Categories
Avalanche Broncos Nuggets Rapids Rockies

Nuggets, Rockies, Rapids all in action today

Nuggets

The Nuggets are back in action today for the first time since mid-March, albeit just a scrimmage vs. the Washington Wizards (1:30 p.m., Altitude).

Denver is only expected to have nine players available to play as both Gary Harris and Torrey Craig cleared quarantine on Tuesday, but will not be available.

  • According to The Denver Post fourteen of the Nuggets players will wear messages on their jerseys supporting racial equality. Guard Troy Daniels added the team also is considering other ways of protesting, but said nothing has been decided as of now.

Avalanche

Nathan MacKinnon was named a finalist for yet another award on Tuesday, this time the Hart Trophy, the NHL’s MVP. Last week the MacKinnon also was named a finalist for the Lady Byng and Ted Lindsay trophies.

The Lady Byng is given to the player who displays the best sportsmanship, along with high standards of play. MacKinnon definitely makes sense for that since his 12 penalty minutes this season are the fewest among the NHL’s top 25 scorers.

And the Ted Lindsay trophy is for the league’s “most outstanding player.”

My thoughts: I’m guessing the Lady Byng is the only regular-season hardware MacKinnon brings home this year, but he’ll be perfectly fine with that if he adds a Stanley Cup instead.

Rockies

It was just an exhibition game, but still, it was great to see the Rockies back in action on Tuesday night. Colorado beat the Rangers 5-1 as Texas opened new Globe Life Field.

Colorado got home runs from Daniel Murphy, Nolan Arenado and David Dahl in the win. The team’s square off against tonight (6 p.m.), before Opening Day on Friday.

Broncos

Today in their on-going series, The Denver Post tackled the Broncos’ running backs.

My thoughts: I still don’t understand the need to sign Melvin Gordon this offseason. I think he’s clearly an upgrade over Royce Freeman, but I’m not sure he’s an upgrade over Phillip Lindsay. And the $16 million over two years just feels like a major overpay.

I would have rather seen Denver sign a less expensive free agent (Devonta Freeman perhaps) and use the extra money for some help on the offensive line or at cornerback.

And one thing the Post article does not mention is Gordon’s problems with fumbling during his career. It doesn’t matter how well he runs this ball, if he can’t hang onto it he’ll be a liability.

  • ESPN.com published its list of the most improved teams this offseason from 1-to-32. Denver checked in at No. 6, right behind Cleveland and just in front of Arizona.
    They ranked Miami the most improved and the L.A. Rams as the least improved.

Rapids

Colorado is back in action tonight against Minnesota United (8:30 p.m., ESPN, Altitude 92.5 FM) for what likely is their final game of the MLS is Back Tournament.

The Rapids dropped the first two games of the group stage against Real Salt Lake and Sporting Kansas City. Minnesota already has clinched a spot in the knockout round.

The Denver Post wrote about whether or not the Rapids have a discipline problem. And judging by the numbers, the do. Colorado led the MLS in red cards last year and in 2018 had 11 more yellow cards than the next closest team.

CSU Rams

The Mountain West Conference released its conference’s coaches poll on Tuesday and Colorado State was picked to finish fifth out of six teams in the Mountain Division. Not surprisingly, Boise State is picked to finish first, followed by Wyoming and Air Force.

New Mexico was the one team ranked below the Rams.

Categories
Avalanche Broncos Nuggets Rockies

Marquez to start opener, Broncos nearing return, and Nuggets and Avs news

Rockies

It doesn’t come as much of a surprise, but Colorado officially named German Marquez its starter for Friday’s opener in Texas against the Rangers. Jon Gray will start Saturday’s game and lefty Kyle Freeland will take the mound on Sunday.

Antonio Senzatela will be the team’s No. 4 starter and while manager Bud Black said Chi Chi Gonzalez and Jeff Hoffman have made the team, he did not say which would be the fifth starter.

My thoughts: What a difference a year makes. Last year Freeland as the Opening Day starter, and Gray the two years prior. Going into last season it felt like the Rockies had three really good pitchers at the top of their rotation. Now it feels more like who knows what to expect.

Marquez is right on the cusp of being one of the top pitchers in the National League, similar to where Gray was a little while back. The question is will he be able to take the next step and keep getting better.

I thought Gray was Colorado’s best pitcher last season until they shut him down near the end. But it’s hard to know what you’re getting with him. He still has ace potential, but doesn’t show it as much as you’d like.

And as for Freeland it would be hard to be worse than he was last season. And he doesn’t need to be as good as he was in 2018, but if he can regain that form Colorado really could contend this year.

Broncos

The Broncos got the all clear to start allowing their rookies and quarterbacks into their team facility at the end of this week.

If all goes according to plan players will be tested for COVID-19 on a daily basis during the first two week of training camp. If less than 5% test positive the testing will be allowed to be done every other day.

Nuggets

Both Jamal Murray and head coach Michael Malone preached patience when it comes to evaluating the Nuggets during the NBA restart.

The team’s first scrimmage is Wednesday, but both Murray and Malone talked more about the start of the playoffs, Aug. 17, for when the team will be firing on all cylinders.

My thoughts: This really makes perfect sense. With the season hitting the pause button in mid-March, it will have been more than four months until the season resumes. A full offseason in other words.

You don’t expect, or even want, a team to be perfect to start a season. The goal is to amp up and get better until you peak come playoff time. The goal for the NBA restart should be the exact same.

Seeding doesn’t really matter since there’s no home court. So the Nuggets only goal should be figuring out what they can to do peak at the right time.

Avalanche

Cale Makar was unavailable to practice for the second day in a row. The team has only said he’s “unfit” to practice and did not provide a timeline of when he might return.

Meanwhile, Connor Timmins continues to impress.

Nationally

According to various sources the NFL is offering the players the chance to have zero preseason games this year.

  • ESPN.com put out its NFL Future Power Rankings, looking at how teams are setup for the next three seasons. Broncos’ fan have to scroll all the way down to No. 24 to find Denver.
Categories
Avalanche Broncos Nuggets Rockies

Rockies, Nuggets and Avs all gearing up for seasons

Rockies

It’s hard to believe that Opening Day is this week … assuming all goes according to plan. The Rockies are scheduled to play two exhibition games Tuesday and Wednesday in Texas against the Rangers, with the opener set for Friday.

Colorado wrapped up it’s 15-day summer camp on Sunday and manager Bud Black was most excited about how good the offense has looked.

My thoughts: I’m definitely excited for the season to be here at last, but my expectations for the Rockies still haven’t changed that much from when Spring Training began months ago. I expect them to hover somewhere around .500, probably finishing a few games under.

In this shortened season though their playoff chances definitely have increased though. All it takes is a hot stretch for a couple of weeks and they’ll be right in it.

Nuggets

The start of the NBA restart is coming up fast as well. Denver has its first scrimmage this Wednesday against the Washington Wizards and while they likely won’t play Gary Harris and Torrey Craig were reportedly en route to Orlando as of Sunday afternoon.

Harris was the final member of the Nuggets regular starting rotation that had yet to enter the NBA bubble. No word yet on the whereabouts of rookie Michael Porter Jr. though.

Avalanche

As the Avs also near their return to action count Ian Cole among those players who believe Colorado has a legitimate shoot to lift the Stanley Cup in a couple months.

Cole, a 10-year veteran, begins growing his playoff beard at the start of the hockey season, in October, if he thinks he’s on a playoff team. And since the playoffs are usually over by now this is already the longest he’s ever had it.

Here’s hoping he still is growing it in late August.

Broncos

The Denver Post began its series previewing the Broncos position groups. First up, the quarterbacks.

My thoughts: I’m cautiously optimistic that Drew Lock will be the long-term answer at quarterback for Denver. I don’t think that means he’s going to be be like Lamar Jackson and Patrick Mahomes and win the MVP award in his second year in the league however.

I do love the fact that John Elway and company have surrounded him with talent though. I also am hopeful that even if he struggles some this year, which is highly likely, that he still gets another year or two to learn and grow into the position.

Nationally

ESPN previews the upcoming MLB season with a look at the stars and storylines they’re most excited to see. Not surprisingly no Rockies players made the list.

Categories
Broncos CU Buffs Golf Nuggets Rapids Rockies

Rapids lose, Rockies make moves and more

A look at the latest news with the Rapids, Rockies, Broncos, Nuggets, CU men’s basketball and more for Saturday, July 18.

Rapids

Well, at least the Rapids made it exciting in their MLS is Back Tournament match against Sporting Kansas City on Friday night, unfortunately Colorado fell 3-2.

The Rapids took an early 1-0 lead just six minutes in, but in the second half things got a little crazy. Danny Wilson got a red card in the 61st minute and Kansas City tied the score shortly thereafter. Then the Jack Price was sent off just a little while after that. Playing down two men the Rapids allowed another goal to fall behind 2-1.

Colorado wasn’t done yet though, despite playing 9-on-11 Jonathan Lewis netted the equalizer in the 84th minute. It was all for naught though as Sporting added its third goal during stoppage time to pick up the win.

Next up for the Rapids is likely their final game of the tournament on Wednesday against Minnesota United FC.

Rockies

I wrote yesterday about how the Rockies needed to be careful with how they use relievers Bryan Shaw and Jake McGee this season. If either reached a certain number of appearances their contracts for 2021 would become player options. Well, the Rockies made sure that wasn’t going to happen as they released both pitchers on Friday.

Colorado signed Shaw and McGee to matching 3-year, $27 million deals after the 2017 season. The Rockies will have to pay both players 2020 salaries, as well as their $2 million buyouts for next year.

My thoughts: It can be hard to predict how relievers will fare from year to year, which made the signings so questionable at the time. Obviously, in hindsight, they were in fact pretty terrible signings by general manager Jeff Bridich, but at least they finally decided enough is enough.

I wonder if Colorado would have been willing to do the same if this was a regular year and they were on the hook for the entire $18 million for both players. Because remember, with the shortened season the players salaries are equally reduced.

  • In other news, the Rockies announced right-hander Daniel Bard will make the team as well as outfielder Matt Kemp and utilityman Chris Owings. Bard hasn’t pitched in the big leagues in seven years.
  • In Friday’s scrimmage Charlie Blackmon looked sharp. He singled in his first at-bat and then added a home run to right off Antonio Senzetela.
  • The Athletic broke down all the Friday news as well.

Nuggets

This should be an exciting time for Nuggets fan, unfortunately the question of who’s available to play when the NBA restarts at the end of this month makes it much less so.

Earlier this week Troy Daniel estimated there were 8-to-10 players in Orlando, but no one has officially said who all is missing. The Denver Post has a list of all the players confirmed to be down there: Nikola Jokic, Jamal Murray, Will Barton, Paul Millsap, Noah Vonleh, Tyler Cook, Mason Plumle, Jerami Grant, Daniels and Bol Bol.

My thoughts: This just feels like such a Nuggets thing to have happen. For a team that’s never moved up in the NBA Lottery, watched stars leave as free agents and suffered its fair share of career ending injuries to its stars, nothing really surprises me.

It’s going to be a crazy postseason, and as much as I think one of the L.A. teams will come out of the West, the Nuggets still would have a chance if they were firing on all cylinders. But if they’re short-handed just getting out of the first round will be an accomplishment.

Broncos

The Athletic breaks down what’s next for the Broncos and Justin Simmons, after the two sides failed to reach an agreement on a long-term contract this week.

CU Buffs men’s basketball

Colorado added it’s second commit for the 2021 class in the form of four-star Quincy Allen. Allen is one of the top players in the country, he’s ranked No. 48 overall by 247Sports.

Allen is a 6-foot-7 forward and reportedly had offers from at least 16 other schools including Georgetown, Louisville, Syracuse and Michigan.

According to 247Sports rankings the Buffs now have the No. 6 recruiting class in the country for 2021. CU’s other commit for the class is No. 70th ranked Lawson Lovering, also a four-star.

Golf

The Colorado Open at Green Valley Ranch starts next Thursday, July 23 and yesterday it added three big-name players to the field: Jennifer Kupcho, Chris DiMarco and Brandon McManus.

Kupcho is from Westminster and is currently on the LPGA Tour. She won the Colorado Women’s Open earlier this year and will be the second woman to play in the tournament.

DiMarco is a former PGA Tour player, who’s biggest claim to fame is losing to Tiger Woods in the 2005 Masters. That’s the one Tiger chipped in on the 16th hole, before eventually beating DiMarco in a playoff.

And McManus is obviously the Denver Broncos kicker. According to The Denver Post he’s a 2.2 handicap and coming off a 37th-place finish in the American Century Celebrity Tournament last week in Lake Tahoe.

Unfortunately, if you were hoping to go watch the action next week, you won’t be able to. The event is closed to fans due to COVID-19.

Categories
Avalanche Broncos CU Buffs Nuggets Rapids Rockies

Friday, July 17 roundup

News on the Broncos, Rockies, Avs, Nuggets, Rapids and a few national stories as well.

Rockies

  • The Athletic has a story about what might have with relievers Brian Shaw and Jake McGee this season. Both pitchers have contract options built into their contracts that would activate if they pitch a certain number of games this season.
    If Shaw pitches in 15 games this season his contract for next year will become a player option at $9 million. McGee needs to pitch in 24 games this season for the same thing to happen.
    If neither pitcher reaches their respective number the Rockies could buy them out for $2 million each.
    My thoughts: Here’s hoping the Rockies don’t compound previous mistakes by allowing either pitcher to reach those marks this season.
  • Meanwhile The Denver Post wrote about left-hander Ryan Rolison and the fact that he’s had an impressive summer camp so far.
    Rolison was Colorado’s first-round pick back in 2018 and is now 23-years-old. Despite how he’s looked so far it’s not expected that he’ll be with the Rockies this year, partly due to the fact that he hasn’t pitched above Class-A. Manager Bud Black did leave the door open though that you never know what might happen, especially in such an unusual season as this one likely will be.
    My thoughts: I think this might be the perfect season to give a younger guy a shot. With expanded rosters and so many games in such a small window see what Rolison can do.
    I’ve never been a believer in going super slow with players. If they struggle then by all means send them down and allow them to work on what the need to. But a lot of the time I think allowing them to see what it’s like at the highest level gives them that experience and knowledge that they can’t get any other way.

Broncos

  • TheDNVR.com wrote about initial expectations for first-round pick Jerry Jeudy.
    My thoughts: As I was reading the article I came to the part where they gave a prediction for his stat line for a full 16-game season. They predicted 63 catches, 950 yards and 8 touchdowns.
    My initial reaction was, that would be great and I really like Jeudy, but that might be asking for a lot from him as a rookie. Then it was pointed out that those are the numbers that Julio Jones, Amari Cooper and Calvin Ridley — all first-round picks out of Alabama under Nick Saban have averaged as rookies.
    So, suddenly that feels much more doable. Personally, my biggest question has more to do with quarterback Drew Lock this season than it does Jeudy. Receivers oftentimes have a tough time their first year or two in the league, but that’s been going away more and more as the NFL becomes more and more of a passing league. Combine that with Jeudy’s superior route-running ability and really, the only issue is how good is Lock going to be this season.
  • The Denver Post had a fun story that if kicker Brandon McManus breaks the record for the longest field goal in NFL history this season the city of Denver gets a free beer.
    The deal is part of a partnership with Bud Light.
  • The Athletic also had an in-depth breakdown of the Broncos as a whole heading into the 2020 season.

Avalanche

  • Colorado got a taste of what it’s going to be like playing in an empty arena as they scrimmaged at the Pepsi Center.
    My thoughts: Obviously all sports at the professional level are going to be different without fans, but I think it’s being overblown how big of an impact it will have, at least when it comes to the NHL and NBA.
    The main reason is because those sports are entering the postseason. There’s no doubt that playing without fans during the doldrums of a season could be problematic, and we’ll probably see some of that late in the MLB season when you have two teams out of the playoff chase in September. But when it comes to team battling for a title I simply don’t believe a lack of fans will be that big of a deal.
    Having said that it will definitely negate whatever advantage the team with home ice, or court, would have had. But look no further than the Avs and Nuggets records last year at home and on the road in the playoffs. The Nuggets lost three home playoff games, including a Game 7, last year. While the Avs lost just one, but won on the road three times.
  • The Athletic broke down who has the inside track of being the Avs 12th forward, Tyson Jost or Matt Nieto.

Nuggets

  • TheDNVR.com wrote about how Denver is dealing with the strange conditions inside the NBA bubble.
  • The Denver Post focused on what rookie Bol Bol could bring to the table if he’s forced into action.
    My thoughts: Bol is super exciting because he’s 7-foot-2 and has such a unique skillset. Having said that it’s just tough thinking he can come in and contribute anything meaningful with so little experience.
    There’s no question though it’s hard to not get excited about the prospect of what the Nuggets could do over the course of the next few seasons if they were able to add Bol and Michael Porter, Jr. into the mix.
  • The Post also wrote about what Altitude’s TV coverage will look like.

Rapids

The Rapids take on Sporting Kansas City tonight coming off a 2-0 loss to Real Salt Lake in the opening game of the MLS is Back Tournament. Colorado is looking to get three points against one of the better teams year-in, year-out in the MLS.

The game starts at 6 p.m. and will be televised on ESPN2.

Buffaloes

Despite what can only be described as a tumultuous offseason, the Buffs are doing their best to stay focused and get ready for the 2020 football season.

Nationally

Categories
Avalanche Broncos Nuggets Rapids Rockies

Thursday, July 16 roundup

Here’s a look at the latest with Colorado teams as well as few national stories.

Broncos

Justin Simmons became the first player since John Elway took over as general manager to be franchise tagged and then not reach a contract agreement with the team. As a result he’ll play under the franchise tag this season, meaning he’ll earn $11.441 million. Read more about the deal from The Denver Post and TheDNVR.

With the state of the world right now it makes sense that the two sides couldn’t come to an agreement. And even strictly football-only I think it makes sense for both sides to revisit contract negotiations after this season, assuming there is one.

There’s no question Simmons is a really good player, I’m just not sure he’s enough of a game changer to warrant being one of the highest paid players on the field. In order for that to be the case I need to see more plays that actually, change the outcome of a game. When Von Miller was in his prime you saw that, when former safety Ed Reed was at the top of his game you saw that. But as of yet I see a really good, but not necessarily great play out of Simmons.

Avalanche

The Avs are one of the favorites to hoist the Stanley Cup, assuming the playoffs manage to start and finish due to COVID-19. Free-agent signee Joonas Donskoi is one of the reasons. And it’s not just people outside the Avs locker room who believe they have a chance to win it all this year.

I honestly have no clue what to expect from the Avs when play resumes. They’ll likely be the healthiest they’ve been all season, so their offense should be fun to watch. But I just don’t know what to expect from their goalies. And a hockey series can be won or lost by a team’s net-minder.

It’s fun to imagine how exciting it could be watching the Nuggets, Avs and Rockies all in action in August though … assuming that is you have DirecTV and not Comcast or DISH.

Nuggets

Denver’s Jerami Grant used his press conference on Wednesday to shine as much light as possible on the death of Breonna Taylor and the fact that the police officers who shot and killed her are still free.

As the Denver Post story references, Grant is one of the few Nuggets players who will not be wearing a message on the back of his jersey because he believes those messages are largely symbolic.

Head coach Michael Malone thought it was great what Grant used his press conference for and I couldn’t agree more.

Rockies

The Denver Post story today was about the Rockies having a wealth of depth at catcher going into this season. I hope I’m wrong, but I just don’t buy it.

Tony Wolters is more than adequate, but I wouldn’t put him in the upper echelon of starting catchers in the game. Colorado’s pitchers trust him and his defense is good though, so I have no problem with him as the starter, but after that I have questions.

Between Drew Butera, Elias Diaz and Dom Nunez I’m not sure there’s a lot there. Over the course of a 162-game season maybe one of them emerges as a solid No. 2, maybe not. But this year especially there’s no time to try and figure out who the right guy is.

It’ll be interesting to see what happens at the catching position throughout baseball with so 60 games being played in the middle of summer in such a tight window. Even if Wolters can play 40 games, that still leave a third of the season with a subpar catcher for the Rockies and if they were to miss out on the playoffs by a few games that could end up being the difference.

Rapids

Don’t forget the Rapids next match in the MLS is Back Tournament is Friday night vs. Sporting Kansas City.

The match starts at 6 p.m. and will be televised on ESPN2 and ESPN Deportes with radio coverage on Altitude 92.5 FM.

Colorado dropped its first match of the tournament 2-0 against Real Salt Lake.

National news

Categories
Avalanche Broncos Nuggets Rockies

Wednesday, July 15 roundup

Here’s a look at what’s going on with Colorado sports.

Rockies

Avalanche

Nuggets

Broncos