Colorado got their brooms out Sunday with a 6-3 victory over Arizona to complete the sweep. Their record is even at 12-12 and they remain in a virtual tie for first place one less win/loss behind Los Angeles and San Francisco. In retrospective, Rockies is better off sweeping Arizona on the road then getting swept at home by Pittsburgh. That keeps them dominant in intra-divisional games against the NL West teams.
The victory would not have been possible without standout performances by the SPs in all of three games and NoDo. Brandon Drury got Arizona on the board first with a homer that barely cleared the fence in the first. The Rockies were no-hit by Shelby Miller through three innings.
Then the wheels came off Miller in the fourth and he could not complete the fourth inning. CarGo led off with a single and moved up on a passed ball before NoDo evened the game at 1-1 with a long single to right field. One out later, DJLM singled and Ben Paulsen, probably the most unappreciated player in the league, stroked an RBI single with two strikes on him. Paulsen now has well over .500 RISP average on the season. After Miller walked the opposing pitcher Chad Bettis and Charlie Blackmon to force in a run, he was pulled from the game.
Gerardo Parra hit a solo homer the next inning to push the Rockies’ lead to 4-1. Chad Bettis was on cruise control until the sixth inning when Arizona threatened with a bunch of seeing eye ground ball singles. Bettis kept the game in order by limiting the damage to two runs and the score was 4-3 in favor of the good guys.
The next half inning the 1-2 punch of CarGo and NoDo went to work to restore the three run lead. CarGo bounced a slow grounder against the shift for an infield single. NoDo followed with a two-run shot just inside the foul pole.
The most drama of the game occurred in the bottom of seventh. Remember that the bullpen was well rested due to length from the SPs Friday and Saturday. Bettis came out and promptly gave up a single that was a laser shot to left. Arizona won’t go away according to Walt Weiss and he called upon Justin Miller. Another single and error by Parra put two on with no outs but he came back to strike out the dangerous Brandon Drury. In the pregame meeting, the pitchers were told to not let Paul Goldschmidt beat you. With first base open, Miller pitched around Goldy to load up the bases. Boone Logan was asked to get clean up hitter David Peralta. Strikeout for out number two. WW says thank you, and gave the ball to Carlos Estevez in an extremely high leverage situation. He blew his 97 MPH fastballs by Yasmany Tomas who was tardy with his swings for a strike out to end the threat. It was probably the best bullpen management performance of Weiss’ managing career.
Chad Qualls and Jake McGee finished the game, but they were saved by NoDo’s wizardry with his glove at the hot corner three times to keep the D-backs at bay. Has NoDo already clinched his Gold Glove in 2016? He is leading the majors in home runs and RBI. As long as he keeps showing up on the highlight reels with both his bat and glove, he has to be in the MVP conversation.
Colorado will try to keep the momentum going when they go to San Diego for a three-game set. Jon Gray will be asked to give length to restore the rotation as average rather than worst in the majors. Over in Reno where Albuquerque was playing, Jeff Hoffman went seven shutout innings. The major league starters’ leashes are getting shorter and shorter. That should help the Rockies stay relevant in May and even later.
Editor’s note: I am going to be on vacation from Friday night (5/6/2016) until I return home Sunday 5/15/2016. So I ask all volunteers to write in the Sound Off section about each game. Except jeem will do the weekly post on Mondays (or Tuesday if no game Monday). Dr. C, can you do the pre-game and post-game posts??