Monday, March 19, 2007

2007 Preview: Colorado Rockies

The Colorado Rockies have hit Craig Biggio with more pitches than any other team, but they did not hit him in 2006, breaking a 5 season streak of Biggio-plunking. The Rockies have hit Biggio with at least one pitch in every season they've existed, other than 2006, 1999 and 1993. In all, they've hit Biggio 32 times in 29 games, including 5 consecutive plunks in 2005 that pushed Biggio past Don Baylor on the all time list (giving Biggio the so-called "modern record"). The Rockies would be the perfect choice to throw the historic Plunk 288, and they'll have 7 excellent opportunities to do it with three games at Coors Field, June 5th to 7th, and 4 games at Minute Maid, June 28th to July 1st.

Jeff Francis led the 2006 Rockies in hitting batters, but none of the 13 batters he hit last year or the 9 batters he hit before that were named Craig Biggio. Byung-Hyun Kim was their next most accomplished plunker in 2006, and is the team's career leader. He hit 8 batters last year, and 64 in his career, including Biggio's 268th. Also on the staff are Josh Fogg and Aaron Cook, who have each hit Biggio once. They could have two more pitchers with a past record of plunking Biggio, if they offer jobs to Dave Veres and Danny Graves. both are listed as Non-Roster invitees in Rockies training camp, but Veres is 40 and having arm trouble. Graves may still win a spot in the Rockies bullpen, but the Denver media doesn't appear to think that's very likely.

On the 3000 hits front, the Rockies have given up 164 of Biggio's 2,930 hits so far, and that late June series in Houston may be a good time for hit #3000 to make it's appearance. Biggio's 70th hit of the 2002 season came on July 1st, so why not in 2007 as well? Since they joined the league, the Rockies have given up hits to Craig Biggio at a .352 pace - his highest career batting average against any National League team.

In 2006, the Rockies hit Willy Aybar (twice), Josh Barfield (twice), Jose Bautista (twice), Barry Bonds (twice), Eric Bruntlett, Miguel Cabrera (twice), Sean Casey, Tony Clark, Craig Counsell (twice), J.D. Drew, Ray Durham, Edwin Encarnacion (twice), Andre Ethier, Steve Finley, Nomar Garciaparra, Brian Giles, Marcus Giles, Adrian Gonzalez, Luis Gonzalez (twice), Shawn Green, Ken Griffey, Jose Guillen, Joel Guzman, Shea Hillenbrand, Geoff Jenkins (three times), Kenji Johjima, Nick Johnson (three times),Andruw Jones, Jeff Kent (twice), Jason LaRue (three times), Mike Lieberthal, Jose Lopez, Ramon Martinez, Lastings Milledge, Damian Miller, Mike Napoli, Laynce Nix, Aramis Ramirez, Jason Repko, John Rodriguez, Aaron Rowand (twice), Olmedo Saenz, Brian Schneider, Mark Sweeney, Chad Tracy (twice), Omar Vizquel (twice), Randy Winn and Chris Woodward. They hit 34 batters in odd numbered innings and 32 in even numbered innings, but never hit anyone in extra innings. They hit 41 batters on the road, but only 25 at home. They hit one batter with the bases loaded, and 3 batters on the dates of full moons. June 30th, 2007, when the Rockies will be at Houston is going to be the night of a full moon.

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