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Rockies hold on late for 8-7 win

Rockies

A pitcher’s duel suddenly turned into an offensive explosion on Tuesday night as the Rockies held on to beat the Diamondbacks 8-7 at Coors Field.

Kyle Freeland started for Colorado and went seven innings allowing two runs and was matched by Arizona’s Zac Gallen who did the same. But in the bottom of the eighth inning the Rockies sent 11 men to the plate, scored six runs and took an 8-2 lead into the ninth. Game over right? Not quite.

Phillip Diehl and Jairo Díaz came on for the Rockies and combined to give up five runs on six hits and a walk, while recording just two outs. Enter Daniel Bard who finished things off for his first save since 2011 by striking out Stephen Vogt.

Charlie Blackmon continued his red-hot hitting with another three-hit performance to run his hitting streak to 15 games, two shy of his career best. He’s now hitting .500 on the season, promoting MLB.com to ponder if he could hit .400 this season.

  • Colorado looks to win its sixth straight series to start the season in the rubber match this afternoon (1:10 p.m., AT&T Sports Net, 850 AM) as Antonio Senzatela (3-0, 2.65 ERA) takes on Arizona’s Luke Weaver (0-3, 12.19 ERA).
  • There has been a noticeable drop in the velocity of Jon Gray’s four-seam fastball this season. Last year he averaged 96.0 mph with his four-seamer, so far this year it’s been 93.8 mph. Gray’s not sure what the problem is though because he said he feels fine.

Avalanche

The waiting is finally over for the Colorado Avalanche and their fans, Game 1 of the Stanley Cup playoffs is today (3:30 p.m., NBCSN, Altitude, 92.5 FM) against the Arizona Coyotes.

And the best news is fans throughout the Denver metro area will be able to watch it, as well as the rest of the Avs first-round series thanks to a decision by Altitude to not blackout the nationally televised broadcast. The same will be true for the Nuggets first-round playoff series as well.

Avalanche-Coyotes playoff schedule

DateTime (MT)Home team
Wed., Aug. 123:30 p.m.Colorado
Fri., Aug. 14NoonColorado
Sat., Aug. 151 p.m.Arizona
Mon., Aug. 173:30 p.m.Arizona
*Wed., Aug. 19TBDColorado
*Fri., Aug. 21TBDArizona
*Sun., Aug. 23TBDColorado
*If necessary. All games played at Rogers Place, Edmonton

Colleges

On Tuesday both the Pac-12 and Big Ten conferences announced that they were postponing the football season until the spring. While the Big Ten canceled its fall sports seasons for the time being, the Pac-12 took it a step further by postponing all sports through the end 2020, affecting winter sports as well.

For CU, the decision obviously postpones the football season, but also women’s golf, women’s volleyball, cross country and the fall seasons of golf and women’s tennis. The men’s and women’s basketball seasons, which usually start in early November will be pushed back to January at the earliest.

“The decision to postpone the fall sports seasons and to delay the start of the winter ones was not made in haste – but in light of current virus trends and the long term health impacts of COVID-19 remaining unknown, this was determined to be the best course of action for the health and safety of our student-athletes.”

CU athletic director Rick George said in a press release.

As it stands right now, 53 of the 130 Football Bowl Subdivision teams have canceled the fall season.

Nuggets

The Nuggets play their second-to-last seeding game tonight (7 p.m., Altitude, 92.5 FM) against the Clippers.

Denver currently is the No. 3 seed in the West and could overtake the Clippers for No. 2 if Denver wins its final two games and L.A. loses its final two. The Nuggets also could fall to the fourth seed if they drop both games and Houston wins its final two.

  • TheAthletic.com’s Kendra Andrews wrote about what Monday’s loss to the Lakers says about the Nuggets bench going forward. Denver’s bench outscored the Lakers’ 57-28 in the game.
  • For you sports bettors out there, make sure to take advantage of FanDuel’s incredible offer for tonight Nuggets-Clippers game. As of this writing the Nuggets are +87 at -110 odds. What does that mean? If you bet $50, the max allowed for this offer, and the Nuggets don’t lose by 87 points or more you’ll win $45.45. So yeah, it’s free money.

Broncos

Running back Phillip Lindsay spoke to the media on Tuesday and among other things he talked about how he’s “going to have a hell of a season.”

I’ve written before that I think Lindsay got shortchanged by the Broncos this offseason. Free-agent Melvin Gordon signed a two-year $16 million deal, while Lindsay will be making $750,000 this season.

I’m not convinced Lindsay isn’t the better back, but no matter what he deserved to get a raise for what he did during his first two years in the league with the Broncos. Here’s hoping he has an even better 2020 season and finally cashes in with a big contract.

High school

The Denver Post’s Andy Yamashita wrote about the decision Colorado volleyball players might have to make going forward, play high school or club?

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Rockies fall in Seattle, still win fifth straight series

Rockies

Without third basemen Nolan Arenado in the lineup the Rockies’ defense and offense suffered and Colorado dropped the series finale in Seattle 5-3 on Sunday.

Arenado was given his first day off this season mainly because he’s struggling at the plate (.185 batting average), but it was his glove the Rockies missed. Chris Owings started in Arenado’s place and made two errors on one play in the seventh inning that led to three unearned runs, technically the difference in the game.

Germán Márquez started for Colorado and went seven innings allowing five runs, only two earned, while striking out four. At 2-2 Márquez has half of the Rockies’ (11-4) losses this season despite having a 2.08 ERA.

  • The Rockies are back home for a three-game series with Arizona starting Monday. Tonight’s game (6:40 p.m., AT&T Sports Net, 850 AM), will see righty Jon Gray take on Arizona’s Robbie Ray.
  • Charlie Blackmon extended his hitting streak to 13 games after going 2-for-3 on Sunday. Blackmon is hitting .529 with five doubles, three homers and 18 RBI during the streak.
  • Despite having the third-best record in baseball, and having swept the team with the best record (Oakland), the Rockies are ranked eighth overall in MLB.com’s latest power rankings.
  • MLB.com released its rankings of the Top 30 prospects in the Rockies’ organization. Middle infielder Brendan Rodgers topped the listed, followed by 2020 first-round draft pick, outfielder Zac Veen.
  • Lastly, former Rockies catcher Chris Iannetta retired over the weekend.

Nuggets

Point guard Jamal Murray made his long-awaited return to the starting lineup during the Nuggets’ 134-132 double overtime win on Saturday against Utah, blowing past his minutes restriction in the process.

Murray was supposed to play 20 minutes in his first official NBA game in more than five months, but finished with nearly double that (39). He ended with 23 points, a career-best 12 rebounds and eight assists. He pointed to fatigue as part of the reason he missed back-to-back free throws at the end of the second OT that could have put the game away.

“You know I’m tired when I miss two free throws at the end. But it felt good. Not playing for months and then having that intense of a game, it definitely wore on me — the way I played and the way I shot. I just have to be smarter sometimes and try and get the easy one.”

Jamal Murray after playing his first game in the NBA bubble.

Denver (46-24) is in third place in the Western Conference, one game behind the Clippers and a game and a half ahead of the Rockets.

Denver takes on the Los Angeles Lakers tonight (7 p.m., Altitude, TNT, 92.5 FM) in Orlando. L.A. already has clinched the No. 1 seed in the West.

  • For you sports bettors out there, DraftKings is running a promotion for tonight’s Nuggets-Lakers game. Here’s how it works: First, place at least a $1 bet on either team. Then, for every 1,000 bettors who do the same you’ll receive a free $1 bet. Meaning if 20,000 people bet on the game you’d get one free $20 bet. As of this writing the current free bet you’ll receive is $35.
  • TheDNVR.com’s Adam Mares talked with former Nuggets coach George Karl and they discussed Michael Porter Jr., offensive flow and fostering leadership in young players among other things.

Avalanche

With Saturday’s overtime loss to the Vegas Golden Knights, Colorado will be the Western Conference’s No. 2 seed and face the Arizona Coyotes in the first round of the playoffs. The schedule for those games was announced by the NHL on Sunday night, here’s a look:

DateTime (MT)Home team
Wed., Aug. 123:30 p.m.Colorado
Fri., Aug. 14NoonColorado
Sat., Aug. 151 p.m.Arizona
Mon., Aug. 173:30 p.m.Arizona
*Wed., Aug. 19TBDColorado
*Fri., Aug. 21TBDArizona
*Sun., Aug. 23TBDColorado
*If necessary. All games played at Rogers Place, Edmonton

Despite neither team actually being at home, having home-ice advantage still is important because the home team is allowed to make the final line change during stoppages.

  • TheAthletic.com’s Dom Luszczyszyn and Harman Dayal did an in-depth break down of the Avs-Coyotes first-round matchup. They point out that in hockey in particular there’s really no such thing as a major upset, but it still would be surprising to see Colorado lose to Arizona.
  • Meanwhile, The Denver Post’s Kyle Fredrickson wrote about J.T. Compher and Colorado’s third line.

Broncos

TheAthletic.com’s Nick Kosmider looked at where the Broncos’ offensive line stands heading into the 2020 season.

With the O-line in mind the Broncos are expected to sign free-agent right tackle Demar Dotson, an 11-year NFL veteran who started 15 games for Tampa Bay each of the past two seasons. Dotson likely would be competing with Elijah Wilkinson for the starting right tackle job after Ja’Wuan James opted out of the upcoming season due to COVID-19 concerns.

PositionBroncos’ ranking
Quarterback28th
Running backs8th
Wide receivers16th
Tight ends15th
Offensive lines17th
Interior defensive lines8th
Edge rushers7th
Off-ball linebackers10th
Cornerbacks22nd
Safeties5th
Overall19th

Rapids

The MLS announced its scheduling for the continuation of the 2020 regular season. The Rapids next game is scheduled for Saturday, Aug. 22 at Dick’s Sports Goods Park against Real Salt Lake.

In all, Colorado will play six games in a 22-day stretch, three games each at home and on the road. Additional games and dates for the MLS Cup playoffs will be announced in the future.

DateOpponentTime (MT)
Sat., Aug. 22Real Salt Lake7 p.m.
Wed., Aug. 26at FC Dallas 6:30 p.m.
Sat., Aug. 29Sporting Kansas City7 p.m.
Sat., Sept. 5at San Jose8:30 p.m.
Wed., Sept. 9Houston7 p.m.
Sat., Sept. 12at Real Salt Lake7:30 p.m.

CSU Rams

Over the weekend The Coloradoan released an in-depth report about racial insensitivity and abuse within the CSU athletics department. The story including quotes from players, coaches and administrators both using their name and anonymously.

If proven to be accurate I don’t think there’s any question that AD Joe Paker and current football head coach Steve Addazio should no longer hold either position. Currently all football activities have been put on hold at CSU.

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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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Bol steals the show in Nuggets’ scrimmage

Nuggets

The Bol Bol show is officially the summer blockbuster we’ve all been waiting for. The 7-foot-2 rookie made his NBA debut on Wednesday as the Nuggets beat the Washington Wizards 89-82 in the teams’ first scrimmage of the NBA restart.

Bol finished the game with 16 points, 10 rebounds and six blocked shots. But that only tells part of the story. The opening act was Denver’s crazy tall lineup (PG – Nikola Jokic, SG – Jerami Grant, SF – Bol, PF – Paul Millsap, C – Mason Plumlee), with no player shorter than 6-8. Next came Bol blocking shots and running the length of the court and knocking down threes.

Bol was one of the top high school recruits and likely would have been one of the top picks in the NBA Draft last year if not for injuries that saw him drop all the way to the Nuggets in the second round.

It’s obviously way too early to get too excited, but especially considering it had been 133 days since the Nuggets last played a game Bol definitely gave Denver fans something to cheer about.

  • The Denver Post is reporting that rookie Michael Porter Jr. is en route to the NBA bubble in Orlando. With the Nuggets being shorthanded this obviously is great news for the team. Now the question is “How will Porter handle no longer being the most hyped rookie on the team?”
  • TheDNVR.com’s Adam Mares broke down various plays of Bol’s and it’s clear, Bol is overflowing with talent.

Avalanche

The NHL always has been more secretive than most leagues when it comes to injuries. In the past players were simply described as having upper or lower body injuries, the league’s new policy to help protect player’s medical privacy during the coronavirus pandemic is even more vague unfortunately.

Colorado Cale Makar missed his third day of practice, as he’s deemed “unfit” to play. Head coach Jared Bednar did not elaborate on when he would be available.

Although, Nathan MacKinnon did tell The Denver Post “I think Cale will be healthy soon, he should be ready to go.”

Here’s hoping MacKinnon’s right, because Makar was a big reason for the Avs’ success in the playoffs last season.

Rockies

In the Rockies’ second and last exhibition game Antonio Senzatela pitched well and Colorado beat Texas 7-3 on Wednesday night. Next up the two teams play for real on Friday night.

Senzatela worked five innings and allowed three runs and picked up the win. On the offensive side Ryan McMahon and Drew Butera homered for the Rockies.

Broncos

The Denver Post continues its look at the Broncos roster, going position-by-position, today focusing on the tight ends.

My thoughts: The TEs could be the difference in this team going 8-8 or stepping up and making the playoffs. There’s so much potential, starting with Noah Fant in particular.

As a rookie Fant had moments where he looked like a future Pro Bowler and potential All-NFL teamer. Unfortunately there were quite a few drops and missed blocks sprinkled in there. The blocks might have been more the coaching staff’s fault for putting the then rookie in bad situations. The drops on the other hand simply need to be corrected.

But if Fant continues to grow and they just get one or two other guys to raise their game a little the tight end position could be a major strength for the 2020 Denver Broncos.

Rapids

Colorado departed the MLS is Back Tournament with a 2-2 draw against Minnesota United on Wednesday night.

Colorado’s Kei Kamara got things started with a goal at the 19-minute mark, it was the 1,000th regular-season goal in Rapids’ history. However, Minnesota took a 2-1 lead into the break.

Rapids sub Jonathan Lewis scored the equalizer for Colorado at the 59-minute mark and that’s how things ended.

The Rapids were officially eliminated earlier in the day when Sporting Kansas City beat Real Salt Lake 2-0. Colorado is now 2-2-1 on the season.

CSU Rams

Colorado State landed four players on the preseason All-MWC team, the most for the team since 2012.

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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.

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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.

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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