If starting pitching is the biggest concern for fan and team alike, then the past two days should ease that pain a bit. Yesterdays performance by Alex White was only upstaged in impressiveness by today’s major league debut of Christian Friedrich.
Friedrich, the Rockies 1st round draft pick (25th) took the mound and turned a page in his progression from troubled pitcher to potential long-term starter. His transformation in the game was almost as dramatic. Friedrich shook off the game jitters and a disappointing first inning that saw him give up a lead off single to Denorfia, a walk to Headley and then after getting Alonso to pop out, another single to Guzman that scored Denorfia. Once he struck out Hundley to end the inning, and left the field, it seemed like his first game jitters were past him. The second inning saw him get the first two of seven strikeouts for the day (a team season high), fanning Parrino and Bass back to back.
His final line was very impressive: Six innings, five hits and one earned. The seven strike out and only one walk issued were, perhaps, the most impressive part of all when compared to his struggles on the road to The Show.
I guess it’s a dream come true…I struggled the last two years. To come up here and have some success, I know it’s only one, but it feels great. It’s a weight lifted off my shoulders. Now I can go out and there and do my thing.
If Friedrich isn’t a part of the rotation going forward, it isn’t because of his work on the mound today.
Brothers, on the other hand, didn’t have a very successful outing at all. His “truncated” day lasted only a 1/3 of an inning, being pulled after giving up a single to Parrino and walking Venable he was replaced by Matt Belisle. Tracy wasn’t about to let things get out of hand while sitting back and watching the lead slip away. He pointed to the pen and one Matt Belisle, the second of the three Killer B’s.
Belisle was masterful in bailing out Brothers. Back to back ground-outs and he was ready to head to the dugout, possibly to remind Brothers that he owed him diner for the bailout.
Matt did get into a little bit of trouble in the 8th, but nothing he couldn’t handle. After two one out singles he induced a fly from Hundley to center and then struck out a swinging Hudson.
Something sorely missing the past couple of games has been the offense. Today, everyone but Tyler Colvin got into the fun. Part of the excitement came with two VERY close doubles, each bouncing off the top of the padding in the outfield fence. The first blast, by Giambi, was to dead center plating one. Because the ball bounced straight back to Maybin and because of the perfect relay, Cuddyer was taken out at the plate.
The second blast that bounced off the wall was thanks to Wilin Rosario. This time the ball bounced past Guzman, but again went right to Maybin for the throw home. Thankfully, Anthony Bass brain cramped and cutoff the throw allowing Giambi to slide in safely at home in what would have been a very close play at the plate.
Both hits were reviewed by the umpiring crew and both were, correctly, called doubles. Giambi’s was a one run double, Rosario’s a two run double.
Before the game Tracy had a closed-door meeting with the players and encouraged them to take better, shorter swings and longer at bats. Not sure if the shorter swing message came completely through with the two long doubles, but something woke up a lineup that previously seemed asleep. Their season high 13 hits almost matched the previous two games 14 combined hits. Chris Nelson seemed to take the message to heart, going 2-4 with 2 RBI’s.
Betancourt put in a perfect ninth, striking out Parrino and Venable and then a popup by Kotsay sealed the deal. Game over, Rockies win!