The Denver Post’s Troy Renck on the Rockies’ poor reaction to one institution’s prediction the club will show modest improvement in 2006.

On a day when the Rockies beat the kings, Las Vegas gave them a royal flush.

The Hilton, owner of the world’s largest sports book, released its over-under numbers Wednesday, picking the Rockies to finish with 69 wins, fourth worst in baseball.

The figure surfaced hours before Colorado trampled the defending champion Chicago White Sox 6-1 in the Cactus League opener for both teams. Not that it would have made a difference. The wise guys and the Rockies respectfully disagree.

For the team, belief is a wise wager. For Vegas, the Rockies’ inexperienced roster screams they won’t be much better.

“Sixty-some wins? That’s ridiculous,” Rockies outfielder

Brad Hawpe said. “That’s not even something we should or will think about it. We need to be thinking about making the playoffs, not beating last year’s record.”

That’s probably a good thing, since last year’s record only haunts the Rockies. They finished with 67 victories, hitting the number pegged by the Hilton. That prediction irritated the Rockies on many levels, namely because they were picked to finish last in the big leagues.

The prediction annoyed pitcher Jason Jennings (above), who started and posted two scoreless innings Wednesday, prompting him to throw a verbal sinker.

“Considering we were the best team in our division for the (final) four months, saying we are only going to get two more wins is a little disappointing,” Jennings said. “But who cares? Those guys have never played baseball in their lives. They can read books and go on the history of odds, but you have to play the game on the field, not some casino.”

Seems to me the Rockies are taking a little too much optimism out of their 30-28 finish ; assuming a sportsbook can’t pick the entire NL West to tie for first/last, what order of finish would Jennings have prefered?

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