wife, a singer: "Man, Never. The best I could do is take on tour, drive the bus." The most likely scenario here, of course, is that Johnson didn't say what Mr. Renck says he did. Instead, he probably said something coherent that was mistyped by someone and not proofread. This is obvious to everyone, for the very simple reason that Mr. Renck and his editors would certainly never want to print anything in the paper that didn't make sense, and they surely wouldn't want to make a player look stupid, we would hope.

If Johnson had actually said the words above, Mr. Renck would  have said "Pardon me Charles, what did you say?" or something to that effect until he got a quote that expressed what the player meant to say, in the interest of good journalism. Even if that failed, it is common for newspapers to insert words to make the meaning clear, for example "The best I could do is take (her) on tour; drive the bus." Would that have been so hard?

If this were an isolated incident, it would be a small matter, but it is a daily occurrence in the Post Sport Section, and not only in Mr. Renck's poor attempts at reporting.

The Baseball Observer understands, of course, that is a real grind writing all those words every single day about the same old thing and the same old people. But it is no excuse for doing a terrible job.

Let's look at another quote from the same issue, this time from Rockies' manager Clint Hurdle:

"Jason is basically at ground zero so to get him out there throwing and running again is not worth the risk." Hurdle is talking about pitcher Jason Jennings, who is in the hospital with the flu.

"Jason Jennings absorbed a Greg Maddux fastball off his face..."

"No pitcher has arrived with Tsao's hype"

Post: Feud is Over

September 21, 2003. The Denver Post announced in today's edition that the Rockies have ended their policy of not allowing Post reporters to be in attendance at team press conferences. The newspaper, whose parent company is part owner of the Rockies, went on to say that they had filed a formal complaint against the team with the Commissioner's office, but that the matter had been settled through negotiation. They went on to say that there were factual errors in the reporting of sister newspaper, The Rocky Mountain News, who broke the story on Saturday.

The problem here is that the Post admitted publishing quotes by a reporter who had not gotten the quotes, without the proper attribution, and taking quotes out of context in order to fit the context of an article. The Post also failed to report the Rockies' actions until days after the fact. The Post has little credibility left as it is, with their brand of shoddy reporting, but there was never any doubt that the matter would be resolved, given that they are the only game in town, own part of the team, and both parties together don't have a thimble full of integrity. The Baseball Observer wishes to congratulate the Rockies and the Post on their reconciliation - we're sure they will be very happy together.

Coorsers Beat Pads 5-3

September 21, 2003. September call-up Clint Barnes deserves the credit for today's win. The rookie shortstop made a terrific play on a foul popup and turned it into a double play in the first inning that pulled starting pitcher Chin-Hui Tsao through when he was on the ropes. Then, in the second inning, his sacrifice fly plated Rene Reyes with what would have been the winning run if not for a meaningless HR by San Diego in the 9th. As it was, Rene Reyes' 2-run HR in the eighth provided the winning margin as Tsao righted his ship and allowed no further runs through 6 innings, to even his record at 3-3.

The only non-rookie to knock in a run in the game was Larry Walker, who increased his RBI total to 71 with his 14th HR after Todd Helton had doubled for his 200th hit of the season. The double was Helton's second of the game, tying him for the league lead with 49. He was also the only player in purple pinstripes to have more than one hit, with three, raising his average to .355, second in all of Major League Baseball to Albert Pujols of Saint Louis.

Padres Blow Out Rox, 11-3

September 20, 2003. Jason Jennings went to the hospital with flu-like symptoms, so rookie Cory Vance was pressed into service as the starting pitcher for today's game. It was his second start as a Rockie, his first since August 29th. He pitched well enough to win at Coors Field on a normal day, giving up 4 runs on 6 hits over 5 innings. Unfortunately, Aaron Cook relieved him in the 6th and gave up 6 runs on 4 hits in one inning. Game - set - match.

Jay Payton hit a two-run HR, his 27th, and Preston Wilson cracked a solo blast for his 35th of the year to account for all of the Rockies runs.

Rockies Accuse Newspaper of Manufacturing Quotes

September 20, 2003. Manager Clint Hurdle will no longer provide pre- or post-game press conferences if reporters for the Denver Post are in attendance, according to Jay Alves, Rockies senior director of communications, as reported by Tracy Ringolsby in the Saturday Rocky Mountain News. (Both papers are operated by Denver Newspapers, Inc.)

According to Ringolsby, the problem began when a Post writer in Thursday's paper (Mark Kiszla, to be exact) claimed to quote Larry Walker, when he had actually received the information second hand from another reporter (probably Troy Rencke) and quoted it out of context.

Walker reportedly confirmed to Ringolsby that he would not give interviews when members of the Post staff were present and was quoted by Ringolsby as saying:

"The sad part is, people read and might actually believe what is written. I've always tried to be cooperative, but nothing good comes out of it. Everything gets misconstrued and becomes a bigger issue than it is."

Read the News excerpt

Read the Post article that caused the controversy

Elarton Leads Rockies to Victory

September 20, 2003. Fan favorite and Colorado native Scott Elarton pitched brilliantly Friday night, giving up only one run on a solo HR in six innings. The Rockies held on to win 6-5, withstanding a Padres comeback.

September call-up Kip Pellow started at catcher and went 4 for 4 with two doubles.

How Can You Tell The Rockies Are Going Broke?
September 19, 2003. Let us count the ways:

  1. $12 Capital Call - the owners were asked to invest more of their own money for the first time.

  2. The escalators at Coors field have not worked since July 4th, 2003.

  3. Skeleton promotional materials - for example, if you go to MLB.com and compare the Rockies Promotions with just about any other team you will find:
    a.  fewer promotions
    b.  cheaper promotions
    c.  when you click on the promotion link, other teams have pictures and text, the Rockies just repeat the name of the promotion.

  4. Clint Hurdle

  5. The scoreboards are running on "dim" - unless you are right in front of the main scoreboard, you can barely read it, if at all, during day games.

  6. The side scoreboards have so many burned out lights, parts of them are unreadable, especially the baseball scores along the 3rd base line.

  7. Digger

  8. More closed concession stands than open ones.

  9. The top of the Rocky Mountain News sign next to the main scoreboard has been peeling for at least a year.

  10. Virtual ticket giveaways - For practically the entire season, fans could buy up to 6 seats at $2 per seat if they bought $10 worth of groceries. At Rockies Dugout stores, $31 tickets are available for $1 each with the purchase of $25 in merchandise.

  11. Press guides were available free to Season Ticket holders in the past, but not this year.

  12. Staff reduction - finding anyone to help is getting more difficult these days.

Another Humiliating Loss at Home
September 18, 2003. It wasn't bad enough that the Rockies had to lose at home, but they were shut out 6-0, for the first time since July 4, 1999. Fans watched 361 games at Coors Field since the last time the Rockies failed to score in a game.

Colorado has now lost 4 straight home series for the first time in two years.

Chris Stynes, Jay Payton, and Todd Helton got the only hits off of Houston's Wade Miller and two relievers, with Helton's double the only extra base hit.

Jose Jimenez pitched well again for the Rockies, giving up 3 runs in the first inning and then putting up goose eggs through the sixth.

With San Diego next up in Denver, perhaps the Rockies will be able to win a series and avoid setting another disappointing record.

Rockies Win on Wednesday, As Usual
September 17, 2003. Darren Oliver pitched and hit his way to his twelfth victory as the Rockies won 7-5 in Denver, to raise the season record for Wednesdays at home to a gaudy 10-2. Oliver went 5 and two-third innings, giving up two runs (none earned) on 9 hits to improve his mark to 12 wins, 11 losses.

Catcher Charles Johnson had an eventful day, ranging from lows of dropping a foul pop off the bat of Jeff Bagwell with the bases loaded and getting caught off third base for the third out, to the high of hitting the game-winning HR in the eighth inning (his 19th of the year). Mark Sweeney was the hitting hero, producing a pinch-hit single with the bases loaded to plate the fourth and fifth runs for Colorado. Todd Helton hit a solo HR, his 31st of the season.

The game was also one of the chilliest of the season, with the temperature dropping from 70 to 45 at game time, which may have contributed with the sloppy play in the field. The Rockies committed three errors to the Astro's one, with Johnson, Garrett Atkins and Preston Wilson the culprits for the Rox.

Three former Rockies played in the game for Houston: Ron Villone (the starter and losing pitcher), Dan Micelli (pitched two scoreless innings in relief) and Brad Ausmas (caught and went 0-3 at the plate).

The Rockies should beat the Astros again tomorrow, as they are 9-2 on Thursday home games, including the last 3 in a row.

Tsao Trampled on Tuesday
September 15, 2003. Richard Hidalgo hit three home runs for the Astros in a 14-4 victory, but it wasn't the only distressing news for Rockies fans, if there are any left. Chin- Hui Tsao, the prized pitching prospect, is showing signs of severe degradation. Virtually all of the advisors of Clint Hurdle told him to leave the Taiwanese phenom alone this year, rather then ruining his career by bringing him to the Majors too quickly, but Clint, as usual, wouldn't listen. The result appears to be that Tsao has lost whatever it was that made him a special pitcher. Tuesday he only managed to go 4 innings, giving up 5 runs (4 earned) on 4 hits, while only striking out 1 and walking 2. Tsao's stats before this year were remarkable due to his control and high strikeout to walks ratio, which is apparently gone, at least for now.

The Rockies have now lost 9 of their last 10 HOME GAMES. Talk about your late season collapses.

Rocky Weekend for Rockies
September 14, 2003. The extended weekend started out well for the Rockies on Thursday with a 9 to 4 win in Saint Louis that gave them their first series victory on the road since July 5th in Milwaukee, and only their third of the season and first against a team with a winning record. Darren Oliver was the pitching hero, giving up 3 runs on seven hits through 6 and two thirds. The Rockies had 4 solo HRs to account for half of their runs, one each by Belliard, Pellow, Payton, and Uribe.

Then they traveled to Phoenix and beat the Arizona Diamondbacks 8-2 behind another impressive performance by Jose Jimenez. Preston Wilson went 3 for 5 with two HRs and 5 RBI.

After that, it was all downhill.

On Saturday, the Rockies suffered their worst loss ever to Arizona, and their worst loss of 2003, a 16 to 6 drubbing. From a pitching standpoint, it was a group effort, with Jason Young, Denny Stark, Jesus Sanchez, and Aaron Cook giving up 5, 2, 4, and 4 earned runs, respectively. Adam Bernero pitched a third of an inning and Cory Vance one complete, both without yielding a hit or a run. Raul Mondesi, Luis Gonzalez, and Felix Jose did most of the damage for Arizona, accounting for 10 RBI and two homeruns between them. Greg Zaun had 3 RBI on a HR for the Rockies, Preston Wilson got 2, and Jay Payton plated one on a solo HR, his 26th.

Today, Sunday, they were subjected to a one-hitter at the hands of a resurgent, 40-year old Randy Johnson. Not only that, but they suffered their 82nd loss of 2003, assuring them another losing season, the seventh in the club's 11 year history, and the third in a row.

Rene Reyes got the only hit off Johnson, a solid single to right field in the fifth inning. The D'Backs scored all five of their runs in the third inning off Jason Jennings, who left after 5 complete innings, giving up the runs on 12 hits and 2 walks. Adam Bernero followed with 2 innings, and Brian Fuentes followed with one inning of hitless, scoreless relief.

In more depressing news for Rockies fans, Clint Hurdle has been openly speculating that Larry Walker should think about retiring. According to Mark Kiszla in the Denver Post: "Hurdle's message was so startlingly clear and strong, it could not be interpreted any other way: Walker should contemplate retirement." According to the Post, Walker said in response: "Clint likes to talk and says things maybe he doesn't realize what he's saying." (When the Post quotes players, they usually speak in broken sentences with misspelled words - how the Post knows the players would have misspelled the words, we'll never know.)
 

Saint Louis 10, Colorado 2

Rockies Lose 14th of Last 16 Games

September 11, 2003. It was just too much to ask, for the Rockies to win 2 games in a row, something they haven't done since July. It was a real shame, too, because Colorado fan favorite Scott Elarton, a Lamar, CO native was the starting pitcher, and was trying to earn himself a spot in next year's starting rotation. The Denver Newspaper Cartel calls all the shots on personnel decisions for the Rockies, and after yesterday's game, they decided that Elarton will not be a part of the future, so the matter is settled. Scott was the victim of monster homerun shots off the bats of Scott Rolen, J.D. Drew, and Albert Pujols that blew his line score all out of shape at 7 runs (5 earned) in three and two thirds innings. The Baseball Observer feels that Elarton will be a successful starter again in the future, though not with the short-sighted Rockies. We will probably see him next year as a 20-game winner pitching for the Braves.

The Rockies only got 6 hits last night off of some grizzled old veteran the Cardinals trotted out, named Brett Tomko. Three of the hits were for extra bases, with Charles Johnson hitting his 18th homerun and Jay Payton and Preston Wilson slamming doubles. Wilson and Johnson got the only RBIs. 

On the pitching side, Denny Stark looked good for a change, tossing two scoreless innings, and Cory Vance and Brian Fuentes each chipped in with one scoreless frame apiece.

In a related event, Rockies fans may have noticed that the Florida Marlins took the lead in the race for the NL Wild Card, despite having a salary structure that is far lower than the Rockies. Colorado management must have noticed, as well, because, of course, everyone is wondering why Florida is going for their second post-season while the Rockies are becoming a laughingstock. In order to counter the criticism, the Rockies announced that there was a rumor that the Boston Red Sox might play some games in Denver next year! That should make the fans forget about the World Series!

The Baseball Observer would like to point out, at the risk of becoming repetitive, that the Marlins started winning when they got a manager with a successful track record. Going with guys who have never managed any team, or at best a team that didn't win anything, for 10 of the last 11 years hasn't worked for the Rockies, yet, and probably never will.

Amen, ESPN

September 10, 2003. On ESPN radio this morning in Denver, one of the commentators was seriously criticizing mistakes made by Rockies' management in the last few years. The other announcer then asked about Preston Wilson, and wondered whether it was a good move to bring the former Florida outfielder to Colorado. The first announcer then opined that, with the track record of the Rockies' bosses, he had to assume that any move that looked good was simply PURE LUCK.

The second announcer agreed.

Colorado Wins Again!

September 9, 2003. Yes, fans, the Colorado Rockies of the Western Division of the National League of Major League Baseball have emerged victorious once again! In offices all around Denver tomorrow morning, people will be saying "Did you hear? The Rockies won!" with a tone of surprise and delight in their voices. All is right with world once again, the sun is shining, the birds are singing and there is a general feeling that life will go on after all.

It has been a long, dark period in Rockies' history since that last win on Thursday, July 28th, 2003, itself an oasis in the middle of the desert of 13 losses, 5 before and 8 after.

Jason Jennings and Gregg Zaun are the newest conquering heroes in the environs surrounding the Mile High City on this day of days. Jennings pitched brilliantly against a Cardinals team that is desperate for wins. He only gave up a single score on 6 hits over 6 peaceful innings. Javier Lopez, Justin Speier, and Steve Reed completed the masterpiece allowing no further transgressions on the final 8-1 score.

Zaun, a veteran catcher brought in to hold Bobby Estalella's place while he recovers from injury, was last seen waving weakly at three straight Eric Gagne offerings in Coors field,  looking as if he was late for a date with a Playboy model. Tonight, the freshly goatee-less Zaun smacked a 3-run homerun to provide a 3-0 lead and ended up accounting for half of the Colorado output by adding an RBI double in a 2 for 3 day. He raised his batting average to .221 for the year.

Let's hope Rockies fans don't have to wait two weeks for another win.

Millwood Helps Braves

September 8, 2003. If Kevin "The Snake" Millwood was not trying to help the Braves win the game tonight, he certainly gave a great impression of someone who was. Staked to a 4-0 lead in the first, Millwood gradually let the Braves back into the game with a totally uncharacteristic pitching performance, including walks and perfectly timed fat pitches.

He certainly wasn't bothered by the smallest crowd in the history of Turner Field, 17,543, and he always seems to pitch well before and after his meltdowns against the Braves. He is now 0-3 with a 7.00 ERA against Atlanta, and 14-7 with an earned run average in the low 3's against the rest of the league. You do the math.

Just in case the Phillies get back in the race, Millwood will have another chance to lose to the Braves September 26-28 in Philadelphia.

Millwood's Last Chance

September 8, 2003. Since the Rockies have no game today, the Baseball Observer would like to take this opportunity to comment on the Wild Card race, which was oh, so relevant to Rox fans just a few short weeks ago. At the moment, the only teams with a realistic chance of claiming the Wild Card are Philadelphia, Florida, Los Angeles, Saint Louis, Chicago and Houston, though one of the last three will win the central division and not be eligible for the Wild Card. Chicago will probably be the division winner by virtue of their easier schedule and the fact that the Cardinals and Astros must play each other 6 more times, which also gives them a disadvantage in the Wild Card chase. The Dodgers are three games back and still have 7 each against Arizona and San Francisco, 4 each on the road. This makes the light-hitting Dodgers a prohibitive long shot, barring a complete collapse by the Phillies and the Marlins.

Florida has 6 games left with the Mets, 6 with the Phillies, and 7 with the Braves. Their records so far with those clubs are 7-6, 9-4, and 6-6, respectively. If they continue to win in the same proportions, they will win the Wild Card easily.

Philadelphia, besides the 6 with Florida have 3 games each with Pittsburgh and Cincinnati, and 7 with the Braves. So far, the Phils are 3-3 versus the Reds and 1-2 against the Pirates. It is reasonable to assume that the Phillies, who have dominated the Marlins in the past, will at least split their remaining games with Florida and match the Marlins-Mets outcome in their series with the Reds and Pirates. This would leave the Wild Card outcome squarely in the results of the two teams' games against the Atlanta Braves.

The Braves still have a "magic number" of 8 against the Phillies, and 7 versus the Marlins, so they still need to win to wrap up the pennant, though they are virtually guaranteed a playoff berth. They are a bit vulnerable at the present time, due to injuries, particularly that of their closer, John Smoltz.

This is where the Phillies have a major problem, whether they realize it or not. The Baseball Observer pointed out earlier in the season, after Kevin Millwood lost back-to-back starts against the Braves, that it appears that Millwood does not have the heart to beat his former teammates, to put it in the politest terms. The BO would hate to say that Millwood purposely lost those games, but his 6.75 ERA against Atlanta, contrasted with his 14-9 record and 3.63 ERA overall certainly leaves room for doubt. Add to that the fact that Kevin is a free agent after this year and has steadfastly refused to discuss a long term contract with the Phillies, which leads anyone to speculate that he is entertaining thoughts of returning to Atlanta or perhaps even has a more formal understanding with Braves management.

Millwood will be starting for Philadelphia tonight against Atlanta, and will probably start one of the games in the season-ending Phils-Braves series at Veteran's stadium, possibly with the Wild Card on the line. If he pitches well it will go a long way toward erasing doubts about his intentions and character. If he doesn't....

And how does all this relate to the Rockies? Well, thanks to their current losing streak, it doesn't. About the only intrigue left for Rockies fans is to see who emerges from the current scramble to find a scapegoat. The odds-on favorite at the moment is General Manager Dealin' Dan O'Dowd, though Clint Hurdle could go as well.

Recondite Rockies Swept at Home

September 7, 2003. In the bottom of the ninth inning, with two on, none out, the Rox trailing 6-2, and Eric Gagne pitching, Mark Sweeney struck out when the third base umpire, who obviously wasn't watching the same game, ruled Sweeney had not held up on a pitch in the dirt. Replays clearly showed the umpire was wrong. The next batter, temp catcher Greg Zaun waved half-heartedly at three pitches like he couldn't care less. Todd Helton then punched a soft liner directly to the center fielder with a look of resignation and relief that the game was over.

 That half inning summed up the second half of the 2003 season for the Colorado Rockies. They both started out with promise, which deflated as quickly as a kid's balloon punctured by a sharp needle. They started the ninth with a double by Juan Uribe followed by a full-count walk by Mark Bellhorn. They started the second half of the season rising to only 3 games out of the Wild Card. They finished the game with the pathetic performance described above, while they are finishing the season threatening to have the longest losing streak in their history (13 in 1993, they are currently at 8 and counting) and already eliminated from division contention. They are a magic number of 5 from being mathematically eliminated from the Wild Card race. Interestingly enough, their season's final slide seemed to start with an umpire's bad call, just like in today's game.

Today's loser was Jose Jimenez, who's record dropped to 1-8 after giving up 5 runs (4 earned) on 10 hits in 5 innings.

Rockies Lose Again

September 6, 2003. Darren Oliver didn't have it today, but Hurdle left him in anyway until the Rockies were behind 6-1, an insurmountable lead against the pitching-rich Dodgers, who prevailed 10-2. Colorado has now lost 7 in a row, including the first two of the of a three game home stand. A while ago it looked like the Rockies might have their best home record ever in 2003, but that goal is now out of reach. What is not out of the question, though, is the worst road record ever. The Rockies will have to win 6 of their last 9 home games just to tie their worst record, which occurred last year. When you consider that the Rockies have lost their last 10 road games, 2003 has great odds for being the worst year ever.

Rockies Lose to Dodgers in Denver

September 5, 2003. Friday night provided another crushing blow to the already fragile egos of Rockies fans. Not only did they lose to their bitter rival, but LA, the worst hitting team in baseball, pummeled Colorado pitching for 17 hits in overcoming a 7-1 Rockies lead and holding the home team scoreless for the last 6 innings, despite numerous opportunities. It was almost too painful to watch, even for the most jaded observers, including the Baseball Observer.
Denny Stark took the majority of the thrashing, giving up 6 runs on 12 hits over 5 innings, with rookie Corey Vance getting the blown save by allowing the tying run and veteran Steve Reed getting the loss.
It was the Rockies' 6th loss in a row, a season high.

Foul Funk Continues

September 3, 2003. The Rockies continued their "Frustration Tour" with another in a series of scream-inducing losses. This one was different, with the bats finally coming to life, only to be betrayed at the end when one of their most dependable strengths became a fatal failure.

Colorado actually came from behind for a change, turning a 4-1 deficit into a 6-5 lead on the strength of a homerun barrage by Todd Helton and Chris Stynes, who each hit one, and Jay Payton who smacked a pair of solo shots, his 23rd and 24th. But in the end, the relief pitching failed, and Larry Walker, he of the legendary golden arm, mis-fired as former Rockie Eric Young scored the winner from third. Over the years, Walker has thrown the runner out on similar plays 9 times out of ten when the game was in the balance.

In stark contrast to Jose Jimenez' effort of the day before, Jason Jennings stunk up Pac Bell Park on this day, giving up 6 runs in 6 innings on 10 hits and 2 walks. Still Javier Lopez, Aaron Cook, and Justin Speier managed to keep the Giants at bay until Brian Fuentes was called in to wrap the game up for them and deliver it on a silver platter.

It was the Rox tenth consecutive loss away from Denver.

400 Miles North, Same Result

September 2, 2003. The annual "Crash and Burn" period came a little late this year, but it's living up to all the previous years in its ferocity and longevity. The 2003 version has been particularly agonizing for the few tenacious individuals that fancy themselves "Rockies Fans", with its seemingly endless succession of gut-wrenching, last-second losses usually caused by some mis-play that seemed inconsequential at the time of its occurrence. Such was Tuesday's game, called "another dismal night for the slumping team" by FoxSports, was one more in the string, culminating in a 2-1 loss, the ninth straight on the road. The pitching was strong, with Jose Jimenez turning in 6 innings, yielding only 1 run on 5 hits. Javy Lopez and Steve Reed managed to keep the Giants from scoring on their watches, but Adam Bernero gave up one hit in his inning of work, a homerun that cost the game. Larry Walker accounted for the lone Colorado run with his 13th homer of the season.

California Sweeping

August 31, 2003. The Rockies suffered their eighth sweep of the year, seventh on the road, third in California, and second at the hands of the lighter-than-light hitting Los Angeles Dodgers, as they were shut out 3-0 in Los Angeles.

It was a fitting ending to the worst August in Colorado baseball history: 13 wins, 17 losses.

There was plenty of blame to go around in this one, but very little of it could be cast on starting pitcher Darren Oliver. He not only pitched a complete game four-hitter, but he was the only hitter with multiple hits, getting two of the Rocks' grand total of five. The rest of the team managed 3 hits, all singles, and two walks, as the bid a fond farewell to any chance of having a winning season in 2003.

Dodgers Crush Rocks, 5-0

August 30, 2003. Denny Stark had a no-hitter going until the sixth inning, when Dave Roberts led off with an infield single. Then, in what seems to be the personality of this year's team, he and the team fell completely apart. After Robert's hit, Stark walked three of the next four patters, then gave up two singles and exited in a 4-0 hole. The offense quit at the same time, managing only a single hit the rest of the way.

The Baseball Observer's comment: By now, Hurdle should be able to recognize the pattern and make a change before things get out of hand. When Stark walked the second guy and had the bases loaded with one out, he should have made the move - most of his middle relief guys are good-control, ground ball pitchers who may have gotten out of the inning without giving up a run, which would have fired up the offense and given the team a chance at a win.

La La Loss, 6-4

August 29, 2003. Hurdle was obviously conceding this one to Kevin Brown and the Dodgers, giving a rookie pitcher his first major league start of the season against the Dodger ace, not to mention the patchwork lineup. But the word didn't filter down to Preston Wilson and Jay Payton who are still playing like they are in a pennant race. Wilson nearly ran out of shoes trying to make a diving catch in center field, that eventually resulted in a double. The effort was outstanding, in spite of the results. Payton, on the other hand, hit two two-run home runs, knocking in all of the Rockies' scores, against one of the top pitchers in Baseball. 

Rockies Finally Beat Giants, 6-1

August 28, 2003. Jason Jennings: 7 innings, 6 hits, 1 run, 10 strikeouts. Can you say dominating?

Preston Wilson, 1 for 2, 32nd homerun (a grand slam), 5 RBI (giving him 126 for the season). Can you say career year? How about MVP?

Well, anyway, the Rockies won at home after losing 5 in a row.

Lowest

August 27, 2003. The Rockies have now lost 5 in a row at home! They have also fallen 7 games below .500 for the low water point of 2003. But at least there was some sign of hope in this one, because after 7 innings of malaise, Colorado crawled off the mat, scored 4 runs, and had the tying and winning runs on base for the league's leading pinch hitter, Greg Norton. Norton struck out, of course, but at least they came close for a change.

To get the 4 in the 6-4 losing equation, Chris Stynes drove in two in ninth with a pinch hit single, and Jay Payton drove in a pair with a solo homerun in the eighth and an RBI single in the ninth.

Jose Jimenez started for the Rockies and lowered his record to 1-7 by giving up 5 runs in 5 innings on 8 hits. On the plus side, he did strike out 4 with no walks.

Once again, ex-Rockies knocked in at least half of the Giant's runs, with Jeffrey "Hammer" Hammonds plating 2 with a homerun that scored former Rockie Eric "E.Y." Young, and Andres "Big Cat" Galarraga cashing in one with a base hit.

Low, Lower...

August 26, 2003. It was a night of lows for the Rockies. They fell to 6 games below .500 for the first time in 2003. The lost their fourth in a row at home for the first time this year.

They almost lost their league record of consecutive home games scoring at least one run, but were saved by an error on a Giant's outfielder, dropping Todd Helton's routine fly ball that allowed Juan Uribe to score from second. Darren Oliver pitched well for the Rockies, giving up 3 runs on 6 hits in 6 innings. Steve Reed, Aaron Cook, and Brian Fuentes finished up with
a scoreless inning each. Two of the three Giant runs were knocked in by ex-Rockies Andres
"Big Cat" Galarraga and Neifi "Squirrel" Perez.

More Ex-Rockies Coming to Town

August 26, 2003. "The Squirrel", "The Big Cat", "E.Y.", and "The Hammer" will be back tonight. We refer, of course, to Neifi Perez, Andres Galarraga, Eric Young, and Jeffrey Hammonds, former Colorado stars now toiling on behalf of the playoff-bound San Francisco Giants.

 Galarraga, in particular will always be near and dear to the hearts of all Rockies fans, who will remember his shining light in a field of mediocrity in the inaugural season, hitting at an almost unbelievable .370 clip to win the batting championship. He continued to be the rock that anchored the best Rockies teams ever, setting standards in both the field, where he remains one of the finest glove men ever at first base, and at the plate, where he averaged over 34 homeruns and 115 RBI per year. Replacing him with Todd Helton may be the only decision made by Don Baylor and the management team that actually turned out positively. Still, Rockies fans were very unhappy when the team let the Cat go without giving him the respect he was due for his contributions, and sending him off that way contributed heavily to the annual attendance slide.

 Eric Young has great sentimental value to Colorado Fans, also in large part due to that magical first season at Mile High Stadium. "E.Y." was the first Rockies player to hit a homerun in Denver, and then went the rest of the season without hitting another one until the last game, when he hit two more. When the baseball fans in Mile High Stadium gave someone an ovation, the noise levels reached injurious proportions - “E.Y.” was responsible for a lot of hearing damage in 1993, with his fast and furious style of play.

 Jeffrey “The Hammer” Hammonds played only one year in Denver, 2000, but it was a great one, hitting .335 with 20 homeruns and 106 RBI, a .924 OPS, and 14 stolen bases. Since then, he has not hit above .257. He was a fan favorite because of his aggressive style of play.

 Neifi “The Squirrel” Perez, on the other hand was not well-liked from the beginning. In order to get to Denver, he demanded that the Rockies elevate him from the Colorado Springs AAA farm club or he would give up baseball and go back home to the Dominican Republic. Surprisingly, the Rockies complied and started playing him in place of the popular Walt Weiss. “The Squirrel” was capable of spectacular play at shortstop, but couldn’t keep his head in the game and frequently made mental errors such as not covering the bag, covering the wrong bag, colliding with other infielders because he forgot who was covering the bag, being out of position for cutoffs, etc. Fortunately for Neifi, most fans (and the official scorer) don’t notice those kinds of mistakes, so he got away with a lot of them. He also behaved peculiarly when batting, particularly his constant habit of attempting to bunt when it was not called for, and forgetting the count as well as missing signs. For almost an entire season he fancied himself a home run hitter and tried to hit one with every swing of the bat, resulting in hundreds of short pop-ups. But his final error occurred when he told the Rockies he would not agree to the long-term contract they (unbelievably) offered him, because he wanted A-Rod type money. The Rockies signed him to a one-year deal and traded him to Kansas City. Since then, he has called the Rockies’ management liars on numerous occasions.

 Anyway, with the exception of “The Squirrel” who should get the Mike Hampton treatment, it will be great to see these guys play in Denver again. And it will be great to know that “E.Y.”, “The Hammer”, and “The Big Cat” will be playing in the postseason and possibly the World Series. They deserve it.

Hurdle, Rockies Lay Down Again

August 24, 2003. If anyone wanted further proof that the Rockies have decided to take the rest of the year off, those persons needed only to attend the latest debacle at the baseball park at 19th and Blake in Denver, Colorado, a 12-6 defeat at the hands of the Atlanta Braves. Home town fans were treated to a sight they almost never saw in the first 9 and a half years of the Rockies existence - a team that gives up in the face of the slightest adversity. In the past, the teams had horrible managers, a front office that knew nothing about baseball, a GM who kept breaking up teams just as they started to jell, and myriad other problems -  yet, there was one constant - no lead was safe until the final out was made; the Rockies played hard until the end of the game no matter what the score, at home or on the road.

The 2003 version of the Rockies are a completely different animal. If the slightest cloud appears on their horizon, they fall completely apart. A simple act like going on the road is too much for these guys - they've given up before the first ball is thrown, as evidenced by the worst road record ever. At home, losing a one run lead in the second inning is enough for them to throw in the towel. The good news for Denver fans is that they kept it sort of interesting this year, for a few weeks closer to when the real seasons begin: football and hockey.

Today's game started on a positive note, with a 1-0 lead when shortstop Pablo Ozuna was hit by a pitch, stole second, and scored on Helton's single - the type of manufactured run they could have used yesterday. In the top of the second, starter Denny Stark loaded the bases with one out, but was on the brink of escaping the jam with a 1-2-3 double play, when catcher Mandy Romero threw the ball into the base runner's back, allowing a run to score. Now, you might be asking yourself, who are Ozuna and Romero, and why are they playing when the Rockies need to win to stay in the Wild Card race? Easy, they've given up.

Anyway, it was all down hill from there, with the Braves getting 3 in the 3rd. 3 in the 4th, and two in the 6th to take a 9 to 1 lead. In the past, there was always hope for a comeback at Coors Field, but Hurdle removed that threat by taking out both Todd Helton and Preston Wilson. The Rockies did manage to score another 5 runs without their top RBI guys, once the Braves removed their starter, and replaced him with mediocre middle relievers.

Vinnie Castilla provided the high point in his 400th game at Coors, by hitting a homerun and reminding long-time Rockies' fans what could have been.

Rockies Blow Another One

August 23, 2003. Having apparently given up on this season, Clint Hurdle and the Rockies' management inexplicably jeopardized the future and any chance of fan loyalty as well with a shameful display of ineptitude, ignorance, and just plain stupidity. In the game, the Rockies out-hit the Braves 12 to 7 and dominated them thoroughly for 8 of the 9 innings. In the crucial fifth inning, Hurdle sent Chin-Hui Tsao back out to pitch, even though he had "tweaked" his hamstring running the bases in the fourth inning. The result, 5 runs (final score 5-4) and the possibility of driving a stake through the heart of the career of one of the brightest prospects in Colorado history. Shades of (too many young pitchers to mention) and Don Baylor's "burn the bridges" management style, Batman!

Hurdle never made an aggressive move of any kind to get a run to tie the game as the Rockies ho-hummed their way to defeat with 12 runners left on base with no steal attempts, no sacrifices or hit-and-run plays. In the ninth, they came out swinging, obviously ignorant of the fact that the greatest, perhaps only, weakness of Braves' closer John Smoltz is inconsistent control, evidenced by the fact that he only threw one called strike in the ninth.

After the game, Rockies CEO and owner Charles Monfort was seen in the Braves clubhouse kissing Braves starter Mike Hampton. Now that's competition!

Stunned! Braves Win

August 22, 2003. Greg Maddux, Chipper Jones, and all those other Braves we love to hate came to town and crushed the Rockies tonight, to the happiness of the crowd, which consisted mostly of Atlanta fans, as usual. Whenever the Braves (or the Cubs) come to town, their fans in attendance outnumber the Rockies', making it seem like a home game to the visitors, which may explain why they always seem to win in Denver. Hey, maybe that is the solution to the Rockies' problems on the road - they just need to haul 15 or 20 thousand fans along with them! It's worth a try anyway.

Tonight's score was 9-3, with the Braves out-hitting the Rox 16 to 4. Starter Jason Jennings was simply terrible, giving up 8 runs on 12 hits, 2 of which were homeruns, in 6 innings. Charles Johnson accounted for all three of the Rockies' runs, with a homerun after a Larry Walker single in the 2nd, and with a double play with the bases loaded and none out in the 4th.

After the game, several Braves players said they became fired up after the home plate umpire threw out Gary Sheffield and Manager Bobby Cox for arguing balls and strikes in the first inning. As if they needed any extra motivation.

More Ex-Rockies News

August 22, 2003. Aside from the depressing news that former Colorado players Darren Bragg, Vinnie Castilla, and Henry Blanco each got two hits in Braves uniforms, former Rox pitcher Mike DeJean was traded by the Milwaukee Brewers to the St. Louis Cardinals for two players to be named later.

Sweet Sweep

August 21, 2003. It was touch and go there for a few minutes, but Todd Helton fixed the situation by leading off the bottom of the ninth with an opposite field homerun, sweeping the Rockies to a three-game victory parade over the stunned Florida Marlins. Jose Jimenez started and showed everyone why it was a poor decision to make him a closer in the first place by giving up only a single tally in 6 strong innings. While a starter at St. Louis in 1998, Jose pitched a no-hitter, yet for some reason the Rockies thought he would be a better relief pitcher - guess again.

Rockies Trounce Fish Again

August 20, 2003. Cory Vance got  his first major league win when he was pressed into service with two outs in the 1st inning after starter Darren Oliver suffered a bruised foot on a line drive. The 24 year-old lefty, pitching in only his 3rd big league game and first of 2003, gave up only 1 run on 4 hits in 5 and a third innings as the team rolled to a 9-3 win, moving within 8 games of the Wild Card lead.

Preston Wilson, Chris Stynes, and Ronnie Belliard each drove in two runs for the home team, with Wilson's giving him a Major League leading total of 119.

New Rockies and Ex-Rockies Moving

August 20, 2003. Most of the current Rockies’ players were new faces to Colorado fans in April, yet some of them have moved on already. Mark Sweeney, Scott Elarton and Brent Butler were consigned to the minor league team in Colorado Springs, never to return.

Last month, the Rockies elevated hot prospects Rene Reyes and Garret Atkins from their AAA team to the south. Reyes, an outfielder , has shown a hot bat, tempered by ham-handed, fuzzy-headed outfield play. Atkins has roamed the hot corner looking slightly confused, with a dazed-looking smile frozen on his face. He has developed the curious habit of celebrating when he fields a groundball by throwing it past the first baseman into the stands. Prized for his hitting prowess, he is currently batting a robust .172. Between the two of them, they have put a serious dent in the playoff hopes of Rockies fans. Both of them should have been left in the minors until September. It doesn’t take a genius to see that Sweeney and Butler would have been a lot more help than these guys.

Now, one of the newest Rockies, Tony Womack, is gone, traded to the Chicago Cubs for relief pitcher Emmanuel Ramires. Catcher Bobby Estalella went on the DL, to be replaced by Mandy Romero, a 36-year old switch-hitting catcher who was playing in Colorado Springs, and is returning to the Major Leagues for the first time since 1998. Also from the Springs are Pablo Ozuna and Cory Vance, a second baseman and pitcher, respectively. Pitcher Shawn Chacon went on the disabled list with tendonitis.

Around the league, a bunch of ex-Rockies are moving around:

Jeff Cirillo has finally returned to the Seattle Mariners after a stint on the DL, followed by a rehab assignment.

Cirillo's replacement at third base in Denver, Todd Zeile, was released by the New York Yankees and immediately signed by the Montreal Expos.

The Yankees sent pitcher Gabe White to the minors on a rehabilitation assignment.

Milwaukee traded former Rockies’ star and perennial fan favorite Eric Young to the San Francisco for a pitcher.

Former Rockies centerfielder Tom Goodwin has sufficiently recovered from a hamstring strain to return to active duty with the Chicago Cubs.

 

What a Difference a Day (and 1,500 miles) Makes

August 19, 2003. On Monday, the Rockies’ regulars were being no-hit and their pitchers pummeled, while the victorious Florida Marlins were bragging that they had the best pitching staff in Baseball and were going to be a force in the playoffs.

On Tuesday, the Rockies belted out 13 hits, including 3 doubles and 2 homeruns (Walker and Payton), while holding the Marlins to just 6 hits in a 10-2 triumph in Denver.

Denny Stark improved his record to 2-1 with the win, going 7 innings, allowing only 1 earned run on 4 hits. He fanned 4 and walked one. Javier Lopez and Justin Speier each pitched one of the remaining innings, with Lopez giving up a run on two hits, while Speier retired all 3 of the batters he faced in the ninth. Hitting heroes for Colorado were Jay Payton, who knocked in 3 runs, and Larry Walker and Charles Johnson, who batted in 2 apiece.

With the victory, the Rockies moved within 9 games of Wild Card leader Philadelphia, who lost to the Milwaukee Brewers. The Marlins remained a half game behind the Phillies with the loss.

Mets Complete Foretold Sweep

August 18, 2003. The Baseball Observer left a lot to be desired when it came to being observant yesterday, as he referred to Sunday's game as the last in the series between the Rockies and the Mets. He also mentioned that the Mets had swept the Rockies, which proved to be more prophetic than accurate. In fact, as any depressed Rockies fan knows by now, there was one more game, played this afternoon, before the New York fans could bring out their brooms and declare a sweep over the mighty Rockies from Denver.

And sweep they did, as the Mets added insult to injury by dumping on the Rox, 8-0. Journeyman veteran Steve Trachsel was the main villain, throwing a complete game, one-hit shutout at the befuddled and apathetic Rocky Mountain boys.
Ironically, the one hit was a double by Rockies' starting pitcher Chin-Hui Tsao, who hit a liner that would normally have been fielded easily by the centerfielder, except that New York's center field apparently thought he was playing in a Little League game, so he was playing right behind second base. Actually, centerfielder Timo Perez explained that he was "playing in" simply because the pitcher was up, even though he had no scouting information indicating whether or not Tsao was a good hitter. To that, the Baseball Observer says "Brilliant move, clown, you cost your pitcher and your team a no-hitter".

Also, ironically, no Met pitcher has ever pitched a no-hitter in the history of the team. Trachsel has now come the closest, throwing two one-hitters this year. He also had two hits, or twice as many as the Rockies.

On the bright side, Rockies rookie Garret Atkins made a throwing error in the 6th inning that allowed two runs to score, so they all weren't earned. Or at least you wouldn't think so, but the box scores at ESPN and FoxSports show all eight runs earned. The situation was this: 2 outs, bases loaded, a sure out ground ball was hit to Atkins, who threw the ball into right field trying to force the runner at second base, allowing two runners to score. The next batter singled another run in. According to the rule book, since the force at second should have been the third out, all subsequent runs are unearned. But apparently, there is some exception for teams playing the Rockies or games played in New York on Monday afternoons in August, of which Observer is unaware.

The good news, such as it is, is that the Marlins and Phillies didn't play, so the Rockies only lost half a game in the Wild Card standings and are only 10 games behind.

Bye Bye Big Apple

August 17, 2003. Todd Helton had a great day, getting 3 hits in 4 at bats. In the first, he lined to third on a 3-2, but it was the last time the Mets would get him out on Sunday. In the fourth, again on a 3-2 count, he singled to center. In the sixth, he walked on a 3-1 count, advanced to second on a wild pitch, and scored on Rene Reyes' double. In the eighth inning, with a 1-2 count, he smacked a ringing double off a curveball less than 3 inches off the ground. He appeared to be resigned to swinging at anything he could reach after the home plate umpire called a strike on a pitch inside that looked as if it was at least 6 inches off the plate. He scored for the second time in the game shortly thereafter on Preston Wilson's double. In the ninth, again on a 1-2 count, he smacked an RBI single to right to knock in his 101st run of the season and the last Colorado run in 6-4 loss and series sweep by the Mets.

Nightmare in New York

August 16, 2003. The evening began with promise. The Rockies' players had a normal night's sleep with no distractions, like a power outage or fishing on the Hudson River to deter them from getting their rest so they could play their best. The starting pitcher was Shawn Chacon, the ace of the staff, after all, and they were playing one of the worst teams in baseball, the hapless New York Mets. Besides, former Rockies manager Don Baylor is a coach for the Mets, which practically guarantees a last place finish.

With all those omens working for them, things continued to go well for a while, as they scored a run on a Preston Wilson groundout in the first inning to take a 1-0 lead.

The situation still didn't look too bad when the Mets scored two in the bottom of the first to take the 2-1 lead.

The Rox failed to score in the top of the second, even though the first hitter, Jay Payton, doubled, and things began to look a little bleak.

Then, in the bottom of the second, the whole world fell apart. It was walk, sacrifice, walk, building slowly. Then, it was RBI double, intentional walk to Piazza, two-run single, RBI single and Chacon left for the showers to be replaced by Jose Jimenez, who promptly surrendered a two-run double before finally getting the last two outs on grounders.

Eight to one Mets after two!

At Coors field that would be nothing, but on the road, the Rockies don't get eight runs in four games, so a comeback looked unlikely.

The daily "Hideous Umpire Call" came in the third inning when Ronnie Belliard fouled a ball off his instep so hard that he fell down in pain. The home plate umpire, Tim McClelland, thought there was nothing unusual about a batter taking a mighty swing, and falling to the ground yelping in pain while the ball dribbled about fifteen feet in front of the plate, so he ruled it was a fair ball while the Mets threw out Belliard, who was hopping around in circles around home plate. Hurdle and Belliard protested to no avail, as usual. Replays clearly showed the ball hitting Belliard's foot.

In the fourth, Larry Walker crushed a long homerun off the scoreboard, but the Mets answered with a run in the bottom of the inning to keep the margin at 7, 9-2.

In the fifth inning, Jose Jimenez rocketed a one-out single between third and short, followed an out later by a booming triple by Belliard to plate one run. Next Helton fouled a pitch off his Knee and was obviously in pain as he doubled Ronnie home, for his 100th RBI of 2003, but was then quickly replaced by Hurdle so the injury could be treated.

The margin was now 5, 9-4, but the Mets got another run in the bottom of the 6th to run the lead to 10-4 (over and out).

After Walker got a base on balls in the top of the sixth, 9 straight Rockies were retired by Mets relievers. Meanwhile, in the bottom of the seventh, the Mets scored 3 more runs to make the final score 13-4.

Jay Payton finally broke up the consecutive out streak by singling to center in the top of the ninth. The next 3 batters reverted to form, however, and went down in order.

Shawn Chacon took the loss, the eighth of the season, to go with 11 wins. He also maintained his career record of having never won a game in the Major Leagues in August or September.

The loss put the Rockies at 60 wins, 63 losses, 3 under .500 for the first time since June 1st. Philadelphia beat the Cardinals 5-4, so the Rockies are now 8 and a half games behind the Phils in the Wild Card race.

Bad News Rockies

August 15, 2003. The bad news is that the Rockies' power outage continues with no end in sight, while North America's more tangible interruption is nearly a memory. The good news for Colorado season ticket holders is that they probably won't have to shell out any extra cash for playoff tickets this year.

Click for more.

Ex-Rockies Rocking
August 14, 2003. The Rockies had an off day today, but ex-Rockies were playing all over.
Click for more.

Coup de gras in Montreal?

August 13, 2003. The Montreal Expos and the Rockies are in about the same boat as far as chances to make the playoffs go. Both teams are on the verge of dropping out of the race with the next loss or two. The big difference appears to be the lengths to which Montreal is willing to go to remain in contention for the Wild Card. Click for more.

Norton Delivers Winning Blow in 11th

August 12, 2003. Greg Norton provided the knockout with his three-run homerun in the 11th inning off Expos' closer Rocky Biddle to forge a 6-3 lead, but it was almost a total team effort that got Colorado to that point. Click for more.

Bad Things Come in Threes - Rox Lose 3rd in a Row

August 11, 2003. It was another case of missed opportunities on offense and one big pitching mistake for the reeling Rockies. As usual, they have trouble beating mediocre teams’ 4th and 5th starting pitchers. This time it was the "Montreal" Expos, a team in danger of falling below .500 for the first time this season after finishing a 1 and 5 road trip, and their fifth starter, Zach Day, who beat the Rockies 3-1 in Montreal. Click for more..

Pirates Beat Rockies Again

August 10, 2003. Once again, the day started out promising for the Rockies and their fans. Click for more.

Pirates Turn the Tables With 10-4 Win

August 9, 2003. Things looked promising early in the game. The weather outlook was hot, but clear. Darren Oliver was pitching, and he hadn't lost a single game in 8 starts in Denver. The Rockies had won 3 in a row. For the first three innings of Saturday night's game, events followed the script as the home team was cruising 2-0. Then in the third, Oliver had a bad inning, giving up 4 runs, but the Rockies came right back on a solo homerun by Jay Payton to trail by only a run at 4-3 after 5 innings. But in the sixth inning, everything fell to pieces as the Pirates sent eleven batters up and five crossed the plate, the last two on a bases-loaded walk and a hit batter by Steve Reed, though the runs were charged to Oliver for a total of 9 for his worst outing of the season. That made the score 9-3 and it was all over but the shouting. The Pirates got a pinch-hit homerun in the 7th and Colorado's catcher Charles Johnson hit one out in the eighth to account for the final score. The win gave the Pirates the season series over the Rox, as they now lead 5 games to 3 with only one to play. The Rockies also dropped to 5 and a half games back in the Wild Card race as the co-leaders Florida and Philadelphia both won.

Pirates Fall Big Again

August 8, 2003. The Rockies were convinced last week in Pittsburgh that they were a far better team than the turmoil-torn Pirates, yet they lost the first two games of the three-game series. The way they lost the second game - on a terrible call by umpire Tom Welke, proved to be the final straw for the Rockies who are now on a campaign to maul the Pirates in all of their remaining games, starting with the 16-4 drubbing in Pittsburgh and continuing with last night's 13-6 massacre.

Friday night’s game was a strange event from the beginning, with each team scoring four runs in the first inning, then sitting down for over 2 hours for a rain delay from a storm that seemed only interested in raining on the ballpark, while the surrounding areas got nary a drop. Even before that, the first pitch was thrown out by none other than “Mister Cub”, Ernie Banks (what was he doing here?), rather than the usual car dealer or local company middle manager, possibly because it was the 800th game in Rockies history?

Anyway, neither of the starting pitchers thought the night was special, apparently, as Colorado’s Jason Jennings started out the game by walking the first batter on four pitches, then allowing the next 7 batters to hit the ball hard, yielding a homerun, two singles, a fielders choice and two long flies to the outfield for 4 runs. Brian Meadows of the Pirates fared little better (though he was also hurt by sloppy defense) as an error, a wild pitch, 4 singles, two ground outs and a strikeout left the score tied at 4.

Then the rains came at about 7:45 PM, and play didn’t resume until just before 10 PM, MDT. Both starting pitchers were done for the night, replaced by strange choices, indeed. Rockies’ Manager Clint Hurdle went with deposed closer Jose Jimenez, who was working on a string of 12 consecutive losses and would have been traded by now if any other team had wanted to pay him. Pirates’ skipper Lloyd McClendon went with Pat Mahomes, who had just been called up from AAA Nashville. Jimenez pitched surprisingly well, going 4 innings and only giving up 2 runs on 4 hits to get the win. Mahomes, on the other hand was rocked by a 3-run Preston Wilson homer and a two run single by Ronnie Belliard to take the loss. Wilson’s homerun was his 29th, and the 3 RBI gave him the league lead at 112.

The Pirates closed to 9-6 on an RBI groundout by former Rockie Jose Hernandez in the 5th, but Colorado put it away with 3 runs in the 7th and one in the 8th. The game ended at the stroke of midnight (almost). The Rockies have now won 3 in row.

Rockies Take Series from Phillies With 4-3 Win

August 7, 2003. Homeruns by Todd Helton and Chris Stynes, and singles by Preston Wilson and Larry Walker accounted for 4 runs off Phil's temporary ace Kevin Millwood. It was barely enough as the Rockies eked out the one-run victory to win the home series 2 games to 1. The Phillies won the season series, sweeping the Rockies in Philadelphia for a 4 games to 2 advantage for 2003. Javier Lopez got the victory in relief, with Justin Speier getting the save. Denny Stark started and gave up all 3 Philly runs on 7 hits over 5 and a third innings.

Hurdle, O'Dowd Show Lack of Courage, Honesty

August 6, 2003. Rockies Management let down their team and their fans, not to mention baseball in general when they decided to take the coward's way out and not file a complaint with the office of the commissioner about the hideously bad call by umpire Tom Welke, that cost the Rockies at least a tie in Pittsburgh.

Worse yet, they lied about their reasons. According to the Denver Post, Rockies' General Manager Dan O'Dowd said he decided not to file a complaint because: "He handled it as classy and as professional as you could ever expect. He accepted responsibility, and what more can you ask? We all make mistakes."

The problem is, Welke did not accept responsibility. According to the AP article, he said the replays were bad, inferring that they were inconclusive, which is untrue. Then, he only said it was unfortunate that umpires don't get a second chance. It was certainly not classy; classy would have been saying "I blew it, I don't know what I was thinking. He was obviously safe, I apologize to the Rockies and their fans for my mistake." Welke didn't do anything close to that, in fact he attempted to do the opposite, deflecting the fault everywhere but on himself. He didn't even apologize.

The players who spoke after the incident were much more accurate in their appraisals of the play. One said a blind country singer could have made the correct call, while another said he could have seen the runner was safe from his hotel room. But the most accurate was Jason Jennings, who opined that the umpire had decided that any ball hit on the ground was a double-play so they could get on with the fireworks display.

What should have happened? The Rockies should have filed a complaint and the Commissioner should have ordered that, if the game would have made a difference in the playoffs, it would have been played over from the point of the bad call, with the game tied and Payton safe at first. That would have maintained the fairness and integrity of the game. This way, all we can be sure of is that the Rockies management are more interested in kissing up to the umpires and league than they are in winning games and pleasing their fans.

NOTE: We will attempt to find out when Tim Welke will be visiting Denver so that the fans can give him the reception he so richly deserves.

Rockies Beat Phils 5-1 on Helton Homer

August 6, 2003. Phillies starter Brandon Duckworth made one big mistake, a fat 3-2 pitch to Todd Helton that was subsequently deposited on the other side of the center field fence.

Rocks Suffer Rare Loss at Home, 7-2

August 5, 2003. Philly phenom Brett Myers baffled the Rockies for seven innings and Coloradans Turk Wendell and Terry Adams closed it out as Shawn Chacon lost at home for only the second time this year. Bobby Abreu and Ricky Ledee homered for the visitors.

Angry Payton, Rockies Pummel Pirates 16-4

August 3, 2003. An angry and determined Rockies team played like champions for once, decimating the Pirates in Pittsburgh.

Welke Admits He "Probably" Blew Call; Doesn't Care

August 3, 2003. Tom Welke, the umpire who has now revealed his lack of character and integrity, not to mention honesty, claimed the replays where not very good (when in fact they very clearly showed the runner was safe, with his foot on the base while the ball was several feet from the first baseman's glove). "It was a tough night sleeping last night," the well-rested-appearing crew chief claimed - he must have meant for the Rockies, who got screwed by his call that was obviously made as soon as Payton hit the ground ball. Instead of keeping his mouth shut and sparing everyone additional anguish Welke is out there talking to every reporter within earshot, including ESPN, CBS Sports, etc.

Bad News Rockies

August 15, 2003. The bad news is that the Rockies' power outage continues with no end in sight, while North America's more tangible interruption is nearly a memory. The good news for Colorado season ticket holders is that they probably won't have to shell out any extra cash for playoff tickets this year.

While the Denver-based 'ballers are not mathematically eliminated yet, days like Friday leave very little hope for fans, as the odds grow taller with the team 7 and a half games behind the Phillies with only 38 left to play. If they can't win 7 or 8 of the next ten, the season is over, barring the total collapse of all of the teams in front of them in the standings.

Tom Glavine and the woeful New York Mets are still a better team than the "Road Rockies", who continue to be the worst team in baseball when outside of Colorado. Darren Oliver and his teammates couldn't manage a single run with an offense that consisted of 4 hits, 4 walks, and a Mets' error. Ronnie Belliard and Rookie Rene Reyes each had two hits to account for the total offense, with Reyes' double the only extra base hit. Chris Stynes and Charles Johnson each left 4 runners stranded, but there was plenty of blame to go around as the rest of the team left 10 runners on base.

Darren Oliver started and pitched well enough to win, giving up only 3 runs in 5 and a third innings. Steve Reed and Aaron Cook each gave up a run in relief.

Ex-Rockies Rocking
August 14, 2003. The Rockies had an off day today, but ex-Rockies were playing all over.

Wednesday, August 13, 2003

Several former Rockies, some still being paid by Colorado, had big days Wednesday, including:

Mike Hampton, now on the Braves, raised his record to 10-5 after pitching 8 innings against San Diego, giving up 1 run on only 3 hits.
Another ex-Rockie, Kent Mercker, finished up for the Braves with a 1 hit scoreless ninth. Ex-Rox third baseman Vinnie Castilla and outfielder Darren Bragg played, Bragg as a defensive replacement, and Vinnie as the starter, going 1-4 with a homerun, his 19th. In the same game, ex-Rockies pitcher Joe Roa pitched three scoreless innings in relief for San Diego and catcher Gary Bennet went 0 for 1 as a pinch hitter.

Julian Tavarez got the win while pitching 3 innings for Pittsburgh, giving up one run on 3 hits. Ex-Rockie Jose Hernandez started at third for the Bucs and went 0-4, adding one more to his Major League-leading strikeout total.

Juan Pierre got 2 hits in 5 at bats with the Florida Marlins to raise his average to .298. He also stole his Major League-leading 56th base. Former Colorado player Todd Hollingsworth pinch hit in the tenth inning and flied out.

Brooks Kieschnick, who played outfield for the Rockies, pitched two scoreless innings for the Milwaukee Brewers, and Eric Young (EY), also a Brewer, went 1 for 4 with an RBI. John Vander Wall went 1 for 4 for the Brewers.

Three ex-Rox saw action for the San Francisco Giants Wednesday, Andres Galarraga, Neifi "The Squirrel" Perez, and Jeffrey Hammonds. The "Big Cat" started at first and was hitless in four at bats. "The Squirrel" started at second and was 1 for 3. Hammonds was 1 for 2 in a pinch hit-center fielder role.

Craig Counsell and Quinton McCracken represented former Rockies for the Arizona Diamondbacks. "Q" was 1 for 1 with a pinch hit double, while Craig was a defensive insertion at 3rd base.

Thursday, August 14, 2003:
Former Rockies catcher-now Padre Gary Bennet started and went 2 for 4 with a double and a run scored. Ex-Rox pitcher Luther Hackman threw an inning and two-thirds in relief, giving up 1 earned run on 2 hits and a walk.

Vinnie Castilla got 1 in 4 at bats for the Atlanta Braves.

Craig Counsell and Quinton McCracken both played for Arizona. Craig started at third base and later moved over to first, finishing the day at 1 hit for three at bats including a walk and his 19th RBI. Quinton pinch hit in the eighth and fouled out.

Brad Ausmus is the starting catcher for the Houston Astros and was 0-2 yesterday, but did get two walks.

Dave Veres is now pitching for the Chicago Cubs in middle relief. Yesterday, he pitched 1 and a third innings, retiring all four batters he faced, one by strikeout.

Juan Pierre was 1 for 4 for the Marlins.

Jose Hernandez hit a double and a sacrifice fly for a 1 for three day with three RBI. Not only did Jose knock in all three runs for the Pirates, who lost 4-3 to the Cardinals, he didn't strike out once, unusual for the Major League leader in K's.

Sandy Alomar Jr., former Rockies catcher and son of Rox Third Base Coach Sandy Alomar Sr., was a defensive replacement in the late innings for the White Sox.

Chone Figgins, who played in the Rockies minor league system, started at second base for the World Champion Anaheim Angels yesterday, getting two hits in 5 at bats, with an RBI, a run and his 4th stolen base of the season.

Jack Cust, former Colorado outfielder, was 0 for 1 as a pinch-hitter for the Baltimore Orioles.

Gabe Kapler walked as a pinch-hitter, than played center field and singled to go 1 for 1 with a run scored for Boston.

Former Rockies minor league prospects Jodie Gerut and Josh Bard started for the Cleveland Indians, with left fielder Gerut going 0 for 5 and catcher Bard, a Colorado high school product, going 1 for 3 with an RBI.

Coup de gras in Montreal?

August 13, 2003. The Montreal Expos and the Rockies are in about the same boat as far as chances to make the playoffs go. Both teams are on the verge of dropping out of the race with the next loss or two. The big difference appears to be the lengths to which Montreal is willing to go to remain in contention for the Wild Card.

Wednesday night, just when it appeared the Rockies were about to take command of the game, the desperate Expos did the only thing they could do - they turned the lights off. Then, under the guise of a mysterious power failure, they cooled off the Colorado hitters and pitchers by making them sit in the dark for 76 minutes. The strategy appeared to work because, before the lights went out, Preston Wilson led off the inning by hitting a homerun on the first pitch, followed by Larry Walker, who doubled. The count was two and two on Jay Payton when the stadium went dark.

When the lights came back on, Payton was able to single Walker to third, but after that, the Rockies were only able to score another run due to the courtesy of Expos pitcher Javier Vazquez who walked Charles Johnson and Rockies pitcher Jason Stark to plate the second run of the inning and give the Colorado team the 2-0 lead. Once again, for the third time in two weeks, the Rockies were cheated out of a run when home plate umpire Ron Kulpa called Payton out at home when he tried to score on Tony Womack’s long fly to center field. Replays clearly showed that Payton was safe, as usual. The Baseball Observer suspects that the umpires were afraid the lights would go out again if the Expos didn’t win, and nobody wants to spend an extra night in Montreal.

The Expos got one of those runs back in the bottom of the third as guys with a “V” in their name continued to torment the Rockies. In this case, pitcher Vazquez led off the inning with a single, advanced to second and then third on groundouts, and came home on an RBI single by Jose Vidro.

The Canadian/Puerto Rican team took the lead in the bottom of the fourth on an RBI double by Ron Calloway, who was then cashed in by the pitcher Vazquez’ triple. It was the pitcher’s second career triple, the last coming in 1998.

In the fifth, the Rockies took the lead back when Todd Helton hit a homerun with Womack, who had reached on a fielder’s choice, on second base.

But, in the sixth inning, the Expos delivered the coup-de-gras, as they probably say in Montreal. The trouble began when Calloway hit a line drive to left fielder Payton, who dropped it. Then first baseman Edwards Guzman singled. Brian Schneider than stepped up to the plate and attempted to bunt. The Rockies’ pitcher, Denny Stark, threw a nice big, fat gopher ball to Schneider on the next pitch, erroneously figuring he would try to bunt again. Instead, he hit a three-run homer. It was a nice learning experience for Stark (i.e., Never assume!), but it came at a bad time for the team, to say the least.

Colorado got one back in the seventh when Ronnie Belliard singled in Charles Johnson, who had doubled. After that, the Rockies seemed to give up, quickly striking or grounding out, except for one little spark in the eighth when Walker led off with a single, only to be extinguished when goat-for-the-day Jay Payton missed the hit-and-run sign and got Walker picked off.

Unfortunately for the Rockies, the Marlins won, putting them 6 and a half back in the Wild Card Race.

Norton Delivers Winning Blow in 11th

August 12, 2003. Greg Norton provided the knockout with his three-run homerun in the 11th inning off Expos' closer Rocky Biddle to forge a 6-3 lead, but it was almost a total team effort that got Colorado to that point. First, it was Chris Stynes doubling in the first and being plated by Todd Helton's RBI single. Then in the 6th, Ronnie Belliard doubled and Helton walked, before Preston Wilson and Jay Payton plated both of them with singles. Montreal's Vladimir Guerrero tied it at 3 in the bottom of the inning with a two-run homerun. That score stood until the Rockies emerged victorious due to effective pitching by starter Chin-hui Tsao and stellar relief performances by Adam Bernero, Aaron Cook, Justin Speier, Brian Fuentes (who got the win), and Javier Lopez who notched the first save of his career. In the 11th, Larry Walker singled to lead off the inning, and Charles Johnson walked to set up Norton with two outs. Norton's blow was his league-leading 16th pinch hit, including 3 homers and 12 RBI. The Rockies are now 5 and a half games behind Wild Card leader Florida.

Bad Things Come in Threes - Rox Lose 3rd in a Row

August 11, 2003. It was another case of missed opportunities on offense and one big pitching mistake for the reeling Rockies. As usual, they have trouble beating mediocre teams’ 4th and 5th starting pitchers. This time it was the "Montreal" Expos, a team in danger of falling below .500 for the first time this season after finishing a 1 and 5 road trip, and their fifth starter, Zach Day, who beat the Rockies 3-1 in Montreal.

 

Both teams had even records coming into the game, the Rox at 60-60 and the Expos at 59-59. Unfortunately, the Expos dodged the bullet while Colorado dropped below the break-even point for the twelfth time in 2003.

 

The Rockies made it “Zach Day” at Olympic Stadium as Day became one more pitcher in a growing group who has had career strikeout days against Colorado on the road, as Rockies hitters return to their maddening trend of striking out on the road when productive outs would yield runs and wins. For example, Charles Johnson had only struck out 33 times all year and Day is anything but a strikeout pitcher, averaging fewer than 1 every 2 innings, yet C.J. whiffed with a runner on second in the 2nd inning, right after Jay Payton struck out before him. Others included: Chris Stynes, swinging with Belliard on second in the first inning with none out; Todd Helton, looking, on three pitches with Stynes on second with one out in the third; Jason Jennings, swinging, with runners on second and third in 4th with two outs.   Zach ended up with 7 K's in 6 innings, more than double his average. Most of the strikeouts were on curveballs outside of the strike zone, showing that the Rockies hitters are desperate to make contact and the opposite occurs with alarming regularity.

 

Given the road ineptitude of Colorado hitters, the game was iced in the bottom of the third by a bad pitch; right after the Rockies had tied it in the top of the inning on back-to-back doubles by Ronnie Belliard and Chris Stynes. Once again, it was the “Viscous V’s” who seem to always beat the Rox - Jose Vidro and Vladimir Guerrero. This time, Vidro was on base and Vlad was at bat with a 1 ball, 2 strike count, when Jason Jennings tried to throw a slider in the dirt, but instead put it belt high over the middle of the plate, whereupon Guerrero deposited it on the nether side of the center field wall.

 

The Rockies then phoned in the rest of the game, getting only two hits over the last 6 innings, none in the last three innings. Again, on the bright side, Florida lost, but the Phillies were idle, so the Rockies are now 6 games back with 41 to play.

Pirates Beat Rockies Again

August 11, 2003. Once again, the day started out promising for the Rockies and their fans. Colorado Ace Shawn Chacon started and pitched well enough to win most games in Denver, giving up only 3 runs (2 earned) on 5 hits over 7 innings. Nelson Figueroa was called up from the minors to pitch for the Pirates, and he hadn't won a game in the Major Leagues since April of last year. Surprisingly, the Buc hurler stopped the Rockies cold, going 6 innings and only giving up 2 runs on 7 hits. But, the Rockies led 2-0 in the third on a homerun by rookie Rene Reyes and an RBI single by Ronnie Belliard. They were still looking like winners in the seventh, only down one run with the big guys coming up and Coors Field magic in the air. Then the game was marred by another hideous call by an umpire, the second such horrible call in a week involving the Pirates and Rockies. Garret Atkins was running from first on a pinch-hit double by Larry Walker when home plate umpire Brian O'Nora inexplicably moved out of position during the play so that he couldn't see the plate or Garret Atkins' hand dragging over it, as the replays clearly showed. Thinking that Atkins had missed the plate, the blind ump made no signal, alerting the Pirate's catcher, who then went over and tagged an incredulous Atkins, while an equally stunned Todd Helton, who had seen the play clearly from the on-deck circle, shouted in dismay. Manager Clint Hurdle protested the call to no avail. Had the umpire made the correct call, the score would have been tied with Walker on second and Helton at the plate. Meanwhile, Hurdle went back to the dugout, apparently watched the replays that demonstrated that the home plate umpire was the only person at the park or watching on TV that thought Atkins was out, and became enraged again and rushed out between innings to reassure the umpire that his call was wrong. This time, he was ejected, sparking a long, face-to-face shouting match between Hurdle and O'Nora before Clint finally exited. The Pirates scored two insurance runs in the ninth, mostly due to poor play in the field by the Rockies - a result of the bad call and ejection of Hurdle? On the bright side, both the Marlins and the Phillies lost, so the Rockies are still only five and half games behind in the Wild Card race.

Pirates Turn the Tables With 10-4 Win

August 10, 2003. Things looked promising early in the game. The weather outlook was hot, but clear. Darren Oliver was pitching, and he hadn't lost a single game in 8 starts in Denver. The Rockies had won 3 in a row. For the first three innings of Saturday night's game, events followed the script as the home team was cruising 2-0. Then in the third, Oliver had a bad inning, giving up 4 runs, but the Rockies came right back on a solo homerun by Jay Payton to trail by only a run at 4-3 after 5 innings. But in the sixth inning, everything fell to pieces as the Pirates sent eleven batters up and five crossed the plate, the last two on a bases-loaded walk and a hit batter by Steve Reed, though the runs were charged to Oliver for a total of 9 for his worst outing of the season. That made the score 9-3 and it was all over but the shouting. The Pirates got a pinch-hit homerun in the 7th and Colorado's catcher Charles Johnson hit one out in the eighth to account for the final score. The win gave the Pirates the season series over the Rox, as they now lead 5 games to 3 with only one to play. The Rockies also dropped to 5 and a half games back in the Wild Card race as the co-leaders Florida and Philadelphia both won.

Pirates Fall Big Again

August 9, 2003. The Rockies were convinced last week in Pittsburgh that they were a far better team than the turmoil-torn Pirates, yet they lost the first two games of the three-game series. The way they lost the second game - on a terrible call by umpire Tom Welke, proved to be the final straw for the Rockies who are now on a campaign to maul the Pirates in all of their remaining games, starting with the 16-4 drubbing in Pittsburgh and continuing with last night's 13-6 massacre.

Friday night’s game was a strange event from the beginning, with each team scoring four runs in the first inning, then sitting down for over 2 hours for a rain delay from a storm that seemed only interested in raining on the ballpark, while the surrounding areas got nary a drop. Even before that, the first pitch was thrown out by none other than “Mister Cub”, Ernie Banks (what was he doing here?), rather than the usual car dealer or local company middle manager, possibly because it was the 800th game in Rockies history?

Anyway, neither of the starting pitchers thought the night was special, apparently, as Colorado’s Jason Jennings started out the game by walking the first batter on four pitches, then allowing the next 7 batters to hit the ball hard, yielding a homerun, two singles, a fielders choice and two long flies to the outfield for 4 runs. Brian Meadows of the Pirates fared little better (though he was also hurt by sloppy defense) as an error, a wild pitch, 4 singles, two ground outs and a strikeout left the score tied at 4.

Then the rains came at about 7:45 PM, and play didn’t resume until just before 10 PM, MDT. Both starting pitchers were done for the night, replaced by strange choices, indeed. Rockies’ Manager Clint Hurdle went with deposed closer Jose Jimenez, who was working on a string of 12 consecutive losses and would have been traded by now if any other team had wanted to pay him. Pirates’ skipper Lloyd McClendon went with Pat Mahomes, who had just been called up from AAA Nashville. Jimenez pitched surprisingly well, going 4 innings and only giving up 2 runs on 4 hits to get the win. Mahomes, on the other hand was rocked by a 3-run Preston Wilson homer and a two run single by Ronnie Belliard to take the loss. Wilson’s homerun was his 29th, and the 3 RBI gave him the league lead at 112.

The Pirates closed to 9-6 on an RBI groundout by former Rockie Jose Hernandez in the 5th, but Colorado put it away with 3 runs in the 7th and one in the 8th. The game ended at the stroke of midnight (almost). The Rockies have now won 3 in row.

Rockies Take Series from Phillies With 4-3 Win

August 8, 2003. Homeruns by Todd Helton and Chris Stynes, and singles by Preston Wilson and Larry Walker accounted for 4 runs off Phil's temporary ace Kevin Millwood. It was barely enough as the Rockies eked out the one-run victory to win the home series 2 games to 1. The Phillies won the season series, sweeping the Rockies in Philadelphia for a 4 games to 2 advantage for 2003. Javier Lopez got the victory in relief, with Justin Speier getting the save. Denny Stark started and gave up all 3 Philly runs on 7 hits over 5 and a third innings.

Hurdle, O'Dowd Show Lack of Courage, Honesty

August 7, 2003. Rockies Management let down their team and their fans, not to mention baseball in general when they decided to take the coward's way out and not file a complaint with the office of the commissioner about the hideously bad call by umpire Tom Welke, that cost the Rockies at least a tie in Pittsburgh.

Worse yet, they lied about their reasons. According to the Denver Post, Rockies' General Manager Dan O'Dowd said he decided not to file a complaint because: "He handled it as classy and as professional as you could ever expect. He accepted responsibility, and what more can you ask? We all make mistakes."

The problem is, Welke did not accept responsibility. According to the AP article, he said the replays were bad, inferring that they were inconclusive, which is untrue. Then, he only said it was unfortunate that umpires don't get a second chance. It was certainly not classy; classy would have been saying "I blew it, I don't know what I was thinking. He was obviously safe, I apologize to the Rockies and their fans for my mistake." Welke didn't do anything close to that, in fact he attempted to do the opposite, deflecting the fault everywhere but on himself. He didn't even apologize.

The players who spoke after the incident were much more accurate in their appraisals of the play. One said a blind country singer could have made the correct call, while another said he could have seen the runner was safe from his hotel room. But the most accurate was Jason Jennings, who opined that the umpire had decided that any ball hit on the ground was a double-play so they could get on with the fireworks display.

What should have happened? The Rockies should have filed a complaint and the Commissioner should have ordered that, if the game would have made a difference in the playoffs, it would have been played over from the point of the bad call, with the game tied and Payton safe at first. That would have maintained the fairness and integrity of the game. This way, all we can be sure of is that the Rockies management are more interested in kissing up to the umpires and league than they are in winning games and pleasing their fans.

NOTE: We will attempt to find out when Tim Welke will be visiting Denver so that the fans can give him the reception he so richly deserves.

Rockies Beat Phils 5-1 on Helton Homer

August 6, 2003. Phillies starter Brandon Duckworth made one big mistake, a fat 3-2 pitch to Todd Helton that was subsequently deposited on the other side of the center field fence.

Rocks Suffer Rare Loss at Home, 7-2

August 5, 2003. Philly phenom Brett Myers baffled the Rockies for seven innings and Coloradans Turk Wendell and Terry Adams closed it out as Shawn Chacon lost at home for only the second time this year. Bobby Abreu and Ricky Ledee homered for the visitors.

Angry Payton, Rockies Pummel Pirates 16-4

August 3, 2003. Tom

Welke Admits He "Probably" Blew Call; Doesn't Care

August 3, 2003. Tom Welke, the umpire who has now revealed his lack of character and integrity, not to mention honesty, claimed the replays where not very good (when in fact they very clearly showed the runner was safe, with his foot on the base while the ball was several feet from the first baseman's glove). "It was a tough night sleeping last night," the well-rested-appearing crew chief claimed - he must have meant for the Rockies, who got screwed by his call that was obviously made as soon as Payton hit the ground ball. Instead of keeping his mouth shut and sparing everyone additional anguish Welke is out there talking to every reporter within earshot, including ESPN, CBS Sports, etc.

Umpire Tom Welke's Horrible Call Costs Rockies 1-0 Loss, Drops Record Below .500

August 2, 2003. Things are going badly for the Rockies, but the umpires, particularly first base umpire Tom Welke, are guilty of piling-on. Welke made the worst call the Observer has ever seen when he signaled Jay Payton out at first before the ball even reached the first baseman's mitt. The distracted ump, who was apparently laying out his dinner plans as he trotted of the field indicating the out almost as a afterthought without looking back to be sure the play was over. Replays clearly showed Payton was safe, allowing Preston Wilson to score the tying run. When Rockies' manager Clint Hurdle protested the call, Welke shouted and waved him off without hesitating in his mad dash to the bar. If he isn't fined and suspended by the league it is a travesty of justice. Jason Jennings was saddled with the undeserved loss.

Nightmare in Pittsburgh

August 1, 2003. Unbelievably, the Rockies entered the ninth inning in Pittsburgh with a n 11-6 lead and lost the game 12-11.

Another Extra Inning Loss

July 31, 2003. Jason Larue did it again. Last night, his leadoff homer tied the game in the ninth. This time, his leadoff homer in the tenth won it for the firing and trade-ravaged Reds. Rockies' rookie Chin-hui Tsao began his decline after an impressive debut last week. This time he only lasted 4 and a third innings, giving up 4 runs, all in the second inning when the Reds batted around. The Rockies blew their chance to get a rare winning series on the road and are getting perilously close to dropping out of even the wildcard race, as they are now a full 6 games behind the front-running Phillies.

Jimenez Blows Another One

July 30, 2003. The Rockies had the lead, 2-1 going into the bottom of the ninth. But then Justin Speier served up a gopher ball to Cincinnati's Jason LaRue, the first batter in the ninth, who deposited the ball into the upper deck to tie the game. Speier escaped the rest of the inning without further damage, but the Rockies were unable to score and Hurdle decided to give Jose Jimenez another chance to reclaim some of his lost self respect.. The experiment failed, however, as J.J. loaded the bases and allowed the winner, a single by Adam Dunn, wasting another brilliant effort by Shawn Chacon.

Oliver, Rockies Beat Reds on the Road, 5-3

July 29, 2003. Darren Oliver won the 6th of his last 7 decisions, Ronnie Belliard stole two bases in a game for the first time in his career, and the Reds looked more disoriented than usual, making 4 errors in the game and looking stunned. Of course Cincinnati players had plenty of reasons to be confused and disoriented, what with their manager (who is also their star third baseman's father) being fired along with two coaches and the general manager, and their closer being traded for a minor leaguer and cash. Hopefully, they will stay in their stupor and the Rockies can sweep a road series for the first time in years.

Uecker-less Brewers Swept!

July 28, 2003. The news is out. Without their play-by-play announcer, the Milwaukee Brewers are clueless. Actually, they are not very good, even when (now) Hall of Famer Bob Uecker is in the press box cracking up their listeners with his wit and charm. But, look at it this way - without Uecker, there would probably be no one listening at all. Anyway, while no one in Milwaukee and the Greater Wisconsin area was paying attention, the Colorado Rockies beat the Brewers 6-1 behind the near-shutout pitching of Jason Jennings, who also knocked in enough runs (2) to win all by himself. Charles Johnson knocked in two while Jay Payton and Preston Wilson plated one each to complete the scoring. Milwaukee is almost a mortal lock to lose in Denver, having not won a game in Colorado since 2000.

Blake Streeters Beat Brewers, 13-8

July 27, 2003. Preston Wilson slammed his 26th and 27th homeruns and drove in his 100th RBI as the Rockies eked out a 13-8 win in a good old fashioned Coors Field slugfest.

Tsao Wins in Debut Over Brewers, 7-3

July 25, 2003. The Rockies have probably ruined the career of another promising young pitcher. After repeatedly stating that they understood that young pitchers had little chance of long term success in the major leagues if they didn't get the proper conditioning in the minors, the Rockies decided to have Tsao pitch in the Majors without a single day of AAA ball Behind him.

TV Mouths Hit New Low

July 25, 2003. "It must have been an extremely difficult decision for Clint Hurdle and the Rockies' management to let him go because he is one of the most, if not THE most popular players with the fans," said the Rockies' TV announcer Drew Goodman, with the enthusiastic agreement of fellow stooge George Frazier.

Who do you think they were referring to? Larry Walker? Todd Helton? Jason Jennings? Maybe Shawn Chacon or even Denny Neagle? No, they were talking about Mark Sweeney! I'm sure anyone who is reading this is saying to themselves: "Mark Sweeney? Who on earth is Mark Sweeney?" Mr. Sweeney happens to be a very good ballplayer who deserved better than he got. But that is beside the point. By no stretch of the imagination is he even among the top twenty most popular Rockies players. Nine out of ten Rockies fans don't even know who he is. Where do these idiots get this stuff? That's why they are universally acclaimed as the worst broadcast team in baseball. It shouldn't be a difficult decision to get rid of Drew Goodman and George Frazier.

Dodgers Triumph 1-0 in 11th Inning

July 24, 2003. Shawn Chacon matched Kevin Brown pitch-for-pitch for seven innings, and the relief staff kept it going for another three innings, but the bats had gone back to sleep and the home team prevailed as they usually do.

Oliver Does Koufax Imitation

July 23, 2003. Darren Oliver gave up only 2 runs on 4 hits over 7 innings to raise his record to 8-6 as the Colorado road bats had a rare good day, pounding the Dodgers by an 8-2 margin.

Rockies Lose in LA

July 22, 2003.

Baseball Observer to Boycott ESPN

July 21, 2003. The Baseball Observer will no longer provide links to pages on the popular ESPN web site. ESPN has become the undisputed champion of "pop-ups" and other annoying advertising gimmicks that cause infuriating delays and irritating intrusions to any seeking sports information. So, in the next few days, all links to ESPN will be removed from the Baseball Observer sites and replaced with equally informative pages that don't try to divert your attention and hog your processor while you attempt to read them.

Rox Finally Win Again

July 21, 2003. Denny Stark held the Dodgers to 1 run on 4 hits through 7 innings Monday night, to claim his first win on 2003 and end the Rockies' 7 game road losing streak. The Rockies are still in the thick of the Wild Card race, despite what the Denver media is saying, being only 6.5 games out with 60 left to play (the defending champion Anaheim Angels are not conceding the season, and they are 8.5 games back).

Road Wimps: CO Swept by Giants

July 20, 2003. Giants 8, Rockies 4.

Rockies Trade For Womack

July 19, 2003. The Rockies apparently think adding some speed and another shortstop will turn the whole season around, so they got Tony Womack from the Diamondbacks for minor league pitcher Mike Watson. Womack is a poor-fielding, weak hitting infielder-outfielder, who is fairly fleet of foot.

Make That Three

July 19, 2003. Three in a row to SF, 6 in a row on the road overall - things are not looking good regarding the playoffs in Colorado. Even Shawn Chacon couldn't turn the team around as the lost 5-3 in SF.

Two "L's" in a Row in SF

July 18, 2003. Darren Oliver got road disease, along with all of the Rockies' hitters as San Francisco swamped them 7-0.

Rockies Lose at Pac Bell

July 17, 2003. Denver's team started out the second half with sloppy play, lead by Juan Uribe's two errors at shortstop, and lost to the league-leading Giants by an 8-4 score. Jason Jennings pitch very badly, giving up 8 runs on 9 hits in 4 innings.

Dodgers Finally Beat Rockies

July 13, 2003. Denny Neagle had a rocky start, giving up 5 runs before getting an out in the first inning, as the Rockies lost to LA, ending

Dodgers Dented

July 12, 2003. Jason Jennings flirted with a no-hitter

Nomo Nuked

July 11, 2003. The 2003 edition of the Blake Street Bombers knocked old Hideous Nomo around to the tune of 6 earned runs on just five hits, but it still wasn't enough to pin the loss on him as they had to get one more to win 7-6. Jay Payton knocked in 3 runs, Todd Helton had two RBI, both with solo homers, but the winning run scored when pinch-hitter Greg Norton walked with the bases loaded in the eighth.

Blakers Bomb Bay Area

July 10, 2003. R

Giants Dispatched, 11-7

July 9, 2003. R

Another Ex-Rockies Pitcher Rejuvenated

July 8, 2003. Remember Mike Hampton? Daryl Kile? Andy Ashby? The list of pitchers whose careers bottomed out in Denver, only to recover upon their departure grows and grows. The latest miracle recovery belongs to Todd Jones, who, according to the local sports media had totally lost any ability he had to pitch in the major leagues. On Wednesday, July 1st, Mr. Jones cleared waivers and was picked up by the Boston Red Sox, who promised to give him a chance for two weeks. How did he respond to the pressure? After 33 games in Colorado, where he accumulated a 1-4 record and an 8.24 ERA, he started out by pitching two scoreless innings on July 4th against the Yankees, giving up only a single to Jorge Posada and a walk to Derek Jeter. The opposing pitcher? Former Rockie Dan Micelli. In Jones' second outing (July 6th against the Yankees again) he pitched more like we are used to seeing - giving up three runs in an inning and a third. But that was his only bad inning so far. The next time out he pitched two perfect innings and got the win. Then on July 12th, he struck out the side in one inning of work against the Tigers, getting the win and raising his record to 2-0, while lowering his ERA to 4.26. Meanwhile, two other former Rockies are making significant contributions to Boston's successful season, Gabe Kapler and Todd Walker, hitting .333 and .290 respectively.

Arizona Blow Out II

July 8, 2003. The trend continued from the night before, only the victims were relief pitchers Steve Reed and Brian Fuentes, who gave up 6 runs between them in two innings to sabotage the effort of Denny Neagle, who managed to hold the D'Backs to 3 runs over 6 innings.

Arizona Blow Out

July 7, 2003. Things were going great for the Rockies - Jason Jennings was cruising after 3, winning 5-0, then the bottom fell out. Jennings ended up giving up 6 runs on 9 hits (2 HR) and 3 walks and Colorado lost 14-6.

Jimenez Blows Another One

July 6, 2003. Jose Jimenez came to the Rockies as a starter who had pitched a no-hitter for the Cardinals. For some reason, the Colorado brain trust decided to make him into a closer, in spite of the fact that he didn't have the tools or the temperament for the job. As a result, he has always been a mediocre closer, never even a remote threat to win the Rolaids  or any other award. Now, manager Clint Hurdle has finally seen the light and has taken Jose out of the closer role and moved him to middle relief. It was in this role that Jimenez gave up a two run double to Richie Sexson to break up a 1-1 tie in the eighth inning to deliver a 3-1 win to the Brewers.

Two In A Row In Milwaukee

July 5, 2003. The Rockies won 9-8 in a Milller Park slugfest, heavily laden with homeruns, including a Grand Slam by Milwaukee.

Rockies Win 2nd 4th

July 4, 2003. In their entire life, the Rockies had only won once on the Fourth of July before today's 8-6 victory in Milwaukee.

Hickenlooper Wins!

June 3, 2003. John Hickenlooper, proprietor of popular game-day watering holes the Wynkoop Brewpub and the Wazee Supper Club, was elected Mayor of Denver yesterday, which the Baseball Observer hopes will herald the dawn of a new day and a friendlier downtown for Rockies fans. Under the current administration, nearly all reasonably priced parking was eliminated and police enforcement frightened away thousands of Rockies fans, not to mention discouraging the remaining ones from hanging around and spending money. While we are on the subject, try Thorndyke's, a new bar and grill on the corner of Larimer and 22nd with an inviting decor and reasonable prices.

Rockies Lose

July 3, 2003. Once

Rockies Win

July 2, 2003. Once

Rockies Beat D'Backs

July 1, 2003. Once

Home Loss to Arizona

June 30, 2003. Once

Rockies Do Millwood Again

June 29, 2003. Once again the Rockies looked as if they were trying to lose the game, this time to the Pittsburgh Pirates. What else do you say when the ace of the staff and one of only two 11-game winners in the NL, gives up runs like they were party favors while one of the most potent offenses in baseball gets nothing from a run-of-the-mill pitcher? We call it a 9-0 humiliating shellacking.

Rockies Insure .500 Trip

June 28, 2003. Even if they don't win tomorrow, the Rockies at least broke even on the road trip, which is, trite as it sounds, a big victory for them. Neagle had a good outing against his former team, giving up 2 runs on 6 hits in 6 innings, while the offense generated just enough to win, 5-4.

Rockies Lose in Pittsburgh

June 25, 2003. Jason Jennings was off his game, giving up 5 runs, while the Colorado hitters couldn't get their game going, even though they out-hit the Pirates 12-8, so the Rockies added another pathetic road loss to their resumes with a 5-3 defeat.

Rockies Imitate Millwood

June 25, 2003. If you weren't absolutely certain they were trying to win, you might have thought they were trying to lose last night - and they succeeded, falling to the San Diego Padres by a 7-6 score. Maybe the very thought of sweeping a series on the road made them so nervous they couldn't play - whatever it was, errors by newcomers Chris Stynes and Jay Payton where bad enough, but the real shocker was the double play ball turned into a single by two-time gold glover Todd Helton. Add in the Millwood-like performance of Todd Jones in the 8th, giving up 2 runs on 3 hits while only getting one out, and you have the recipe for a good streak gone suddenly bad. Oh, well, on to Pittsburgh.

Millwood Throws Game

June 24, 2003. When the Atlanta Braves and Kevin Millwood cooked up their nefarious scheme, they couldn't have wanted his antics to be so obvious...(continued)

Oliver Stumps Padres

June 24, 2003. Darren Oliver won his first road game of the year as the Rockies won 5-3 over the Padres. Larry Walker continued his hot hitting with his second homer in as many days, while closer Jose Jimenez continued his slump, loading the bases before escaping in the ninth.

Chacon Wins 11th at SD

June 23, 2003. Shawn "Chac" Chacon won in San Diego, 5-1, to become the National League's first 11 game winner.

Rockies Climb Back to Mediocrity

June 22, 2003. Denny Neagle won his first game this year in his second start after coming back from injury and Jose Jimenez finally got through a ninth inning unscathed, as the Rockies beat Detroit 5-3. With the win, the Rockies took the series from the Tigers, 2 games to 1, ending the home stand against two of the worst teams in baseball with a 4 and 3 mark. The team expected to fare much better, and looked at this series as a golden opportunity to gain ground on the division leaders, which didn't happen.

CO 9, Detroit 6

June 21, 2003. The Rockies dominated after spotting the Tigers an early lead, but their closer, Jose Jimenez, made it a lot closer by giving up a three-run homer in the ninth. Preston Wilson hit two round-trippers for the Home Team, with Juan Uribe and Todd Helton each hitting one. Jason Jennings won his forth straight game to improve his record to 7-5.

Rockies' Stock Plummets Again In Loss to Lowly Tigers

June 20, 2003. The Rockies lost the respect of a lot of their fans as they looked worse than the worst team in baseball in losing 7-5 Friday night. Scott Elarton looked bad and probably lost his spot in the starting rotation. The only positive note was that recent acquisition Mark Bellhorn, who started his first game after coming from the Cubs in the trade for Jose Hernandez, looked great at bat and in the field.

Rocks Beat Padres, Part II

June 19, 2003. This time it was Darren Oliver as the starting pitcher who shuts down the Padres, and Todd Jones as the relief pitcher who can't get anyone out. The Rockies did prevail, with the big blow a grand slam in the first by Chris Stynes, the first of his career.

Rockies Finally Beat Padres

June 18, 2003. Shawn Chacon won his tenth game as CO finally beat SD, 7-5, although Jose Jimenez almost blew it again like he did on Monday.

Roller Coaster Rises Again

June 13, 2003. Right after hitting the low point of the year, a 15 to 3 loss to the Twins, the Rockies got up from the canvas and delivered a knockout punch to the already-reeling Detroit Tigers, who lost their eighth in a row (5th straight at home). Shawn Chacon had a resurgence of his own, making a nice recovery after the disaster that was his last start - giving up 12 runs to Kansas City at Coors Field. "Chac" only surrendered 2 runs on 8 hits in 7-1/3 innings in this one to notch his ninth win, tying him with Kevin Brown of the Dodgers for the most in the National League. Mark Sweeney did most of the offensive damage with a three-run homer in the 6th inning. Chris Stynes chipped in with 3 RBI on 3 hits and Juan Uribe added a solo HR. Something has to give in this series, because Detroit has not won a home series this year, and the Rockies have not won a road series, yet.

Horrors! Minn 15, Colo 3

June 12, 2003. Darren Oliver and Javier Lopez (no, not THAT Javier Lopez, but it might have well have been) each gave up 7 runs in a single inning as the Minnesota Twins used the twin innings to crush, demolish, smash, blast, horrify, and humiliate the Colorado Rockies in Minneapolis. What started out as a good road trip seems to be turning quickly into something else.

Rockies' Roller Coaster Falls Off the Track and Sinks In Mud

June 17, 2003. The Rockies continued to play badly at home against the worst team in baseball, falling 4-3 to the Padres in the 2003 debut of Denny Nagle.

Coaster Drops Right Back to the Bottom

June 16, 2003. Baseball is a game of adjustments. For example, in the 1993 playoffs, the Phillies batting coach, Denis Menke deduced that the Phils, who had little success against the Atlanta Braves all season long, would need to try something different if they were going to beat them in the playoffs. He knew the well-known pitching strategy of the Braves, devised by manager Bobby Cox and hitting coach Leo Mazonne, was to always throw a strike on the first pitch, and stay away from the plate thereafter. This plan  has worked for the Braves for years, and still works today, helped by the flawless execution of Tom Glavine, Greg Maddux, and John Smoltz. But for that series, Menke and the Phillies had the answer. The Phillies hitters came out swinging on the first pitch, and if they missed, they wouldn't swing again until the count dictated that the Atlanta pitcher had to throw another strike. The plan worked to perfection, and the Phils eliminated Atlanta in four games. The Rockies had a chance to make a similar adjustment on Monday night against the San Diego Padres and their temporary closer, Rod Beck. Beck used to be a power pitcher with a mid-90's fastball before age and injury turned him into what he is today - a closer whose best pitch is the spit-finger fastball, sometimes called a "splitter". The splitter is a devastating pitch because it looks like a fastball when the pitcher throws it, but there is a delay effect because the ball is released before the arm completes it's arc toward the batter. This throws the batter's timing off, and he is way ahead of the pitch, usually swinging before it even reaches the plate. If the batter manages to adjust, he will miss the ball anyway, because a good splitter hits the ground before it ever reaches the plate. Which brings us to the big flaw in throwing the split finger - it is always a ball if the batter doesn't swing. So, knowing that Beck no longer has a great fastball and must rely on his split-finger, all the Rockies had to do in the ninth while trailing 7-5 was to put the bat on their shoulders and take walks until they won the game or Beck was pulled. But instead, they ran out there and lost the game, looking like total fools, swinging at splitters bouncing two feet in front of the plate. Instead of Denis Menke devising winning strategies and conspiring with the players to execute them and win, the Rockies have Clint Hurdle telling them the only strategy they need is to play hard.

Twins 7, Rockies 4

June 11, 2003. Last night, Jason Jennings and Brian Fuentes held the Twins to 3 hits. Tonight, Aaron Cook, Nelson Cruz, Todd Jones, and Justin Speier surrendered 15 hits as the Coloradoans succumbed. Still, the road show played better than usual, with flashes of potency from the offense, including a home run and 2 RBI from Jay Payton who matched the two hits each by Larry Walker, Chris Stynes, and Todd Helton. Preston Wilson threw in 3 singles, and Juan Uribe barely missed a homerun, settling for a double. In addition, Twins' center fielder Torii Hunter robbed Vaughn of a sure extra base hit in the second. So, the bats are still cooking and they could win if the pitching comes back. Jose Hernandez, on the other hand, wore the Golden Sombrero for the second game in a row to boost his Major League leading total to 89.

 

Rockies Win in Minn

June 10, 2003. Jason Jennings threw 7-2/3 shutout innings and was supported by a power surge begun by Preston Wilson with a three-run dinger to dead center in the first inning. Charles Johnson chipped in with a HR in the second and newcomer Greg Vaughn capped the scoring with his blast to left in the 6th.

 

Capital Call Just the Latest Symptom of Rockies' Woes

June 9, 2003.

 

Local Team Squeaks by, 8-7

June 9, 2003. In a bizarre game, marked by strange occurrences like players who forgot how to play and umpires who forgot the rules, the Colorado Rockies managed to hold on in the face of great adversity to win by a single run. Scott Elarton survived an extremely shaky start to get the win.

 

Rockies Lose Two

June 8, 2003. It wasn't bad enough that they lost both ends of a double header, 13-11 and 9-5, but manager Clint Hurdle may have destroyed the confidence of two pitchers considered instrumental to any chance of the Rockies having a good season. In the first game, Hurdle hung ace Shawn Chacon out to dry, leaving him in until he personally yielded 10 earned runs and ended up responsible for 12 including two he left on base that were allowed to score by Nelson Cruz. With two out in the top of the fourth, Chacon fell completely apart, but Hurdle didn't seem to notice until after 2 walks, a single, a double, two triples and a wild pitch. In the second game, Hurdle inexplicably started Todd Jones for the first time in his career, proving to everyone that this is not Jones' year, as he raised his ERA to 8.47. On the offensive side, the Rockies were great, cranking out 16 runs on 22 hits, including homeruns by Johnson, Helton, and Walker.

 

Rainout

June 7, 2003. The game between the Rockies and the Royals was rained out last night in the top of the fifth inning with the Rockies leading 3 to 1. It will be played today as part of a doubleheader, weather permitting.

 

Kansas City Plays Tonight!

June 6, 2003. Tonight the Kansas City Royals are in town to take on the Rockies, who have won 5 in a row at home. The entire staff of the Baseball Observer will be attending the game, so we'll see you there! We'll be the ones wearing the free hats graciously provided by the Denver Newspaper Cartel.

 

Indians Swept in Coors

June 5, 2003. Jason Jennings pitched 7 strong innings, after which the relief corps continued their scoreless streak, while Larry Walker and Bobby Estalella knocked in 3 runs each for the victory and 3-game sweep over previously hot Cleveland.

 

CO Beats Cleveland 2-1

June 4, 2003. After two rain delays, Preston Wilson's homerun provided the winning margin as the Rockies defeated the Indians in the second game of the inter-league 3-game series on Wednesday in Denver to climb back to .500 at 30 and 30. Darren Oliver allowed a run in the first when former Rockie Ellis Burks hit into a double play, then combined with four relievers to shut the Tribe out the rest of the way. Wilson singled in a run in the first, then led of the third with homer to complete the scoring on a wet, windy evening.

 

Home Happiness! Rocks Beat Cleveland

June 3, 2003. Juan Uribe celebrated his return to Denver and the Major Leagues by crushing two 2-run homeruns to support the pitching of Scott Elarton, who coincidentally was on base for both of the second baseman's homers. The Rockies took and easy 7-3 victory to start off the inter-league schedule, assisted by HRs from Todd Helton and Preston Wilson.

 

Chacon Salvages One Game in SF

June 2, 2003. Shawn Chacon shut down the Giant bats, improving to a National League best 8-2 with a 4-1 victory over San Francisco in the last game of a four game set in the Windy City.

 

Back To Earth

June 1, 2003. Before they went to San Francisco, just three short days ago, the Rockies and their fans were riding high, the team having won 5 in a row, including a sweep of the hated Dodgers, and owning the major league current longest streaks for avoiding shutouts and getting extra base hits. All of those things are gone now, replaced by a deep, dark, depression, after the team lost the first 3 games at Pac Bell, including today's 4-0 shutout loss that felt like the crushing blow, rock bottom, the absolute pit...call it what you will, but with a 9 game deficit and another loss looming on the horizon, everyone has just about given up on the Rockies. The Observer, of course is still hoping for that same miracle - the day the players, and whatever inexperienced, ill - equipped manager they have at the time - suddenly wake up and realize that they don't have to lose anymore, that through sheer determination and force of will, together with the exercise of a modicum of intelligence, they can kick this thing! They can win at home AND on the road, and bring home a World Series Championship. But it is not going to happen, is it boys and girls? But we can still hope, can't we?

Meanwhile, the Rockies lost to the Giants 2-6 on Friday, 1-2 on Saturday, and 0-4 on Sunday.

 

Unbelievable! CO Sweeps LA

May 29, 2003. It was an unbelievable day: first it was the hottest it has ever been on this date, a scalding 95 degrees. Second, the Rockies completed a three game sweep of the Los Angeles Dodgers, the same team that had swept Colorado barely a week ago. Third, the same Rockies team that only got 10 hits in all three of those games in LA, got 16 hits today. Fourth, just when everyone began to wonder if Todd Helton would ever hit another homerun, he hit three of them. Fifth, if there was anyone left who still wondered if Ronnie Belliard is the answer at second base, his five hit performance today should have convinced them. Sixth, home grown product Scott Elarton had his second solid start in a row after being plagued with injuries the last two years. Lastly, the Rockies won easily, 12-5, hopefully providing them with momentum for the next four games in San Francisco.

 

Chac Baffles Bums

May 28, 2003. Shawn "Chac" Chacon looked like he was throwing BBs Wednesday night as the Dodgers only managed 2 hits in eight innings before getting 2 in the 9th off of Vic Darensbourg. Mark Sweeney, a recent addition to the club, taking the place of  the injured Chris Richard, gave Chacon all the runs he would need with a two run homer in the first. Chacon pitched in with a two run single, and Larry Walker and Greg Norton had one RBI each as the Rockies won their 4th in a row with a 6-0 shutout.

 

 

Cooked in Coors

May 27, 2003. Payback is sweet. After being swept by the Dodgers in LA last week, the Rockies thrashed Ishii and the Angelinos for 5 runs in the first inning and never let the west coasters back in the game, winning by a 7-3 margin. Aaron Cook was the winner after throwing 6 and a third innings and giving up all three of the visitor's runs. It was the Rox third win in a row and fourth of the last 5.

 

Oliver!

May 26, 2003. Today the home team did almost everything right, winning 5-1. Darren Oliver pitched magnificently for 6 shutout innings, followed by more of the same from Justin Speier and Steve Reed. Jose Jimenez pitched the ninth, finally yielding the sole run with two outs in the ninth to a pair of ex-Rockies, Andres Galarraga, who singled, and Neifi "The Squirrel" Perez, who tripled him home. The Rockies' runs where courtesy of Ronnie Belliard and Jose Hernandez Sacrifice flies and Darren Oliver and Greg Norton doubles, Norton's plating two. Luckily, Hurdle didn't have to make many decisions like the disastrous pitching changes and running strategies he used the day before.

 

Lame Game

May 24, 2003. The home team sucked today, giving away what was a very winnable game with stupid plays from the field, in the batter's box, on the bases, and worst of all, in the dugout. Scott Elarton made his first start of the season and pitched 5 shutout innings before tiring in the sixth. Unfortunately, Manager Clint Hurdle must have been watching some other game and didn't notice Elarton's velocity and control disappearing, and left him in until the Giants scored three on a two-out homerun on a gopher ball. The Rockies packaged this one in a great big shiny gift box with a bow called ineptness, 5-1.

 

Great To Be Home

May 23, 2003. The Rockies returned home and to their winning ways Friday with a convincing 10-7 victory over National League East leader San Francisco.

 

Swept Out of Town

May 22, 2003. Dodger Blue made the Rockies blue, and right after they made a big deal out how important these games were. The Rockies didn't play like they were important at all, losing on Thursday, 4-3, due in a large part to sloppy fielding (2 errors) and careless at-bats (sixteen K's).

 

Jennings Masterful in Complete Game Loss

May 2, 2003. The final score was 3-2 but it was a wonder the Rockies got that many, with 13 strikeouts and only 4 hits. The Colorado hitters just wanted to get out of there as soon as possible, waving at Dodger pitches as frantically as those parking attendants wave their flags at the lots around Coors Field before the game.

 

Good Baseball, Bad Result

May 20, 2003. Darren Oliver pitched extremely well, the defense was tight, and for a while, it looked like Jose Hernandez' homer would be enough to win the pitching duel between Oliver and the incomparable Kevin Brown. But skipper Clint Hurdle had a bad day, removing Oliver in the seventh and replacing him with Justin Speier. When the smoke cleared, 3 runs had scored and the scores was 6-4. The Dodgers have good pitching, but they don't completely shut down any other team like they do to the Rockies.

 

A Measure of Redemption

May 19, 2003. The Rockies didn't really play as well as the final score of 4-0 would indicate, but they did enough right, and got sufficient breaks to squeeze out the win. Shawn "Chac" (pronounced "shack") Chacon did not dominate, but got outs when he needed them, which can also be said for the 5 relief pitchers that followed. Jay Payton socked a solo homerun in the third to provide all the runs the Rockies needed in their 13th shutout in Coors Field history, the 2nd this year.

 

Bad Baseball
May 18, 2003. In what was easily the worst game the Rockies have played this year, the home, bumbled, stumbled, fumbled, and were humbled in a 10-inning loss to the Expos, 6-4.

 

Ouch! Relief Fails Again
May 17, 2003. The Mighty Montreal Expos are in town to play a 4-game set with Colorado. These are the "dead end" kids of baseball - no owner wanted them, so the league had to take them over. No city wanted them, so they have to play half of their home games in Puerto Rico. But in spite of the adversity, they are one of the top teams in Baseball, with their stars Vladimir "Vlad the Impaler" Guerrero, Jose "Vicious" Vidro, and a mob of cheap castoffs from other teams. They have won 4 of their last 5 games, including a three game sweep of the NL champion Giants in San Francisco, and last night's 4-1 win over the Rockies. The Rocks had plenty of chances to win it, but the Expos rose to every threatening occasion, then won it when reliever Nelson Cruz ran out of steam in the ninth. Rookie starter Aaron Cook pitched well for CO, and Preston Wilson continued his hot streak, singling in the home team's only run.

Comeback!!
May 16, 2003. Once again the News and the Post had given up on the Rockies and written them off entirely for 2003. "Dealin'" Dan O'Dowd can relax for a while now, thankfully, because his arms were really getting tired. No, he didn't just fly in from Florida (drum roll), but he has had one hand on his direct line phone from the management suite, and his finger poised over the "disband-trade everyone" button in the other side of his desk for the last two weeks. The situation appeared hopeless. Not only had the Rockies lost the opener of a 3 game series at home to the lowly last place Mets, their next opponent for a 4 game series, Montreal, had just swept a three game skein in San Francisco from the Giants, who were sporting the best record in baseball. The Expos looked unbeatable. But, just when it seemed that Colorado was sinking into the mire at the end of the world and baseball as we have known it in Denver was about to be flushed forever, a miracle occurred. Losing 7-0 at home in the second game of the series with New York, one of the worst teams on this or any other planet, the Rockies stumbled to their collective feet and fought back to win 9-8, when Todd Helton alertly scrambled home on a wild pitch in the bottom of the 8th. The following day, playing those same lowly Mets, the Rockies were again losing, 2-0 and were showing no signs of life. Then in the 5th inning, they batted around and ended up winning that game, 6-5. On Thursday, the mighty Expos came to town, sporting a 25-15 record and having won their last 4 games and 8 of their last 10, took a 1-0 lead over the Rockies in the 3rd inning. Then, after over 2 hours of rain delays, the Rockies batted around in the 6th to take a 4-1 lead, which the bullpen surprisingly held for a 4-2 victory. Now all of a sudden, the papers are jumping back on the bandwagon, O'Dowd is resting his arms, and the crowd is chanting "Go Rockies!". Now if they could only win today and get back to .500...

Mets Win in Denver

May 12, 2003.

Win Streak Ends; Marlins Win 7-2

May 11, 2003. The Rockies must have stayed up all night celebrating yesterday's win, because they played like a bunch of guys with hangovers Sunday. Meanwhile, the Marlins fired their manager, hired a new one, and unleashed a three homer barrage that buried CO and left them with a hideous 2-7 record for the road trip.

Snow in Denver, Win in Miami

May 10, 2003. It's a good thing the Rockies weren't at home yesterday, because the game probably wouldn't have been played due to the 3-6 inches of snow on the ground. Instead, the ex-Marlin factor finally was able to overcome the Rockies-on-the-road factor and the CO team finally picked up the second win of the 9 game road trip concluding today in Florida. Aided by stellar pitching on the part of Jason "JJ" Jennings, and spectacular outfield defense cutting down runners at the plate twice, Preston Wilson, the ex-Marlin knocked in 4 of the 5 CO runs with a 3-run dinger and an RBI single. The nail biting didn't end until the final out was made, however, as the Rockies closer, Jose Jimenez, took over in the ninth with a 5 to 2 lead and saw it shrink to 5-4 with 2 runners on before he finally closed the door for the 5-4 win.

Moon Over Miasma

May 9, 2003. Yes, whenever the Rockies are on the road, they seem to be playing in a dense miasma, but whether the noxious fog is in their heads, or altitude-induced as the seers at Denver's newspapers suggest, their opponents don't seem to be affected by it - other than as beneficiaries, of course. The cursed cloud descended on the Rockies once again on Friday night as they seemed headed for a long sought-after road victory over the Florida Marlins. Colorado was ahead 4-3 when the atmosphere changed by way of a double, a groundout to third, and a rare wild pitch by Steve Reed, which produced the tying run. Then in the 9th, the Marlin's first batter, Juan Encarnacion took Justin Speier's 2-1 pitch deep into the left field stands where it disappeared into emptiness along with the Rockies hopes. The win ended Florida's 7 game losing streak and continued the Rockies' skid at 5 straight.

Beat Up, Beat Down, Swept Out of Town

May 8, 2003. Yesterday the Rockies and Braves were rained out - only the second time in Turner Field's short history. Unfortunately, the rains held off today and the Rockies got two in the books. Two losses, two humiliating losses, two losses that dropped them below .500, two losses to add to the previous two defeats to make four, all in a row. They played so badly, they made a mediocre Braves team look like world-beaters, and made you wonder if they would ever win again.

In the first game of the double header Nelson Cruz gave up 5 runs in the first inning as an apt sign of what was to come. The Rox actually came back in that one, closing to 7-6 in the top of the eighth inning, before bringing in Todd Jones, who gave up 4 runs on 3 walks and a hit, putting it out of reach.

In the second game, Colorado's home grown ace Shawn Chacon faltered, giving up 5 runs and leaving after 6 innings behind 5-0. The Rockies came back in the 8th of the second game, too, cashing in two on Stynes pinch-hit bases-loaded single and actually bringing the tying run to the plate in the person of shortstop Jose Hernandez, who promptly grounded out. Final score: Braves 5, CO 2.

Jones'ed by the Braves

May 6, 2003. Once again, the starters were gone, the Rockies had the lead and their fate lay in the hands of the relief pitchers. And once again it proved to be a losing scenario for the Colorado team, as their Jones, namely Todd, threw a classic Gopher Ball to Atlanta's Jones (the other one, Andruw, instead of "Chipper" this time) with a runner on base to seal the deal at 3-2 Atlanta. (see quote)

TV Announcer Causes Rockies Loss

May 4, 2003. Actually announcer and former relief pitcher George Frazier didn't cause the loss, but he kept insisting over and over again that we shouldn't blame the relief pitchers, so there was nothing left to do but blame him. Even so, the relief pitchers were to blame. Starter Jason Jennings didn't have his best game, but he out-pitched Kerry Woods and left the game with a lead, while matching his career high of 9 strikeouts in just 5 innings. Relievers Todd Jones and Steve Reed each gave up solo homeruns to tie and lose the game, respectively. In their defense, the pitchers weren't responsible for the fact that the usually sputtering road offense of Colorado out-hit the Cubs 10-6, yet left 12 runners on base.

Rockies Win in Chicago

May 3, 2003. Preston Wilson came through with a two run homerun to break a 4-4 tie and carry the Rockies to a road victory at Wrigley Field.

Windy City Inhospitable

May 2, 2003. Shawn "Shaq" Chacon finally had a bad outing. right after being named Pitcher of the Month. The Rockies made it a clean sweep as Todd Helton was named the NL Player of the Month for April. But, they still lost to the Shawn Estes and the Cubs, 7 to 4.

Rockies Lose First Series at Home to Reds on Mayday

May 1, 2003. Rockies starting pitcher "Admiral" Nelson Cruz set a career high for strikeouts, but was touched for 7 runs, which wouldn't necessarily be enough to insure a loss in Denver, but thanks to the Reds and some kind of Mayday Magic, the home bats were nearly silent as the Rockies lost a series for the first time in 2003, by a score of 7 to 2.

 

Oops, Make That 11-2

April 29, 2003. Jason Jennings regained his touch and Wilson, Walker, Johnson and Belliard each hit homers to celebrate as the Rockies zoomed to a 10-5 victory.

Rockies 10-2 At Home

April 27, 2003. Once again, the Rockies held the home field advantage by out-hitting and out-pitching the opposition, who in this case were the wildly popular Chicago Cubs, by a score of 6 to 3. There may have been more Cub fans than Rockies fans in the stadium all three days as evidenced by rousing cheers every time either team made a good or bad play, but Colorado won the series and rolled to their best home start in franchise history. Darren Oliver provided the pitching, giving up only 3 runs in seven innings for his first victory in almost a year, while catcher Charles Johnson provided most of the offense by knocking in 4 runs with a homer and double.

Cubs Lose! Cubs Lose!

April 26, 2003. Shawn Chacon allowed only two runs in 7 innings as the Rockies zoomed to an 8-2 lead and held on to beat the Cubbies 8-5.

Rockies Lose To Cubs

April 25, 2003. Seat cushions and boos rained on the field as the home team continued its meltdown, falling to Chicago, 11-7. Starter Nelson Cruz couldn't get the opposing pitcher out, which accounted for the deciding margin, four runs on a homer and a bases-loaded double. Manager Clint Hurdle should take the credit for this loss as he blew a game for the

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 fourth time this season by leaving in a pitcher who was obviously too tired to strike out his grandma, let alone a guy who had homered off of him earlier in the game. After the Cub pitcher doubled to clear the bases, the booing and cushion throwing began, though it is not clear where either one came from. Thousands of Cub fans were in attendance, making it the largest crowd since opening day, and many of them were booing the Rockies before the game even began, while showing contempt for the free gift of a plastic seat cushion emblazoned with the Rockies' logo. So, it was either Cub fans jeering and tossing their unwanted gifts or Rockies fans displaying the short tempers they have developed over 10 years of watching under-performing teams, or a combination of both. In any case, the Rockies need to start winning again before things really get ugly.

 

Cook Cooked Like the Last Two CO Pitchers

April 23, 2003. Actually, it was more like burned - or even incinerated by the too-hot-to-touch Philadelphia Phillies who executed the mid-week sweep over the Rockies, winning game 3 by a 9 to 1 margin. Aaron Cook took the loss, aided by the team that couldn't hit or field in the City of Brotherly Love. Tomorrow things should get better against the Chicago Cubs in Denver.

Jennings Has Bad First Inning

April 22, 2003. If Jason Jennings had pitched the first inning the way he did the rest of the game, the Rockies would have put up a "W" instead of their 4th road loss in a row. The Phils scored 5 in the first and only one the rest of the way, but that was enough for the 6-4 win at the Vet. Bobby Estalella hit his 4th homer for CO.

Road Curse Strikes Again

April 22, 2003. Hurdle decided to go with his 5th starter against the Phillies number 1, Kevin Millwood, and it turned out exactly the way you would expect - the Phillies rolled to an easy 5-2 win as the Rockies lost their 3rd road game in a row and 7th of 11.

Chacon Shuts Down San Diego

April 20, 2003. Shawn Chacon didn't even know if he would have a job in the Major Leagues this year, but Sunday he was the Rockies' Ace, pitching 7 innings of shutout baseball as Colorado swept the three game series with the Padres. Charles Johnson, Chris Stynes, and Jay Payton all chipped in with homeruns.

Bunt Brings Blakers Back

April 19, 2003. They blew a 7-0 lead and were down by two runs in the ninth inning, almost five hours later, but a twenty-foot suicide squeeze bunt by Ronnie Belliard brought the victory back to the home team, 10-9.

Cook Fries Padres

April 18, 2003. Aaron Cook threw his first Major League complete game as the Rockies ran roughshod over the Padres, 12-1.

Schilling Burns Rocks

April 17, 2003. Curt Schilling started pitching like last year and the Diamondbacks responded by pummeling the Rockies 12-1.

Jimenez Blows Another One

April 16, 2003. Clint Hurdle and the Rockies couldn't have been very confident handing a 3-1 lead over to their erratic but lovable closer, Jose Jimenez in the 9th at Bank One Ballpark in Phoenix. Their worst fears were realized, as Jose made a deja vu performance reminiscent of a game in Houston earlier in the season. In the end, the Arizona Diamondbacks scored 3 runs with only one out and the bases still loaded to win going away, 4-3. Now the Rockies need to win today against Curt Schilling to avoid splitting the series with Arizona, who won against the Rockies for only the first time this year in 6 games.

Rockies Win Big 12-1

April 15, 2003. Shawn Chacon pitched 4-hit ball for seven innings and the Rockies scored 7 in the ninth to breeze to an easy victory over the D'backs.

Road Win Over Arizona 5-3

April 14, 2003.  Nelson Cruz shut down Arizona while Larry Walker hit two home runs.

Rockies Lose at San Diego 2-6

April 13, 2003. Manager Clint Hurdle appeared to wait to long before replacing starting pitcher Aaron Cook, resulting in a 4-run Padres epiphany and a road loss for the Rockies.

Road Win

April 12, 2003. Preston Wilson smacked a solo home run in the top of the ninth and Jose Jimenez surprisingly made it stand up as the Rockies improved their road record to 3-4. Starter Jason Jennings knocked in the first run with a sacrifice fly, and Chris Stynes doubled in the other. Justin Speier got the win with two innings of scoreless relief.

Road Loss to Padres

April 11, 2003. Former Rockies' catcher Garry Bennet knocked in 3 runs, but the crushing blow was a home run by the opposing pitcher as Colorado's road record dropped to 2-4. Helton's HR and sacrifice fly and Chris Stynes' two-run single accounted for the visitor's scoring. Darren Oliver took the loss.

Triple Play, 7-6 Win

April 10, 2003. Todd Helton and Jose Hernandez pulled off the first triple play in Rockies history, then the same pair slugged homeruns in the bottom of the eighth to cap a come-from-behind victory. The heroics were necessary because of 4 Colorado errors, giving St. Louis a 6-4 lead before Helton's solo and Hernandez' deciding two-run blast. Shawn Chacon started for the Rocks and had a strong outing, giving up only 2 runs in 6 and two-thirds innings. Javy Lopez (the pitcher, not the Braves' catcher) got the win while Jose Jimenez notched another save.

Rockies "Cruz" Past Cards, 9-4 in Bean-fest

April 9, 2003. Nelson Cruz pitched brilliantly and benefited from a barrage of extra base hits by Preston Wilson (2 doubles and a homer), Walker (double and triple), Bobby Estalella (homer) and Helton (double and homerun) before he was thrown out, along with manager Clint Hurdle for their alleged complicity in conspiring to throw at an opposing batter. Steve Reed closed out the flatlanders with two scoreless innings after Brian Fuentes gave up a three-run double to Edgar Rentaria.

Cards Beat Rockies

April 8, 2003. It took them 13 innings, but the Cardinals finally outlasted the home team after the Rockies failed to respond to a three-run homerun by St. Louis catcher Mike Matheny off Dan Micelli in the top of the inning.

Rox Sweep Arizona

April 6, 2003. Jason Jennings and Todd Helton lead the home team to an 8-3 victory and a three game sweep of the defending NL West champs on Sunday. ESPN Yahoo

Preston Wilson Plates the Winner in 10th

April 5, 2003. Center fielder Wilson doubled in the winning run in the bottom of the 10th.

Chacon Stunning in Home Opener Gem

April 4, 2003. Shawn Chacon retired the first 16 batters he faced under the sunny Denver sky, tempered by icy winds that had most of the crowd shivering as much as they cheered. But a good time was had by all as Rockies fans departed celebrating the first home victory of 2003, 2-1 over the defending National League West Champions, the Arizona Diamondbacks.

Rocks Win But Kiszla Throws In The Towel

April 3, 2003. Bobby Estalella crushed two homeruns and the pitching staff got it right as the Rockies cruised to a 10-4 win to close out a 3 game set in the dismal South Texas burg. Meanwhile, ersatz writer Mark Kiszla was spouting his usual drivel, offering up a sorry piece about how the Rockies have already blown the season. Click

Rocky Season Continues

April 2, 2003. Jose Jimenez showed how to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory, as he "closed" the game by giving up 5 runs in the bottom of the ninth to lead Colorado to a 7-8 defeat at the hands of the Houston Astros and Craig Biggio, who dealt the fatal blow with a two-run single with only one out.

Rockies Lose Opener

April 1, 2003. They are already on a pace to double last year's run production (2002:2, 2003:4) and give up no more runs than last year (10 both years).