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Rockies win opening series in Texas

Rockies

Kyle Freeland pitched six innings, and allowed two runs as the Rockies beat the Rangers 5-2 on Sunday. With the win Colorado won the opening series over the Rangers, having won two of three games.

It took awhile, but the Rockies hit their first home runs of the season on Sunday as shortstop Trevor Story connected on a two-run shot in the fourth inning and added a solo homer in the sixth.

My thoughts: It’s tough to read too much into any single series of a baseball season, but at least through three games Colorado’s pitching was outstanding. The Rockies held Texas to five total runs in the series.

On the flip side, the offensive’s struggles are pretty concerning as Colorado only managed eight runs in the series and was shutout in the opener.

  • The Rockies are off today before playing a two-game series in Oakland on Tuesday and Wednesday. Then comes another off day before the Rockies home opener on Friday vs. the Padres.
    Antonio Senzatela is scheduled to make his first art of the season on Tuesday vs. the A’s.
  • Righty-handed reliever Scott Oberg is doubtful of being able to come off the IL in time for the home opener.
  • TheAthletic.com had a nice breakdown of the opening series, including why rookie Brendan Rodgers didn’t make the team and is now working out at Metro State.

Nuggets

The NBA is back starting this week. The season is scheduled to resume on Thursday, while the Nuggets first game back is Saturday vs. the Miami Heat (11 a.m., Altitude, 950 AM).

Denver plays its final scrimmage tonight against Orlando (5 p.m., Altitude) before the eight-game seeding games begin.

  • On Saturday the Nuggets lost to the Pelicans 119-104 in a scrimmage, but it’s extremely hard to judge where the team is right now since in that game they were without: Jamal Murray, Gary Harris, Will Barton and Paul Millsap.
    My thoughts: Chances are, with there not being any home-court advantage in the bubble, the Nuggets, along with most teams, will be more focused on getting ready for the playoffs than simply winning games during the seeding round.
    Even before the break head coach Michael Malone seemed to be constantly struggling with figuring out a rotation and getting everyone enough minutes. That’s not going to change going forward, especially with Bol Bol playing well right now.
    The goal needs to be figuring out an eight- or nine-man rotation that Malone can trust when the playoffs start.
  • The Denver Post talked with Bol’s trainer and he said Bol’s basketball IQ is what sets him apart.

Avalanche

The Avs announced their 31-player roster, as did all remaining NHL teams on Sunday. If there was any surprise for Colorado it was that forward Vladislav Kamenev did not make the squad. Kamenev had played a career-most 38 games this season.

Colorado did keep a trio of young players, forward Shane Bowers and defensemen Connor Timmins and Bowen Byram.

Colorado’s playoff seeding games begin Sunday, Aug. 2 against the St. Louis Blues.

Broncos

The Denver Post continued its breakdown of the Broncos by position. This weekend the focus was on the offensive line and the team’s receiving corps.

My thoughts: Man, these are two groups that not only could make or break the entire season, but I think could really range anywhere from a major strength to a major weakness.

Along the offensive line Garrett Bolles gets all the attention, but at least he plays just about every week. There’s just no telling what to expect from right tackle Ja’Wuan James this season. And while Denver has done exceptionally well with drafting centers, it still is concerning if Lloyd Cushenberry is the starter in his rookie season, particularly in a season that might not include any preseason games.

As for the receivers, Courtland Sutton has all the makings of a No. 1, but behind him it gets pretty murky.

I think the Broncos got a steal in Jerry Jeudy in the first round, but rookie wideouts oftentimes struggle in their first year, Sutton is a perfect example. Second-round pick K.J. Hamler is in the exact same boat. Maybe both players will be great from the get-go, but it’s much more likely they both have some growing pains this season.

If everything goes right with the two position groups it could allow the offensive to start approaching the levels we saw with Peyton Manning in the shotgun, but just a couple hiccups and they’ll be average under 20 points per game yet again.

Rapids

The Rapids are left searching for answers after a very disappointing MLS is Back Tournament that saw them sent packing after just three games (0-2-1).

CU Buffs

It was announced over the weekend that legendary CU ski coach Richard Rokos will retire following the 2020-21 season. The coming season will be Rokos 31st leading the CU program that has won eight team national titles and 43 individual ones.

Golf

The CoBank Colorado Open wrapped up on Sunday with Mark Anguiano taking home the $100,000 first-place check after shooting a tournament record 29-under par.

Nationally

The Miami Marlins game scheduled for Monday has been postponed as multiple Marlins players have tested positive for COVID-19.

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Rockies Opening Day arrives at long last

Rockies

It’s three-and-a-half months later than originally planned, but Opening Day for the Rockies has arrived at last.

In somewhat unexpected news rookie, former first-round pick Brendan Rodgers was left off Colorado’s 30-man roster to start the season. Instead, Rodgers will go to the Rockies alternate training site.

As for the Rockies, they open play tonight at Globe Life Field in Texas against the Rangers at 6 p.m. (AT&T SportsNet, KOA 850 AM). German Marquez will square off against the Rangers’ Lance Lynn.

  • Righty Peter Lambert meanwhile saw his season end before it started as it was announced he’ll have Tommy John surgery on Tuesday in Los Angeles. Chances are likely his 2021 season is over as well.
  • It was announced on Thursday that baseball will have expanded playoffs this season, with eight teams from each league making the playoffs.
    The top two teams in each division will qualify and then the next two teams also will. The first round will be a best-of-three series with all three games hosted by the higher seed.
    My thoughts: I love this and which it would be the format going forward. How much fun is it when your team is out of the playoff race with two or three months to go in the season. The more teams with a chance to win it all the better.
    And while the one-game playoff was somewhat exciting, in baseball I just don’t think it works.

Nuggets

The Bol Bol hype machine was working overtime on Wednesday after the rookie’s impressive first NBA game, albeit in a scrimmage. But The Denver Post’s Sean Keller talked with former NBA All-Star Paul Pierce who quickly turned the hype machine off. Pierce said it was way too early to get too excited about Bol.

My thoughts: I couldn’t agree more. The final line of 16 points, 10 rebound and six blocks is exciting, some of the plays he made were thrilling, but it was literally an exhibition game coming off a four-month layoff for a pandemic.

Bol could go on to be Hall of Famer and we’ll look back on Wednesday as his coming out party. But he could also just as easily be the next Nikoloz Tskitishvili and leave us all wondering what could have been.

The other question is how much will we even get to see of Bol once the action starts up for real. Head coach Michael Malone was reticent to play Michael Porter Jr. big minutes earlier this season, what to say anything different will happen with Bol.

Broncos

Today Denver Post position-by-position preview focused on Denver’s outside linebackers.

My thoughts: When it comes to the Broncos outside linebackers everyone seems to focus on two players. Von Miller and whether he can return to the player he was before last season or if he’s now beginning a steady decline. And Bradley Chubb and how much he’s doing to help this defense as he returns from ACL surgery.

When it comes to Miller I think he still has a few very productive years left. Last year was simply a down year, they happen to everyone.

As for Chubb, there’s one important point that keeps getting ignored. This is Chubb’s second ACL surgery on the same knee, he previously tore the ACL back in high school. I really hope he never has anymore problems with injuries, but as we’ve seen with tight end Jake Butt once you start having reoccurring knee problems they can be come a never-ending cycle.

If, however, Chubb can stay healthy and Miller returns to form, this unit could be one of the Broncos’ best.

Avalanche

Before the NHL shutdown for four months due to COVID-19 the Avs seemed to be constantly battling injuries. As soon as one player returned it seemed someone else went down. Unfortunately things haven’t changed much for Colorado.

Cale Makar returned to the ice on Thursday, but Nathan MacKinnon was absent. Due to the NHL’s new policy regarding player’s health there’s no word on the exact situation with either player.

Rapids

The Denver Post wrote about when Jonathan Lewis is finally going to get more playing time. As of right now Lewis has been a regular sub and for the most part he’s been the best player when he’s been on the field.

As for the Rapids as a whole, the question now turns to what’s next. The MLS is Back Tournament is still going, without the eliminated Rapids of course, but afterward the league has yet to announce when the rest of the season is expected to start.

As it stands the Rapids head home and will continue training and simply waiting to hear what the plan will be.

CSU Rams

Colorado State wide receiver Warren Jackson was selected as the preseason offensive player of the year as voted on by the media.

Jackson, a senior, is coming off a season in which he caught 77 passes for 1,119 yards and eight touchdowns. It’s the second time a receiver has been selected as the preseason offensive player of the year. When was the first time you ask? That would be in 2015 when fellow Ram Rashard Wiggins was tabbed.

Golf

The CoBank Colorado Open got underway yesterday and as the only woman in the field Jennifer Kupcho got off to a solid start with a 1-under par 70.

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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.