Okay, a great start and win from Franklin Morales is not quite that unthinkable. But, who would have thought that the Rox would be celebrating a great start from a guy they banished to the bullpen without a key to the rotation bathroom.
How bad has it been? The Rox hadn’t gotten a win in a game started by someone other than DLR since school was in. Why did they blow up and go 3-18? Bad starting pitching (one word, Flande).
Well, for just the 3rd time since June 1st, Mr. Kerosene, the great implosion, gave the Rockies more than 5 innings (5.2) with only giving up 1 or less runs (a homer to Rene Rivera, the light hitting Padres catcher on his last pitch of the night). The 6th was closed by Brooks Brown who Kd the Padres young 2nd baseman Brooks Conrad with a nasty changeup.
Alas, as has been the case for the Rox, when they get a good performance in 1 area of the game, they fail in one of the other (offense, defense, or bullpen).
Tonight it was the Rox offense that was on snooze. Aside from a DJ single in the 3rd that was cashed in when soon to be All-Star Charlie Blackmon smacked a Tyson Ross slider into the far part of the 1st deck in right field, you could go get a beer and pretzel during the bottom half of the inning. Blackmon’s homer looked like more of golf shot but it was nice and deep and really the only hard hit ball against Ross in his 6 innings aside from 2 liners by Corey Dickerson, one snagged and the other almost by the Conrad at 2nd.
Tyson Ross was tough on the Rockies, allowing only 4 other hits, while King 6 Rockies. At 6’6” his 95 mph fastball and hard slider really are nasty pitches. The former 2nd round pick traded to the Padres last year came in with a sub 3 ERA after 18 starts, and yes, its San Diego, but for him the stats are legit. Just 2 years ago he was 2-11 with a 6.50 ERA (i.e., he could have pitched for the Rockies in June and July), and now he is an All Star. He looked it tonight.
But truthfully, Morales matched Ross pitch for pitch. His 93mph fastball was cutting in hard to the right handers, his slider was back-footing it against righties as well, and his curve was as nasty as it has ever been. Morales has pitched well against the Pads this season, with this outing probably only 2nd in quality to the one he threw in April vs the Padres in San Diego. That is 2 straight 1 run games he has given the Rockies, though the 5 and 5.2 is still way too little. Morales even when he is on still gets too high of pitch counts – some of it strikeouts and more of it 3 ball counts and a lack of aggression when he gets 2 strikes on hitter. Clearly, they want Morales in the pen, not the starting rotation, but at this point…they have to love getting these past two starts from Morales.
Since his demotion to the bullpen he had two bad outings, allowing 4 runs in 3 innings at SF vs the Giants and 3 runs in 2 innings vs the Cards at home. In his other relief appearances, 9 innings of shutout ball. With a long-man, that isn’t too bad. In fact in all of his appearances less than 2 innings he has allowed no runs. But enough about Morales….because I know most people here want he shipped out of town, tar and feathered with a ticket to Edmonton.
Leading 2-1 going into the 7th was great. But then comes the hard part…9 more outs from the rest of the bullpen. The 7th was handed to Rex Brothers and as has been the course this season, he was great against some hitters, and entirely hittable against others. But with men on 1st and 2nd and on a 1 ball count he got Chase Headly to line out to center (talk about a guy who should have signed an extension two years ago).
Adam Ottovino got the call in the 8th, getting the 1st out on a fly-ball, allowing a single to pinch hitter Jake Goebbert, who advanced to 2nd on what has to be the 3 millionth passed-ball of Wilin Rosario’s career (later changed to wild pitch, but still, got to stop those). He came back and struck out Rivera, and then got Brooks Conrad to roll out to Morneau at 1st on his first pitch (a 95 mph fastball on the outer corner, great pitch). Inning over, Rosario saved. On to the 9th.
Hawkins came out for the 9th. He got a fly ball to Blackmon that fortunately fell out of the lights and was able to get the ball. Then a chopper to SS and Tulo had to throw a dart to get speedy Ameriesta. With 2 outs out stepped Mr. Late Night, Seth Smith. He lined a 1 strike pitch to left field where Corey Dickerson made a great dive and catch and…as he rolled over it looked like he really hurt his wrist as the ball popped out. Seth got to 2nd and the trainers came running out. Why not, we need more injuries right, especially with CarGo coming back. He stayed in but I am sure we will hear more on him Wednesday.
In stepped Chris Denorfia, who has tormented the Rockies both this evening and this year. But on the very first pitch he flied out to Blackmon.
And that folks is what is called a win! And when someone other than Jorge De La Rosa pitched…the first time in 22 games.
So a good old fashioned win based on good starting pitching, great pen work, and a big fly (plus good defense from a few players…and some not so good). Wow, if they had been doing that the past 6 weeks they might still be playing for something other than the #1 pick in the draft.
So…Rockies Win, Rockies Win! But, if we want the overall #1 pick, isn’t that a bad thing?
For my first game back in 6 weeks, it was a treat, and I can happily say – GO ROX!