With a 3-1 victory over the Baltimore Orioles, we can go over to Papa John’s and get half price pizza Thursday all day. By the time you get your pizza, Colorado would have played a game already in Queens in which the game started at an odd time of 11am MT today (Thursday).
After a disappointing loss in the series opener (3-2 loss in 10 innings) on Monday where the Rockies had the best chance to win at least one game, they came back to beat ace Chris Tillman whom have never lost at home this year Tuesday night. Tillman was attempting to become the first 15-game winner in the majors. CarGo had a two-run ground rule double to score the first two runs. Thunderstory followed him one out later with a two-run single to give Chad Bettis a comfortable 4-0 lead. David Dahl had his first career hit when he grounded up the middle. The Rockies held on to win 6-3.
Tonight the Rockies potentially got what they have been waiting for in franchise history (other than Ubaldo’s 1.5 year run). Jon Gray went out and shut down Baltimore. He even had a runners-on-the-corners no out situation. He did what all top of the rotation pitchers do most of the time – execute his pitches against the heart of the lineup and came away with no damage. His counterpart, Dillon Bundy, threw a perfect game through five innings making the Rockies hitters look silly. Thanks to Gray, the Rockies stayed focused and finally chased Bundy out of the game in the sixth when Nick Hundley had a no-doubter big fly to score two. Dahl followed one out later with a solo blast (first career HR) to dead center field to make the score 3-1. They again held on to win 3-1 and take the series from Baltimore. It was only the second time this year that the Orioles had lost the series at home.
The key to the series win was the fact that the Colorado pitching staff kept the ball inside the park against the major league team leader in HRs. Baltimore had only two HRs in the series, both (total 3 runs off HRs) which had come in harmless situations. The Rockies improved to 49-52 which is substantially better than expected by most Steamer-type projections. The main factors are Thunderstory, top-of-rotation performance by Gray, and Tyler Anderson’s pitching beyond the wildest dreams. It didn’t hurt that most of the regulars did not regress as expected. I’m sure that none of the analysts ever projected the Wild Thing to be the closer. Neither did they expect Dahl to be a regular in late July. (hopefully he stays in the lineup to keep his feet wet and learn a.k.a. Thunderstory)
The problem is…..is that going to cause the front office to think, “oh by the way we are contenders, we’ll hold on to the team and see how they play out.” There are still outfielders available such as Jay Bruce and B.J. Upton (traded). Plenty of bullpen been has been made available which makes it hard for JB to find a dance partner. At least we are playing for third place and as of tonight Colorado is at five games or more ahead of both Arizona and San Diego. We’re only four days from August and the Rockies refuse to go away although they have been a enigma often. They play down to stinky teams and play up to playoff type teams.
Anderson, Chatty, JDLR, and Bettis will match up against deGrom, Matz, Colon, and Thor in Queens. The four-game set begans tomorrow at 11am MT. Colorado only need to split the series to have a successful road trip. Then Colorado returns home against the Dodgers, Marlins, and Rangers (2 games). It that is of any help, I’m wearing my super-lucky Thunderstory jersey in the third game of the Dodgers set. The Dodgers have been playing well as of late even without Kershaw and likely will pick up a difference maker via a trade before they come visit Coors Field.