Tagged: Todd Helton

Helton seeks happy ending

BY LESLIE MONTEIRO

This has been a year to forget for Todd Helton.

He will be the first to tell anyone that.

In what is likely his final year in Major League Baseball, this is not what he had in mind. He is hitting .255 with 11 home runs and 48 RBIs. Truth be told, he has been on a decline for several years now.

This shows Father Time does not stop for anyone.  This should be expected for a hitter that has played in his late 30s.

Last night had to feel so good for Helton after he hit two home runs and drove in six runs in the Rockies’ 9-6 victory over the Reds at Coors Field.  It was a blast from the past of what he used to do in his prime on an everyday basis.

It’s something he wants to keep doing in the final month of the season. It would be a great way to finish his career on a good note after a rough season.

Give Helton credit for not letting his woes get to him. It can’t be easy for a proud individual who accomplished so much in Major League Baseball.

The 40-year-old first baseman continues to be a paragon of professionalism by working on his hitting at batting practice with the idea everything will work out for him.

That’s why last night was rewarding for Helton. After watching him go down meekly at the plate for most of the season, he should savor this performance.

Helton is fortunate the Rockies are patient enough to deal with his struggles. Any other team would probably cut his playing time. It helps he has been the franchise’s best player ever, so he gets leeway from the franchise.

Helton is trying all he can to justify the Rockies’ decision to play him every game. He gets hits occasionally, and he has played well defensively at first all season.

Still, no one wants to hear it. It’s about what you have done for me lately. That comes with the territory of playing in professional sports. Helton has been around the game forever to know this.

Helton knows what’s going on. He knows people have been calling for him to be benched. There’s no question he read Denver Post’s sports columnist Mark Kiszla’s column about how he should be a platoon player.

He knows fans are not wrong, but he is a proud individual that don’t like to hear negativity about him in his final stage of his career. That goes with other great athletes in baseball.

All Helton can do is continue to keep working on his hitting.

Maybe last night is a start of a great finish for Helton. It’s what he is seeking at this point. That’s the only consolation he could have in a tough season.

The Rockies would love to see it, too. They like to cap off the season with Helton finishing on a good note. They want to see his work pay off.

The fans want something to remember from the longtime Rockie.

Helton can only hope last night is not a fluke thing.

The end is near for Helton with a month to go. He knows it. He is going to savor his at-bats and plate appearances in September.

There will be many testimonials of what a great player Helton is. There will be many platitudes of what a great teammate he is. There will be a campaign of him being in the Hall Of Fame. There is going to be so much to talk about with the longtime Rockie.

It will be an emotional time. It always is when the player is about to finish his career.

Helton will soak all of this in. But what he really wants is a great finish to cap off a great run. He wants to show he still has it even though his stats speak otherwise.

What Helton wants to show is he can work out his struggles through perseverance.  It’s a lesson he wants to show to his young teammates.

That’s why Helton is still playing.

Baseball is something he takes seriously, and he wants to show that he is not in this for the money. He takes pride of being a baseball player.

If life is fair, Helton will have more nights like last night to finish the season.

Contact me or follow me on Twitter: @TalkinRockies

Crunch time for Rockies start now

(David Zalubowski/AP Photo)

(David Zalubowski/AP Photo)

BY LESLIE MONTEIRO

It’s not early anymore.

It’s starting to get late.

There comes a time when the Rockies have to make a run in the NL West standings if they want to be taken seriously as a contender in the division.

Now is the time for the Rockies to take advantage of a homestand featuring three awful teams in the Cubs, Marlins and Brewers.

It’s now or never. It’s hard to believe the Rockies can recover if they have a bad homestand, especially with them playing 20 of their next 26 games on the road. If they can’t beat these teams, it’s hard to feel confident about the Rockies beating teams in the division.

It was bad enough the Rockies played awful Friday night when they mustered only five hits in their 3-1 loss to the Cubs.

It’s easy to wonder if they have it in them to do well in this homestand if they lost last night.

After the Rockies struggled to get anything going against Carlos Villanueva in the first few innings, they finally got to him in the middle of the game, and they went on to a 9-3 victory over the Cubs last night at Coors Field.

Everything went so right for the Rockies in this game that the fans received free tacos from participating Taco Bell locations in Colorado after the Rockies scored their seventh run, which is always the case after the Rockies score seven runs.

It was a night the team could enjoy.

It has been a tough stretch for the Rockies this month. They were last in runs scored. They scored only 37 runs overall in their last 14 games. They grounded into so many double plays rather than creating a big inning.

There’s no question the guys are frustrated. The losses and offensive woes wear on the guys after awhile.

Last night was a relief for the Rockies. Maybe it will get them going the rest of the homestand.

The fourth inning was what started it all for the Rockies.

The Rockies grinded out some good at-bats in that inning, and that resulted to Todd Helton hitting a single and Wilin Rosario hitting a double.

Nolan Arenado tied the game at 1 by grounding out to first, scoring Helton from third.

With Rosario at third and Juan Nicasio working out a walk, the onus was on Dexter Fowler to give the Rockies the lead with a base hit with two outs in the inning.

Settling for a tie was not good enough. Not when Villanueva was struggling in the fourth inning. The Rockies could not bail him out when they had the opportunity to break the game open.

Fowler came through with a triple that gave the Rockies a 3-1 lead.

That was the turning point of the game. The hitters relaxed, and there was no more pressure about coming through in situational hitting. The guys could play instead of thinking about failure or trying to do too much.

That’s why Fowler’s hit was important. From there, everyone followed his lead.

Carlos Gonzalez led off the fifth inning by hitting a home run that extended the Rockies’ lead to 4-1. Overall, the Rockies had five straight hits in that inning.

The Rockies scored four runs in the fifth inning to extend their lead to 7-1.

That inning went the Rockies’ way to the point Villanueva was out of the ballgame.

When a pitcher is taken out of the game, it’s a sign the hitters did their job.

The Rockies added two more runs in the eighth inning to maintain their lead over the Cubs to 9-3.

It was a night the Rockies needed. They had to get it going on offense, and they had to win the game. They can’t keep blowing winnable games and having games like Friday night where the offense was not there.

The Rockies could not be in a position to get swept by the awful Cubs this afternoon.

There was so much on the line in this game. They can’t start the homestand by losing two straight. If that was the case, this homestand could spiral out of the control by which guys would start doubting themselves.

The Rockies have been resilient overall, but now, they have to show their mettle at a crucial juncture.

If there is a bad homestand, the Rockies can call it quits for this season. It’s going to be tough for them to recover, and it would be hard to take them seriously.

This weekend is a referendum for the Rockies to show they can be in this race. It’s going to come down to their hitting.

They executed well in the nick of time.

Now, they have to do it again today and the rest of the homestand.

Their season depends on it.

Follow me or contact me @TalkinRockies on Twitter.

No reason for Giants to respect Rockies

(AP/Jack Dempsey)

(AP/Jack Dempsey)

BY LESLIE MONTEIRO

Rockies TV play-by-play announcer Drew Goodman said it best about the Rockies taking a punch in the gut after the game was over.

For the Rockies to take a 8-6 loss to the Giants last night after they blew a 6-0 lead, this was by far the worst loss of the season. It is also not crazy to say this was one of the worst losses in franchise history.

It’s easy to understand why Goodman sounded depressed and why this loss is demoralizing based on the Rockies losing three of their last 11 games after watching the ugly numbers of the Giants dominating the Rockies since 2011.

The Rockies have lost 10 in a row to the Giants, which included them being swept by the defending World Series champions at AT&T Park last month.

The Rockies are 9-31 against the Giants since 2011, and that includes a 5-14 mark against them at Coors Field.

It’s not out of the question the Giants can sweep the Rockies this weekend and next weekend at AT&T Park. What’s there to be optimistic based on last night and what has transpired between these two teams?

For the Rockies to blow a 6-0 lead and take on another loss to the Giants, there’s no question they expected the Giants to find a way to beat them in this game based on that happening when both teams faced each other. That had to be their thought process.  How else can anyone explain how the Rockies melted down and never recovered from it?

The Rockies hit three home runs in this game to take a 6-0 lead. Todd Helton hit a two-run blast, and Nolan Arenado followed it up by hitting a back-to-back home run in the second inning. Then, Wilin Rosario hit a three-run home run in the third inning.

Matt Cain had nothing. He was rattled in the second inning after he gave up a back-to-back home run to Helton and Arenado. He could have made it a 9-0 game if Angel Pagan and Gregor Blanco did not rob hits by making great catches.

Pagan and Blanco’s catches in the third inning turned out to be the turning point for the Giants.

The Giants scored five runs in the fourth inning to make it a 6-5 game after Jhoulys Chacin loaded up the bases, and the Rockies starter gave up a tying run and a leading run in the sixth inning that gave the Giants an 8-6 lead.

It’s hard for a pitcher to struggle with a big lead. He loses focus easily. That said, Chacin can’t be melting down and giving up hits and runs while losing command in the process. That was the case  last night.

That was a bad job by the Rockies starter. There’s no other way to say it.

For Chacin to fall apart, it’s easy to say that he is not good enough to be an ace. He is nothing more than a mediocre pitcher. He does not have the stuff or mentality to be an elite pitcher.

There’s no way he can live last night down.

The Rockies could have picked Chacin up by getting hits and creating a big inning, but their offense was shut down after they scored runs in the second and third inning.

This shows the Rockies are not good enough to rally after they let the lead go away.

For all the talent the Rockies like to boast, their hitters give up once the other teams take a lead. They don’t have it in them to rally after a deficit. It’s hard for them to be taken seriously as a playoff team by watching this display.

No one thinks the Rockies are a good baseball team. Last night showed why. Their roster looks good, but it means nothing if they can’t step up in a big moment.

Last night was a case study of the Giants knowing how to win and the Rockies knowing how to lose. There’s a reason why the Giants won a championship for the second time in three years while the Rockies try to fall out of their rut for the umpteenth time.

Watching the Giants beat the Rockies time after time is like watching a bully beat up a kid from the playground every single day. It’s sad to watch. If this keeps up for the next four years, it will be like watching the Harlem Globetrotters beat up on those poor Washington Generals.

It’s tough to watch when the Rockies are mentally soft when they play the Giants.

It was alarming none of the Rockies were ticked off after this loss. They should have been. At some point, enough is enough about the Giants beating them.

It’s hard to believe the Giants respect the Rockies. Why should they after they beat them time after time?

Don’t expect anything to change anytime soon, either.

If the Rockies can beat the Giants once this weekend, it will be an accomplishment.

That shows the bar is so low for the Giants’ punching bags.

Follow me or contact me @TalkinRockies on Twitter.

Giving up on Helton is foolish

(Mike McGinnis/Getty Images)

(Mike McGinnis/Getty Images)

BY LESLIE MONTEIRO

Never thought this day would come when Rockies fans want Todd Helton benched.

Desperate times call for desperate measures with Helton slumping at the plate to start the season. Prior to Friday night’s game against the Padres, he batted .095 with two hits to show for it.

This comes after Helton batted .238 with a .400 slugging percentage, .743 OPS, 7 home runs and 37 RBIs last year.

Rockies fans are not used to these numbers by Helton after he used to hit 30 or more home runs a year when he was at his prime.

With Helton being 39 years old, his numbers were going to drop. Father time does not stop for anyone. That should be given.

This is why Rockies fans want to find a better alternative. They feel Jordan Pacheco can replace Helton at first, and he can produce power numbers at that position.

They only want Helton playing late in the game as a defensive replacement.

Sorry, but that scenario is not going to happen.

The Rockies are not going to humiliate their longtime star by benching him this early in the season. He has accomplished a lot as a player to earn the benefit of the doubt.

To bench him after two weeks is out there. It really is. No one should draw conclusions on a player after two weeks of play.

It takes time for a hitter to find his groove. Helton needs at least 100 at-bats before the Rockies can make a decision about his playing time.

Let’s remember Helton is coming off a hip surgery and knee surgery. It was going to take time for him to get back in baseball shape. He has worked out this offseason, but it’s a long process. It’s stunning Rockies fans don’t realize that aspect of the game.

As good as Pacheco is, there’s no guarantee he will be great right now. He is still learning about the game, and he can struggle as much as Helton.

To insert Pacheco at first is not something the Rockies should do at this time.

Helton deserves an opportunity to get back on track for what he has accomplished in his career. Plus, he is still good at playing first. He can rob a base hit, and he can hold on to a wild throw from third. He can complete nice plays after a third baseman makes a nice grab and throw to first.

Helton’s defense is too valuable for the Rockies to make him a bench player. The starting pitchers want to see the longtime Rockie at first since they rely on him to get outs at that position.

This is why Rockies manager Walt Weiss is not going to take Helton out of the starting lineup.

Plus, a manager is not going to act irrational like fans would when a player does not get off to a good start. He believes that player will snap out of it.

Helton will not be what he was, but he won’t be this bad. He will get his base hits, and he will drive in runs.

Helton showed why it does not make sense for him to be benched in the Rockies’ 7-5 victory over the Padres Friday night. He had three hits in that game, including getting a RBI that cut the Rockies’ deficit to 5-4.

Last night, he had two hits, and he drove in a run in the Rockies’ 9-5 victory over the Padres.

These last two games should make Weiss know that he can trust Helton to come through.

This should also stop the critics for calling Helton to be benched.

It’s amazing why fans would feel that way after what he has done for that organization. It’s not like Helton is washed up or stealing money. He does provide value for the Rockies.

Helton has earned the right to call his shot as he is about to finish his baseball career this season. Let him leave in a proper manner. Benching him does not make him or the Rockies any better.

Helton will be serviceable at the plate, and he is still effective in playing at first.

Those two scenarios are why Weiss is doing the right thing in sticking with his former teammate.

That is the right way to go.

Follow me or contact me @TalkinRockies on Twitter.

Helton’s DUI is no laughing matter

mugshotIt’s remarkable people drink and drive with the idea they won’t get caught.

It’s disgusting to see the arrogance these people have, and it’s appalling they don’t know what’s right from wrong.

We see people get arrested for DUI every day it seems, so no one should be surprised Todd Helton was arrested for DUI early yesterday morning. He’s no different than anybody else. He was stupid enough to think no one would notice. He thought he was above the law.

This outrage has nothing to do with a prominent Rockie being arrested. Helton could have killed himself and others while driving drunk. There is no defense for that.

The Rockies slugger has been around long enough to know the consequences of driving drunk. He saw ads about it. He has been lectured about what it means to be drunk. There is no giving him a free pass or shrugging this off. It’s inexcusable.

It is not a great feeling to be arrested. It is sad to see Helton’s mug shot. He not only embarrassed himself, but he embarrassed the Rockies organization. It’s something he has to live with. This is not a way to be remembered in what should be his final year in baseball.

Helton apologized for his transgression in a press release. That’s commendable, but he should have apologized through the media. By apologizing to the viewers and taking questions, he would display sincerity with his apology. He would have come off as a human, and no one would think twice about it.

By hiding through a press release, it’s hard to believe if Helton is really sorry. It’s only words when he types sentences in a statement. He is giving the impression that he was sorry that he was caught.

This is why Helton needed to answer questions from the media. This is why he had to apologize in a press conference. One wants to know what he was thinking driving drunk. Plus, he could have used his mistake as a lesson for others to not drink and drive. People look up to athletes as role models, so this was a chance for him to use his mistake and make this beneficial for others.

If Helton wants to make something good out of this, he has to make commercials encouraging others not to drink and drive. He can be an advocate against drunk driving. It’s something he should do. It’s good for him in a sense that he understands what he did was wrong. It shouldn’t be about being embarrassed that he was caught.

Once the baseball season starts, this will be a distant memory. Helton will receive a standing ovation from the crowd in what should be his final home opener as a Rockie. He will have the unconditioned support of the public, and he will be celebrated for his work as a Rockie. He can expect the same scene in his final home game at Coors Field.

Helton earned it for how he represented himself as a Rockie and a Major League baseball player in his 16-year career.

Still, his arrest is something Helton can never live it down. He knows it.

This is a good thing for him. He will realize he is no different than any American citizen when it comes to the law. He knows he can’t drink and drive after this incident. A person can be better through an error or mistake.

Helton should never get over the embarrassment of being arrested. He has to be held accountable like anyone else. He has to know better.

He has to wonder everyday why he put himself in that position. He needs to realize it could have been much worse for him if he did not get into a car accident. He can’t think this is over after his apology.

Apologizing is not enough. He has to understand the magnitude of his mistake. This is not an incident that he should shrug it off and move on. Life doesn’t work that way.

If it means Helton should be hard on himself for what happened, so be it. That’s the way it should be quite honestly.

Same can be said for other drunk drivers.

It’s remarkable people drink and drive with the idea they won’t get caught.

It’s disgusting to see the arrogance these people have, and it’s appalling they don’t know what’s right from wrong.

We see people get arrested for DUI every day it seems, so no one should be surprised Todd Helton was arrested for DUI early yesterday morning. He’s no different than anybody else. He was stupid enough to think no one would notice. He thought he was above the law.

This outrage has nothing to do with a prominent Rockie being arrested. Helton could have killed himself and others while driving drunk. There is no defense for that.

The Rockies slugger has been around long enough to know the consequences of driving drunk. He saw ads about it. He has been lectured about what it means to be drunk. There is no giving him a free pass or shrugging this off. It’s inexcusable.

It is not a great feeling to be arrested. It is sad to see Helton’s mug shot. He not only embarrassed himself, but he embarrassed the Rockies organization. It’s something he has to live with. This is not a way to be remembered in what should be his final year in baseball.

Helton apologized for his transgression in a press release. That’s commendable, but he should have apologized through the media. By apologizing to the viewers and taking questions, he would display sincerity with his apology. He would have come off as a human, and no one would think twice about it.

By hiding through a press release, it’s hard to believe if Helton is really sorry. It’s only words when he types sentences in a statement. He is giving the impression that he was sorry that he was caught.

This is why Helton needed to answer questions from the media. This is why he had to apologize in a press conference. One wants to know what he was thinking driving drunk. Plus, he could have used his mistake as a lesson for others to not drink and drive. People look up to athletes as role models, so this was a chance for him to use his mistake and make this beneficial for others.

If Helton wants to make something good out of this, he has to make commercials encouraging others not to drink and drive. He can be an advocate against drunk driving. It’s something he should do. It’s good for him in a sense that he understands what he did was wrong. It shouldn’t be about being embarrassed that he was caught.

Once the baseball season starts, this will be a distant memory. Helton will receive a standing ovation from the crowd in what should be his final home opener as a Rockie. He will have the unconditioned support of the public, and he will be celebrated for his work as a Rockie. He can expect the same scene in his final home game at Coors Field.

Helton earned it for how he represented himself as a Rockie and a Major League baseball player in his 16-year career.

Still, his arrest is something Helton can never live it down. He knows it.

This is a good thing for him. He will realize he is no different than any American citizen when it comes to the law. He knows he can’t drink and drive after this incident. A person can be better through an error or mistake.

Helton should never get over the embarrassment of being arrested. He has to be held accountable like anyone else. He has to know better.

He has to wonder everyday why he put himself in that position. He needs to realize it could have been much worse for him if he did not get into a car accident. He can’t think this is over after his apology.

Apologizing is not enough. He has to understand the magnitude of his mistake. This is not an incident that he should shrug it off and move on. Life doesn’t work that way.

If it means Helton should be hard on himself for what happened, so be it. That’s the way it should be quite honestly.

Same can be said for other drunk drivers.