Tagged: Dexter Fowler

I got it! I got it! I think…Helton’s 2000th hit?

Day 139

 

heltonsheadbyTomWalsh.JPG

     Todd Helton by Tom Walsh

(Atlanta)- I’d be lying if I said there wasn’t a special feeling in the air before Monday night’s game at Turner Field. Anyone who wanted to talk to me and knew anything about the Rockies was waiting to see  a small part of history.

Todd Helton was sitting on hit 1,999 and could break the threshold getting number 2,000.

I got it alright. A not so great picture of the hit, but there was one little problem- it was ruled an error and is being examined by the league office! I think it was a hit and I’m sad for Todd he was not afforded the moment to properly acknowledge his accomplishment. If he does end up getting credit for it, I will post the pictures.

The Rockies looked good…

It was a great feeling to see the Rockies hitting on all cyclinders. Jason Marquis was on the mound and getting all the ground outs he needed and the defense gave him all the support  neccessary.

JasonMarquistbyTomWalsh.JPG

     Jason Marquis by Tom Walsh

Pitching a solid eight-innings, Marquis was just the answer to Atlanta’s Lowe, who was having a pretty good start to the season.

DerrickLowebyTomWalsh.JPG

     Derrick Lowe by Tom Walsh

Lowe kept it close for the Braves most of the game, but would finally give up some hits. The Rockies were on the other side of some run costing bad defensive plays and they would take full advantage.

A win is a win.

The autograph ball is coming along..

Added a few more signatures to the team ball and made Garrett Atkins a promise. I told him signing the ball was lucky. I think it is, because the day Ian Stewart signed it he hit two homeruns and one was a grand slam. He laughed and said he’d take it. I told him it was a slumpbuster and guaranteed it would help him.

GarrettAtkinslookbyTomWalsh.JPG     Garrett Atkins by Tom Walsh 

Team ball don’t let me down now.

Back in the ATL, Dex had some longtime fan support.

 

DSCN0145.JPGIt was easy to spot, in a lackluster Atlanta crowd, that Dexter Fowler had some home grown support in the stands. The shouts and cheers that came with every play of his, was nice to hear, and I’m glad I was able to lend my voice to the effort. Dex had some great plays in the outfield and anytime a ball is sent flying, I have a safe feeling it’s going to get caught with the crazy amount of speed and talent he has.

Headed out to catch another game in Atlanta, I can’t help but hope for another all-around effort like I saw last night.

 GO ROCKIES!!!

 

Advertisements

Day One v Astros. Couldn’t Have Gone Much Better.

Day 133

 

The weather was perfect for a game and beforehand I should have known it was going to be a great day.

Standing on the sidelines, I was watching batting practice with a father and son. The son Josh was attending his first baseball game and his father Dave was a class act who was more than happy to show his son the ropes. Standing there I realized the kid could, with his attitude, score big time today in the free ball department. So a few tricks later and some mild coaching and whatdya know. The kid has his first official ball in hand.

For the first time at the ballpark, the kid scored monumentally. Not only did he get his first ball, but he was smart enough to ask Ian Stewart for a picture. Stewart would go on to hit two homeruns, one being a grand slam. Autographs galore, pictures and his first ball, I should have known this was going to be good. I also had Stewart sign my team ball and he only signed about seven autographs before his warmup so I was very lucky. Come to think of it, maybe the team ball gave him some luck…

And I’m not sure whether it was just my great conversation or the skills I imparted to his son, but Dave from Long Island was cool enough to buy me a beer. Thanks Dave. It hit the spot and it was great talking some old Mets memories with ya. I hope your boy takes you to show- and-tell so you can explain to all his friends the day he had!

DSCN0130.JPG

     Dave, his son Josh and yours truly

I even got Todd Helton to sign the team ball although my pen was dead so it had to be sharpie. Unfortunately my team ball has become a mixture of sharpie and pen, but oh well. There was one main autograph I was dying to get. I took a picture of Dexter Fowler, our crazy talented rookie, and knew it was another “hang on the wall” worthy photo. Again this is a photo of a photo so not the greatest quality, but you can check it out. Notice the pitchers eyes as he’s in his windup and Dex is taking off to steal. I love this photo.

DSCN0132.JPG

Dex liked it too and took a long look at it. Maybe, in his Major League infancy he has not seen a photo of himself yet. If this was his first, then I’d be proud to say it was a good one. With the photo autographed, I told Dex I’d see him in Atlanta. He was happy to hear and said he’d see me there.

So I added Todd and Ian to the team ball and got another keepsake one a kind photo signed, the day was starting out perfect.

Poor Carlos Lee-Poor Astros  Rockies Open Up A Can and Take the First Game 12-1

Carlos Lee would end up getting heckled pretty good being in left field. I give the guy props though. As the fans were chanting Carlos, Carlos he went along with it putting his hands up in the air and swaying back and forth

CarlosLeelookingbyTomWalsh.JPG
 

     Carlos Lee by Tom Walsh

It had me cracking up and for the most part the heckling was pretty tame. There was one idiot who was obviously drunk, wearing a throwback football jersey (always a baseball game must) who felt he needed to yell some incredibly stupid stuff. Sorry Carlos for that guy-he was an idiot.

“El Cabballo” had a rough day as did the rest of the team. The Astros would touch up Ubaldo Jimenez for a few hits early, but that was it. Ubaldo would pitch seven shut-out innings and leave with another win in the bag.

The Astros had some opportunities to get some runs and at least make it a game, especially this guy who had em loaded and couldn’t do anything.

 

KazMatsuibyTomWalsh.JPG
 

      Kaz Matsui by Tom Walsh

It was weird seeing Kaz Matsui, an integral part of the ’07 run, in an Astros uniform, but he chose to take the bigger contract. He had some bad defensive plays at second, but he was able to snag a ball that was hit pretty hard to turn at least one good play. What could have been Kaz, had you not decided to take the money and run?

The big slugger for the Stros, Hunter Pence, didn’t even make a squeak. I’d be fine if I didn’t hear a peep out of him the whole series.

 

HunterPencebyTomWalsh.JPG
 

     Hunter Pence by Tom Walsh

That pitch blew by for the strike. A lot of pitches blew by for strikes.

This One’s for Jeff

So there are some pictures I take and I have a definite thought in mind. When I saw the wind blowing through this gals hair, I knew it had Jeff and Allen from RSBS all over it. With their love for attractive female broadcasters and their warring over who is the best, I had to add a darkhorse to the mix. This one’s for you Jeff.

 

DSC06670.JPG 

A Picture(s) Worth a Thousand Words

Day 129

 

If you are a Rockies fan, lately you know how the team has been doing. Although there are some bright spots, there’s a lot of at bats like these. Watch the ball and batters eyes in each of these plays. It says everything of late.

 

DSC06308.JPG

     Dexter Fowler by Tom Walsh

That’s a strike that blew by. And some more like these.

DSC06584.JPG

      Ryan Spilborghs by Tom Walsh

More of the same. Low balls being swung on equals no offense.

 

DSC06619.JPG

     Ian Stewart by Tom Walsh

Strikes right down the middle too.

 

DSC06642.JPG

     Dexter Fowler by Tom Walsh

No hits, no runs to back up pitching that’s not been top notch the last two games.

 

JasonMarquisbyTomWalsh.JPG

              Jason Marquis by Tom Walsh

Bad outings leads to moments like this.

 

handoffbytTomWalsh.JPG

     Jason Marquis end of day by Tom Walsh

 

DSC06664.JPG

     Ian Stewart by Tom Walsh

And having 2 errors and a total of four really poor plays at third that let runs score, can make for loneliness in the infield.

Somebody has to break the streak and start scoring runs and lasting through the 5th inning and 86 pitches.

When Did Kelly from The Bad News Bears make the Pros?

 

TimLinecumhibyTomWalsh.JPG

     Tim Lincecum by Tom Walsh

Tim Lincecum looks like he should be pitching in high school. I will say the guy seems like the coolest person he could be. After workouts, he made it a point to sign every autograph and take pictures with fans who were waiting for him.

 

TimLincecumbyTomWalsh.JPG

     Tim Lincecum by Tom Walsh

I hope to see him at work on the mound soon and it will be interesting to see how his career turns out.

 

TimLincecum1byTomWalsh.JPGUntil then I’ll still crack up how small and young this guys looks but what devastation he can bring to opposing hitters. You really have to see this kid in real life to see what I mean.

Being in the Cellar Aint’ So Stellar-With 120 In We’re Ready to Win

Day 120

Ah April.

 

MonthAprilWd.jpgWhat a month. You get excited because baseball is back and you remind yourself it is still early. Anyone can win and someone must always lose. If you are winning, you pinch yourself and say it will last all season. If you are losing, you punch yourself and hope to wake up from the dream.

I won’t be punching myself…yet.

Come to think of it. I don’t really care for April. I mean you may get winter weather, you may get summer. Snowstorms, rainstorms, bring a jacket, freeze or sweat your you know what off. It’s like a giant rollercoaster ride. I don’t think I even know any nice or pretty girls named April either. They’re usually unsightly and mean (sorry to all the Aprils who are opposite I have not met).

Some people disregard April in baseball, and although it is also said seasons can be won and lost in April, does anyone really know?

The Rockies are a stellar 8-12. What does that tell me? Does it mean the season is over because they have a losing record ending April? Can’t they come back in May or June even?

See that’s my point. April is well, like that boyfriend who won’t marry you and is afraid of committment for one reason or another..not that I know anything about that. It’s the start of something, but I really don’t place a lot of stock in the end of April records.

Take for instance the Rockies. If you are not looking closely at the team, you may think they suck. If you look a little closer you would see the Rockies have lost five games decided by a run. Turn those five loses into wins and the Rockies are 13-8. A huge difference. All of a sudden they are almost tied for the division if not leading it! Maybe tinker with the pitching and those five losses are avoided in May.

Players like Troy Tulowitzki are probably pretty happy April is ending. The starting
Thumbnail image for TomWalshTroyTulowitzki.JPGshortstop
 is batting a sweltering .200 and was benched for a “work day” this week to try and help him regain his swing at the plate. Does his April mean he should be benched in May and his position handed over? Absolutely not!

Can we assume Garrett Atkins with his team leading 77 at bats and underperforming .247 is a lost cause? No way!

But should we be careful in assuming say Brad Hawpe’s .328 will drop and slump? Maybe. There might be a slight drop off in production but the guy is a career .284 hitter so it could go either way.

I’d like to give Dexter Fowler the award for most stolen bases this season, but it would be ridiculous to do so because anything can happen.

So what do we do with April? Should we give the Cardinals the NL pennant because they are coming out of April 15-7? Probably not nor would we assume the second from last Mets will stay in the bottom of the east all year.

April is like that appetizer that just starts to get you filled up for the main course. If you got a great appetizer and you’re excited for the meal, awesome, but the meal could suck. And if you got a bad appetizer and are excited for the meal, great, because it could be stellar.

All I know is with 120 days in the Colorado fans are ready for some wins. You can be sure we’ll be rooting for May to go our way. And yes I am a poet and didn’t even know it…

Dexter Fowler is a Tool X 5…

Day 119

 

Ok, maybe the terminology is he’s a five tool player.

TomWalshDexterFowlerclose.JPGBut what is a five tool player?

Intrigued by the question by King of Cali about, “How is he with the bat and on the field,” I wanted to touch base on this notion of a five tool player.

The five tools in no particular order are: 1) Fielding ability, 2) hitting for average, 3) hitting for power, 4) running speed, and 5) arm strength.

Before this year, Dexter Fowler had briefly touched the major leagues in late 2008 when he was called up. The most highly ranked prospect of the Rockies at the time, Fowler did little in the 13 games he played in.

Enter spring training 2009 and the belief was he had an outside shot at making the squad from Double-A ball. More than likely he would be refining his skills at Triple-A for the first time. Not so fast.

Fowler has recalled in interviews, even he did not know until the final day of spring training, he would get the call up. Why? Well, it goes back to those five tools.

The Rockies are facing a virtual traffic jam of talent coming up through the system. Players like Ian Stewart, who could be a starter at numerous positions in the majors, are playing the reserve role along with Fowler.

Is this a bad thing? No.

Dexter Fowler has been widely regarded as a top prospect for more than a few years now. By refining those five tools, he will inevitably be a starter.

 


TomWalshDexterFowlerhitting.JPG

                 Dexter Fowler by Tom Walsh

Running– By far his best asset, the old adage “speed never has a bad day” applies here. As of today, Fowler is tied for second in the majors for stolen bases with nine. The two players in front of him have done it in 85 and 74 at bats while Fowler, a reserve, has done it in 58. If he were starting that number may be exponentially higher.

Fielding ability– I’ve been to enough games this year to be amazed at the outfield running ability of Fowler. Just when you think a ball is too far and it’s extra bases, he makes up ground robbing yet another hit. He is a rookie and will make some rookie errors in the outfield, but to this point in the year he has a .980 Fld% and only one error.

Hitting for average– Currently he is hitting .310 in 17 games with a .394 OBP. I don’t think that is anything to harp about.

Hitting for power– His first homerun in the bigs came on the first pitch of the game in Arizona,  the opening series. I barely had time to sit down before I had to watch the ball sail over the outfield wall. This season he has two homeruns total, and if there was any tool that may end up being the weakest, it could this. He has four doubles on the year, but his speed has helped him stretch many singles, so I don’t fully count that in power. If he ended up at or around the 25 HR mark, I’d say he’s successful.

Arm strength– His arm is definitely a weapon and although he may not be recognized for having a cannon, in his short time in the outfield he has 49 put outs in 51 chances. I don’t see his arm strength ever really coming into question or opposing teams looking to challenge his throws. I personally saw the pain from a fan who was whacked by a ball thrown by Dex. It packed a punch!

So to answer King’s question- he’s a five tool player, whom with enough time and experience, could end up being a force in this league for many years to come. He’s exciting to watch now and I can’t wait to see what his future holds. 

With Three Wins-Someone To Believe In

Day 118

 

First and foremost I want to send a shot out to get well to Rockies RF Brad Hawpe, who took a ball to the neck in last nights game. It was a freak play where no ill will was intended and a ball from Padre catcher Nick Hundley thrown to second base hit him. He’s expected to fully recover and even play tonight, but I’ve taken a ball to the head and I know how it hurts! Onto regular scheduled programming..

 

It happened in 2007.

Aaron Cook was supposed to be the rock of the Rockies pitching staff. Coming off a good 2006, everyone thought it would naturally carry over to 2007. Not so much. Jeff Francis would step up and be that guy in ’07.

In 2008, after coming close to winning 20 games and tying the season record for wins with the Rockies in ’07, Jeff Francis faltered from injury. He was supposed to be the rock, but came up short. Aaron Cook would step up and everytime he took the mound, no matter how bad the losing streak, the Rockies felt like they had a chance to win in ’08.

So naturally, 2009 people would think Cook is going to be the rock. Mediocre outings and some bad outings have left that door wide open. Too early in the season to say he won’t, but I’m not thinking the guy is going to get to the 20 win mark. Jeff Francis is out for likely the whole season and in steps this guy…the lone wolf

tomwalshmarquissolo.JPG

                  Jason Marquis by Tom Walsh

With three wins already in the season, Jason Marquis has been a bright spot in an often shady pitching staff for the Rockies.

He’s scrappy, he’s tough and he’s a baseball player. I even like to say he’s a batter who happens to pitch. He’s batting .500 in his eight at bats. He’s helped his cause when he could, driving in 3 RBIs. The guy just plain does it all.

Last night, in a route of the San Diego Padres, Marquis was called on to pitch run after the injury to Brad Hawpe at second base.

tomwalshmarquis.JPG

                  Jason Marquis by Tom Walsh

How can you not love a guy who’s willing to do it all? He’s quickly becoming one of my favorite Rockies players if not for anything but his love of the game. A competitor in every aspect, it doesn’t hurt he and I are from the same area in NY either!

In the same route of San Diego last night, another bright spot and newbie to the bigs, Dexter Fowler tied the team record for steals in a game with five. He also set the record for steals by a rookie. Way to go Dex.

TomWalshdexter(1)close.JPG

                  Dexter Fowler by Tom Walsh

A Tale of Two Days- Rox Satisfy My Expectation Level In Game Two

Day 97

Phoenix

I won’t lie. My expectations were to walk into Chase Field today and watch the first no-hitter of the season. Ubaldo Jimenez was on the mound and if you haven’t read my blog, I am high on this guy. Way high. So high in fact, it may have been unfair to think he would throw a no-hitter. Seven scoreless innings would have to do.

I should have known this day was going to be different from opening day. Standing inside Chase Field, I could see balls flying deep into the outfield during batting practice. There was no feeling of sadness from the loss the day before, and in fact it was pretty easy going- work like. I liked it and had that good feeling. The starting pitcher who hadn’t lasted more than 55 pitches was even happy, and I was pleased, as you have to let those losses go.

 

cookhappy.JPGWatching the practice getting going, I stood idly by as a smiling Dexter Fowler warmed up with starting center fielder Ryan Spilborghs. Then it happened. Dexter might tell you Spilly didn’t reach high enough for the ball and Spilly may tell you the ball was overthrown. Either way, a ball thrown from Fowler went into the stands right next to me and tagged a D’back fan. Got em good. Hit him so hard the paramedic came over and asked the guy to wiggle his hand so he could evaluate him. 

Dexter was nice though. He came over apologized to the fan and gave him a ball.

dexter.JPG The ball that hit him rolled into the stands.

ball1.JPG

But don’t think I let an opportunity slip by with this “blessed” ball…It quickly found a use.

ball2.JPG

One man’s trash- aka ball injury- another man’s autograph ball. Thanks Cookie.

With the roof open and a beautiful 75 degrees, the stage was set for a good ball game.

chase open top.JPGSpillborghs comes up to bat and leads off the game. A nice double would set the tone.

Ubaldo would take the stage and face adversity early. The bases loaded in the second, Jimenez has the d’backs Lopez hit into a double play. Nicely done and no runs on the board.

ubaldotom.JPGUnlike opening day, starting pitchers for both clubs held up nicely. The Diamondbacks suffered their first hiccup in the fifth inning with a solo shot from Tulowitzki that would make the game 1-0 Rockies.

Again, in the sixth inning Ubaldo would face adversity. With runners at first and second with two outs, he managed to strike out catcher Miguel Montero. Tragedy avoided again.

Ian Stewart and Todd Helton would both drive in runs at separate times adding to the Rockies lead 3-0.

Manny Corpas would come in to set-up in the eigth and look like the closer he could easily be. Huston Street would come in to close down the ninth and the expectations I had for opening day came true on day two.

The Rockies got their first win of the season and I got a good feeling back deep down. This was the squad I knew was there and I hope tomorrow the same squad shows up to take the series on the way back to Denver.

Stay tuned to the blog because there is a LOT I did not touch on in my experience at Chase Field and Arizona in general. I’ve got some strong opinions on everything from the ball park food to the excitement of D’backs fans. I’ll break it down, the pros and cons from this fans perspective and what I took from this experience!

Tomorrow the game starts at 12:40 Arizona time and I’m hoping for another convincing win to come.

 

Photo credit- All Tom Walsh