After making some difficult decisions, the Rockies announced their final roster selections. Ryan McMahon will be the opening day second baseman – not a surprise given his outstanding performance this Spring. On Sunday, he received the Abby Greer Award presented to the team’s Spring Training MVP. The speedy Garrett Hampson got the nod as the utility infielder with Pat Valaika optioned to the Albuquerque Isotopes.
Tony Wolters will backup Chris Ianetta behind the plate. Catcher Tom Murphy was placed on the waiver wire where he was quickly claimed by the San Francisco Giants. The reserve catcher in Albuquerque should be Brett Nicholas, the only other catcher who has some Major League time.
Finally, the fourth outfielder will be Raimel Tapia and veteran fan favorite Mark Reynolds will remain with the team as the backup first baseman and big bat pinch hitter. In a related move, outfielder Mike Tauchman was traded to the New York Yankees for highly regarded Minor League southpaw Phillip Diehl.
The lineup that results from these final selections was on display in the Rockies 11-6 win over the Chicago Cubs Saturday night at Salt River Field. Charlie Blackmon remained in his leadoff spot followed by newly acquired veteran Daniel Murphy. Nolan Arenado batted third with Trevor Story in the cleanup slot. Then came Ian Desmond followed by two lefties – David Dahl and Ryan McMahon. Finally, Chris Ianetta rounded out the lineup in the eight slot.
This talented group is going to be the source of some serious heartburn for opposing managers. In Saturday’s game they scored 11 runs on 17 hits that were largely collected in the first seven innings before a major round of substitutions took place. Interestingly, there were no home runs but rather an impressive display of extra base hits.
We also now have a good look at the Rockies starting rotation and bullpen set up. Kyle Freeland will pitch the opening day game in Miami on Thursday. German Marquez will start Friday’s game followed by Tyler Anderson on Saturday and Jon Gray on Sunday. Chad Bettis has had an impressive spring and would fill in if any of these initial starters falter.
The bullpen alignment seems solid judging by the numbers in spring training. With Chris Rusin on injured reserve with recurring back pain, we’ll most likely see Harrison Musgrave or D.J. Johnson if a swing man is needed to shut down the sixth inning. They each pitched over nine innings of relief this spring with WHIPs (walks and hits per innings pitched) under 1.00. Disappointingly, Brian Shaw and Mike McGee continued to have spotty results this spring. So, in the seventh inning we can expect to see Mike Dunn, who has yet to allow a run in nine innings of relief, or Seunghwan Oh once he recovers from a neck strain. It looks like the man who will take over the crucial eighth inning duties will be Scott Oberg who in the 10 innings this spring has allowed no runs and recorded a WHIP of 0.60. Finally, veteran Wade Davis, who led the major leagues with 43 saves in 2018, will return as the closer.
That’s it folks, your 2019 Rockies team. They’ll play a four-game series with the Marlins then head up to Tampa for a three-game series with the tough Rays. By the time they return to Denver for their home opener against the Dodgers on April 5, we should have had a good look at how good this year’ team is. going to be.
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