The Perfect Script for Coors Field – Solid Pitching, Great ABs, Keep Scoring, Use the Bench
The Rox are back to .500! That is the most boring thing about tonight’s game.
Returning home from seeing great pitching in great pitching parks, the Rockies came home and immediately jumped on a pitcher struggling, showing no lag effect of the pitching they saw in the road. But for one of the few times this season, they didn’t get a lead and sit. Good relief pitching held them in check for a while, but they added 4 run over the last 3 innings. And as the bench players came in, they didn’t just jump on the first pitch but mostly worked counts to get the right pitch. Just a great night.
Tyler Chatwood, pitching for only the second time this season for Colorado, started a bit shaky, with a walk in the first, but didn’t allow himself to have huge pitch innings. He was pulled after 7 innings and only 88 pitches, less than Phils starter Pettibone threw in 5 inning. In the bottom of the first the Rockies did what they should be doing. They didn’t overthink their ABs, but had good eyes. Blackmon continued his tear, with a groundball single to right, followed by Drew Stubbs getting the start in center (with CB taking over in right field for Cuddy) despite the righthanded starter, stroked a groundball single to left. After a CarGo lineout, Tulo had one of those Todd Helton ABs, 14 pitches to work a walk, loading the bags for Justin Morneau, who drove one over the leftfielder to the warning track, which bounced in for a ground rule double. This followed the plan it seems every team has used coming in this year, giving up the balls over the head to try and stop the bloop hits. Didn’t work against Justin. With the 2-0 lead, we have not seen the Rockies doing what it takes to get in the other runs, and with men on 3rd and 2nd and one-out, you have to score at least one of those. Wilin grounded out to short, just like he did in San Diego Thursday to score Tulo, and then a man on 3rd and 2-out, they did the big thing, bringing it the 2out run as Nolan Arenado extended his hit streak on a sharp ball up the middle. Picture perfect.
After the shaking 1st, Tyler was dominate for the next 3 innings. The Rox added on in the 2nd after a Charlie B single on a line-drive to RF, a CarGo semi-intentional walk, Troy crushed on to the bullpens for a three –run homer. Again, all three runs here occurred with 2 outs! Yes, its home and not the road, but learning to score 2out runs is important, home or road. In the 4th Drew Stubbs singled with one out, moved to second on a CarGo slow roller and with two outs Tulo smaked a double down the 3rd base line. All those failed 2out opportunities from the road trip were being made up in the first 4 innings. Staked with the 8 run lead, Tyler Chatwood was just dominate. His one bad inning was the 5th, where after two quick outs Nolan Arenado had another one of the early season errors, his third. Not only did it extend the fifth inning, but the no-hitter was then broken up by a sharp single to center, followed by a pinch-hit single by former Jayson Nix that brought in the first and only run of the night. After getting the third out in the fifth, it was over.
For the next 4 innings the Phillies were hitless, walkless, runner-less. The two-hit, one unearned effort by Chatwood for 7 (still wondering if Walt Weiss was too protective of Chatwood, with only 88 and still looking dominate), Bettis for 1 and a nasty ninth by old warhorse Matt Belisle. In Rockies history I cannot remember too many better pitching performances by a Rockies pitching staff. We all want the complete game there but still, in 110 Rockie pitches, two hits, one walk and one guy reached by error (what would have happened if Arenado gloves the Ruiz ball hit to him and recorded that third out?). The Rockies might very well thrown a team no-hitter tonight. Even with the actual outcomes, and knowing that the Phillies are not a great offensive team (21st in total runs starting the night), I would love to see a conversation on roxwalkoff.com listing the best Rockie pitching performances at Coors.
While the Rockies were shut down in the 3rd and 5th, the team found the accelerator pedal again, scoring one run in the 6th on a two-out single by Drew Stubbs (who had three hits against RHP tonight), followed by a bloop CarGo hit and then another two-out RBI by…Tulo of course. In the 7th it was another run this time against Jeff Manship ,former Rockie thrower, where another rally was started with two-outs, on a single by DJ, a walk by Rutledge, and a two-out single Charlie Blackmon threw on a line drive to right again. The 8th featured some great bench play, as Barnes started the inning with a nice shot to left, Corey Dickerson singled to left as well, and then with one-out Wilin Rosario had his best at bat in days, driving a double into the left field corner, scoring both runners.
So again, what do you want from your Rockies? Great starting pitching. Check! Shutdown pen work? Check! Power? Check! 2 out rallies starting and 2 out hits for runs. Check and Check. Bench getting some great work. Check! Every starter got a hit aside from Chatwood, and in fact every non-pitcher reached base either by hit or walk. The most dominate performance as a team that I can remember in many years. We have seen more runs scored, but usually without the pitching. We have seen lots of hits, but I don’t remember that many 2 out hits. We have seen the pen keep guys off the board, but doing so in 11 pitches both times?
The great thing about baseball is that no matter how bad a loss comes, a 10-1 or 15-3 like against Miami or the White Sox, or the walk-off loses like last Sunday. All those loses hurt, but in baseball you get the chance to forget the outcome of the day before by going out and getting a win. Baseball is about a new day each day. So, we can really enjoy this great performance tonight against the Phillies. But Saturday is coming and none of those runs get to carry-over. But confidence does. Stubbs three hits against righties has to help. CarGo getting that bloop single has to help after some bad luck on the road trip. Tulo is totally locked in, which should carry forward. The pen is fresh, again something that will be true Saturday. So tonight isn’t totally forgotten. And of course the bounce of joy from such a team win, tells these 25 guys that together they can be dominate.
Rockies back to 8-8. Both the Giants and Dodgers continue to lead the division, but the main thing is to win the games you play.