Is In my pre-game post for Friday night’s game I talked about momentum. I also stated again the old adage that “momentum is often only as strong as the next day’s starting pitching.”
Well the Rox now have a 3 game win streak, and lo and behold, their third straight “Coors Quality Start” (a new special SABR category where a pitcher goes 6 in, allows 4 R or less, and leaves with the game tied or Rox ahead).
First it was the suprising Kyle Kendrick holding back the high-powered Pads offense.
Second, it was Jordan Lyles, arguably the best Rox pitcher so far (as he was through mid-May last year).
Third, well, it was Eddie Butler.
The Eddie Butler who shot up the prospect charts in 2013 thanks to his nasty sinker, good fastball, and high quality if erratic change-up (see again the pitch from the 2013 Future games fooling a future potential star). The Rox looked like they had a 1A and 1B future pitching stars, not seen since 2007 (Ubaldo and Morales…which come to think of it, isn’t a good precedence).
That Butler still is not pitching for the Rockies this year. He still walks way too many. He is only striking out less than 6/9 instead of his 8+/9 in the minors. His issues with walks (3/9 in the minors) has remained.
But slowly but surely, he is at least giving the team CQS, giving his team a chance to win, and if not a future 1, at least is trying to become more than a 5.
Butler gave the Rox six solid, allowing 9 hits as well as the 2 walks. He gave up a big fly that put the team behind the 8-ball in the 2nd. He needed a lot of good to great defense (guess who). But he left with a lead, asking the bullpen for only 3 innings. That is exactly what the Rox need most nights (and please, how about 7 or maybe 8 or, for heaven’s sake a complete game). Add in good relief work: Friedrich (with Brown closing out the inning), Logan and Zero all gave up a hit, with Logan’s being erased thanks to some very good work by DJ and Delscanso (who despite my whining, did a nice job turning it).
As for offense, well, we all know that the Rox have to have two big things on offense. They must be able to score throughout the game (too often they build a big lead and slowly it gets whittled down to a loss), and they must answer the opponent. On a night without Tulo and without a Corey Dickerson homer, the team they used doubles and singles to tarnish what was before Friday a near-perfect set of starts this year. After the homer in the top of the 2nd doubles by Monreau and Hundley and a single by some guy named DJ brought the team even. In the 3rd a deep (and I mean deep) fly to center by Charlie Blackmon answer the run given-up by Butler in the top of the 3rd (not good to give up a run after your offense scores, but it is Coors). They went down 4-3 in the 5th but in the 6th the Rox put together what has become the normative Rockies rally this year:
Rox 6-4, and Rox win! That is how they do that!
Only Descalso and Butler didn’t get a hit from the stating group (and DD got a walk). CarGo did something other than a roll-over to 2nd base. His double and single were both hit to left, showing that he was able to stay back and take the pitch where thrown. This team has to have CarGo because there will be nights when the pitching isn’t so good or lucky (see Matzek, Tyler for definition of luck). They need Charlie to get on base and hit the ball hard. And they need the bench to respond. While Stubbs is completely fouled up right now, DD gave Tulo a day off, played well, and some guy named Ynoa added another double.
Four days ago most of us gave up on this team. Three days later, they actually look like they are a professional baseball team again.
Isn’t that special.
Rox now 10-7