Jussel: Blame SI for Broncos’ Monday night woes

The Sports Illustrated cover jinx strikes again.

Yes, even the great Peyton Manning is not immune. Three interceptions in the first quarter Monday night in Atlanta prove that.

And I believe I was the guy who said Manning wouldn’t throw picks against the Falcons.


Our ongoing check of the Broncos and their progress does, however, contain bright spots.

Losing 27-21 on the road in a dome is not a sin. Instead, we should make note the Bronco defense was again outstanding against a very good offensive team, making it two straight games of holding a foe under 100 yards rushing. The Falcons had only 67 yards rushing and 275 yards overall, numbers you should win with — but for those three interceptions in the first quarter and a Knowshon Moreno fumble.

Had the Bronco defense not played well early, this one could have gotten ugly on the scoreboard, one of those 50-to-not-nearly-enough scores.

Other bright spots included the rushing of Willis McGahee (113 yards and two TDs) and the continued evolution of Demaryius Thomas into one of the league’s top receivers (eight catches and one TD).

Now, time to bring on another beast of a foe with Houston invading New Mile High on Sunday, maybe the best team the Broncos will face in this brutal stretch.

Let’s hope Manning isn’t on the cover of Sports Illustrated again this week.

Trading Tulo makes no sense

Speaking of Sports Illustrated, the magazine’s website is touting the possibility of the Colorado Rockies trading star shortstop Troy Tulowitzki, picking up on a piece of advice Harold Reynolds of MLB.com gave the team earlier in the week.

The Sports Illustrated website, in its Truth and Rumors section, broached the possibility of a trade given the rapid ascension of young shortstop Josh Rutledge over the past two months. The site, as has been bandied about for a year or more, raises the question of, if no trade, why not move the oft-injured Tulo to third base, where there would be less wear and tear on his legs.

Don’t get excited folks. Ain’t going to happen.

The reasons are fourfold and maybe far beyond.

First, Tulo doesn’t want to switch positions.

Second, Rutledge next year will switch to second base, giving the Rox a superb middle of the infield with the added bonus of having a 20-home run guy (Rutledge) and a 30-home run guy (Tulo) at spots not normally reserved for power. It also allows the team the luxury of having players in normal power slots who won’t hit 20 or 30 home runs a year.

Third, Tulo has to be in the lineup to protect Carlos Gonzalez. CarGo sees nothing but out-of-the-zone fastballs and sliders batting third with no serious threat behind him.

And fourth and perhaps the biggest reason not to trade Tulo would be the return product, or lack thereof.

What would you trade him for? Another couple of pitching prospects, of which the team now has an abundance? A staff ace? Maybe a Justin Verlander or Felix Hernandez? Yeah, right.

Like Larry the Cable Guy would say: “It doesn’t make any sense at all. It’s like washing your truck before it rains.”

Rox to resume 5-man rotation

While we’re at it, let’s give out a big hurrah for the Rockies executives coming to their senses and admitting the four-man staff rotation and limited pitch count was a failure and saying they would go back to a normal five-man rotation next season, with the pitch count limit being hiked somewhere far beyond 75.

Jhoulys Chacin, who is once again hitting 95–98 mph regularly on the radar gun after surgery to repair a pectoral muscle, commented on the irrationality of the 75-pitch count this week when he said all it took to make you a failure was one inning in which you threw 25 pitches.

“You knew you had no chance to work out of it,” he said.

Chacin is one reason for optimism after this long, miserable season we have witnessed.

Also keep your eye on the debut later this week of Jorge De La Rosa as he makes his return from Tommy John surgery, delayed that it may be.

As for that five-man staff next season, here’s next year’s projected starting rotation for the Rox:

Chacin, a right-hander, opens the season. De La Rosa, a lefty, follows. Then comes a yet-to-be determined right-hander (the injured Juan Nicasio, Alex White or someone picked up via free agency or trade). Then it’s hard-throwing young lefty Drew Pomeranz, followed by soft-tossing veteran lefty Jeff Francis, who has been the team’s best pitcher the second half of the season.

Should we save our money for 2013 World Series tickets? Let’s hold off a bit.

Rick Jussel is a former Daily Sentinel sports editor (think Dark Ages) and Grand Junction High School journalism teacher who belongs in the Armchair Quarterback Hall of Fame, if only there was one.


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