2010 MLB Preview: NL West

In order to help get you ready for the MLB season, we’re doing division-by-division rankings with quick overviews on how each club could fair in 2010. Next to each team, you’ll also find a corresponding number written in parenthesis, which indicates where we believe that club falls in a league-wide power ranking. Be sure to check back throughout the next two weeks leading up to the season, as we will be updating our content daily. Enjoy.

All 2010 MLB Preview Content | AL East Preview | AL Central Preview | AL West Preview | NL East | NL Central | NL West

Last up is the NL West.

1. Colorado Rockies (7)
Before I wax poetically about the youthful Rockies, I have an axe to grind about the television broadcasting crew of Drew Goodman, Jeff Huson and George Frazier. Those three form one of the most biased, nonobjective broadcasting teams in baseball history. I’m not kidding. The Rockies never get the same calls as their opponents do. The Rockies never get the national recognition like everyone else does. The Rockies are the greatest team to ever walk the planet and if they played a roster compiled of Jesus, Moses, God and the 12 apostles, Colorado should win 5-4 in extras nine times out of 10. If not, the Rockies beat themselves, because there’s no way Jesus and the gang were better. Don’t believe me? Just ask Goodman, Huson and Frazier. All right, now that that’s out of the way – the Rockies are a damn fine club and should leapfrog the Dodgers in the division this year. Their core – Troy Tulowitzki, Ian Stewart, Chris Iannetta, Dexter Fowler and Carlos Gonzalez – are all 27 years old or younger and that doesn’t include 26-year-old stud Ubaldo Jimenez, who is absolutely filthy when he’s on. Throw in key veterans like Todd Helton (a perennial .300 hitter) and Jeff Francis (who could win 15-plus games filling in for the departed Jason Marquis), and Colorado has the tools to make a deep run. The question is whether or not starters Francis and Jorge De La Rosa will keep their ERAs below 5.00 and the young offensive players can move forward in their development and not backwards. But outside of the ultra-annoying broadcast team, I love the Rockies from top to bottom this year and believe they can do some damage in 2010.

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Rockies even up NLDS with Phillies

Catcher Yorvit Torrealba’s two-run homer helped the Rockies edge the Phillies 5-4 on Tuesday to even up the NLDS at one game apiece.

From MLB.com:

Ace Aaron Cook pitched five strong innings before turning the contest over to a bullpen that was constructed solidly, if on the run. Carlos Gonzalez had three hits (after two hits in the first game), Dexter Fowler drove in two runs on sacrifice flies, and Yorvit Torrealba knocked a two-run shot — his first home run in five months.

What it adds up to is a golden chance for the Rockies to add to an improbable story that started with them going 18-28 out of the gate and replacing manager Clint Hurdle with Jim Tracy. After escaping Philadelphia and its raucous crowds — 46,528, which topped Wednesday’s Citizens Bank Park record — with a split, the Rockies will be greeted by their own wild crowd at Coors Field on Saturday night and Sunday.

The Phils cracked Cook in the sixth when Shane Victorino and Chase Utley singled, and Ryan Howard doubled for one run. Jose Contreras replaced Cook, fanned Jayson Werth and gave up Raul Ibanez’s two-run single. Pedro Feliz singled, but Contreras worked Carlos Ruiz into a double-play grounder.

Ryan Spilborghs led off the seventh with a double, and would score on Fowler’s one-out fly ball. The Rockies missed a chance to add to the lead in the eighth, when Phils lefty reliever Antonio Bastardo fanned pinch-hitter Jason Giambi with the bases loaded to end the inning.
However, the Rockies’ bullpen kept the lead. Matt Belisle, who spent most of the season in the Minors but earned a playoff roster spot with a strong final three weeks, threw a perfect seventh. Rafael Betancourt, acquired from the Indians in July, gave up a Werth two-out homer in the eighth. But Franklin Morales, who also spent time in the Minors, ended the threat by coaxing an Ibanez grounder.

This was a huge win for the Rockies because they’ve played so well at home this year, and rather inconsistent on the road at times. To earn a split (especially in the second game) on the road was big, because now the momentum favors Colorado and puts pressure on Philadelphia to go cross-country and play well on the road.

Torrealba has been a nice role player over the years and it’s nice to see a guy that plays the game the right way get some recognition for his efforts. He’s a tough-nosed player and a fierce competitor. His play today no doubt lifted he and his team’s confidence.

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