AJ Pollack homered on Jeff Francis’ sixth pitch of the 3rd inning, and just like that, the Arizona Diamondbacks were done scoring for the season. DJ LeMahieu dumped an 89 mph Ian Kennedy fastball into right-field in the top of the 4th, plating Jordan Pacheco, and the Colorado Rockies went-on to defeat Arizona 2-1 Wednesday night at Chase Field in Phoenix to close-out a dismal 2012. Francis and six Rockies relievers held the Diamondbacks in-check for the distance.
Colorado had erased Pollack’s homer earlier in the 4th. Charlie Blackmon was hit with a 4-seam fastball leading-off, moved-up on Pacheco’s single, and scored from 2nd when Dbacks 3rd-baseman Chris Johnson booted a grounder off the bat of Wilin Rosario. Pacheco moved-up to 3rd on the error and came home on Le Mahieu’s chip-shot.
Francis was solid in his final start on his current deal with Colorado. He’ll look to re-sign for 2013. He allowed the one run on 5 hits, walked one and struck-out 3. Joshes Roenicke and Outman handled the 6th, Edgmer Escalona took the 7th, and Adam Ottavino, Rex Brothers and Matt Belisle split the 8th and 9th. Belisle got his 3rd 2012 save out of the appearance.
Arizona finished the campaign 81-81 a year after taking the NL West by surprise. They fielded a competent squad but never got on a sustained enough roll to seriously contend. The Rockies in contrast followed abysmal starting pitching into a bungling mire by mid-May and rode it to the worst record in the franchise’s 20 year history. To the dismay of its fans, Colorado Ownership stuck behind its long-tenured management team, and prospects for reform are ambiguous. Manager Jim Tracy, a year remaining on his deal, is to meet with Senior VP Bill Geivett over the weekend amid mixed signals from both men.
Many young players proved themselves to be major leaguers for the Rockies; none were starting pitchers. Where there were springtime holes in the lineup, they’ve been filled. The gaping holes in the rotation remain. There are assets to deal, but what was thought to be a firm foundation for future success was rattled and rocked by 2012’s dismal results.
Wait ’til next year.
A’s, Yankees Prevail; Cabrera Wins Triple Crown
The Oakland A’s defeated the Texas Rangers Wednesday night, completing an Odyssey that took them from 13 games behind to the AL West Division Championship. They’ll match up with Central Champ Detroit at 4:00 MDT Saturday in the Motor City. The New York Yankees pounded the Boston Red Sox, holding-off the Baltimore Orioles, who lost to Tampa Bay, for the AL East title. The Orioles head to Arlington, Texas to take on the Rangers at 6:30 Friday for the 4th spot in the AL tournament. The winner will take-on the Yankees at home Sunday.
World Champion St Louis travels to Atlanta for the 3:00 Friday NL Wild Card contest against the Braves at Turner Field. The winner gets the Nationals Sunday at home. The Central Champion Reds go to San Francisco for a 7:30 MDT match Saturday with the West winning Giants.
The Tigers’ Miguel Cabrera became the first Major Leaguer since Boston’s Carl Yastrzemski in 1967 to win baseball’s Triple Crown, leading the American League in batting average, home runs, and RBI. Cabrera played 3 1/2 innings and went 0 for 2 Wednesday, finishing .330, 44, 139. Mike Trout of LAAo’A was the BA runner-up. He went 2 for 3 in the Angels 12-0 loss to Seattle for a mark of .326. Texas’ Josh Hamilton was second in homers with 43 and RBI with 128. He singled to no effect in the Rangers’ devastating loss to Oakland.