It’s getting closer! Three weeks from today, we will be at Miller Park in Milwaukee to begin the 2013 season. This is usually the time in the spring where boredom can set in because almost everyone has been here for at least month and yet the season still seems far off. The drills can feel repetitive, and even though there are plenty of things to work on in the exhibition games, everyone knows they are just that: exhibitions.
That atmosphere is missing here at Salt River Fields at Talking Stick, however, for a variety of reasons. Having Walt Weiss as manager, along with the presence of other new coaches like Dante Bichette has created a freshness that something different always brings. The sting from last year remains paramount in the minds of the Rockies. The determination to eradicate that feeling dominates the thinking around here. There is no question that the players believe this is a competitive team when healthy, so their dismissal by the national media is a driving force. The lineup will mash; the pitching will decide everything.
Speaking of the pitching, I believe progress has been made in terms of developing a starting rotation. There was progress in the efforts by Jorge De La Rosa and Juan Nicasio to gain consistency in their last starts. Jeff Francis has been solid all spring, and there are good signs from Drew Pomeranz, too. Maybe best of all, Team Venezuela lost in the opening round of the World Baseball Classic. While it was important for Carlos Gonzalez, Jhoulys Chacin, and Ramon Hernandez to represent their country, having them back with the team rather than in Florida for second round, or San Francisco for the finals, works better for the Rockies, especially with Chacin. Jhoulys will be able to stay on his pitching schedule—he should get at least four more outings here in spring training—and he will do it under the team’s supervision rather than by long distance. Again, I know I am the eternal optimist, but this is going to be a breakout season for Chacin, in my opinion.
Boz Scaggs has returned to his blues roots with a recently released disc, Memphis. I love his rendition of the Jimmy Reed tune, You Got Me Cryin’. CHECK IT OUT!