Colorado has been using a very simple formula that always worked in the entire history of baseball. The formula is pitch a good game and have enough offense to win. They did that completing a sweep at Philadelphia for the first time ever in franchise history. Jordan Lyles started the game, but Chris Rusin and Christian Bergman were told to be prepared to pitch if needed. As semi-expected Lyles aggravated his big toe sprain and left after 1.1 innings leaving with runner on first base (4-pitch walk). Walt Weiss chose to go with Rusin to change up from a righty to a lefty pitcher. Rusin allowed the inherited runner to score on a Cameron Rupp double to cut the deficit to 2-1. Vacuum gave the Rockies a quick lead hitting a two-run blast on the first pitch he saw in the first inning.
Rusin settled in and was in cruise control until the seventh inning. Earlier in the 5th, D.J. LeMahieu hit a two-run homer that went into the first row to expand the Rockies lead to 4-1. Rusin issued the lead off walk and a couple of soft bloop singles to load up the bases with no outs. Brooks Brown was asked to come in and do some damage control. He went above and beyond his duty to punch out three straight Philly batters to completely put out the four-alarm fire.
Christian Friedrich handled the eighth inning cleanly on just eight pitches. With Rafael Betancourt and John Axford not available, Scott Oberg was handed the ball for the final three outs in his first career save opportunity. He earned the save giving up just one harmless single. He has been the closer throughout his professional career so it was not new to him except at the top level.
Colorado climbed above .500 away from Coors (14-13). They also closed out the month of May with a flourish winning seven of its last eight games with the lone loss coming on a Cincinnati walkoff. They are 11-7 since they left Anaheim on a 11-game losing streak. It may not feel like it, but Colorado improved to 22-26 with a ten-game home stand coming up starting tomorrow against the Dodgers. Tuesday will be a doubleheader and they will be allowed to add a 26th player to the active roster for the night cap. It most likely will be David Hale who pitched last Thursday for Albuquerque. Colorado needs to reverse their play at home; if they can go 7-3 that will bring the overall record back to .500 even.
Jordan Lyles is expected to go on the DL. Jon Gray is supposed to start for Albuquerque tonight. That would put Gray and Rusin on normal rotation schedule for the next Lyles start in the rotation. I’m expecting Rusin to slide into the rotation while Bergman stays in the long relief role.
It was a great day for Colorado as they picked up a game on everybody (except SD who plays tonight) in the NL West. Santiago Casilla blew the save and took a loss against the Braves. Milwaukee walked off on Arizona in 17 innings. The Cardinals nipped the Dodgers, 3-1. Corey Dickerson was feeling pain-free and ready to take in a short rehab stint. He should be back in the lineup within a week. Punxsutawney Phil forecasts sunny and warm weather this week and hopefully the Rockies can be part of several conversations on the MLBN show.