It has been discussed here that we need to win with, first and foremost, pitching and not bats. The Pittsburgh Pirates have spent over 20 seasons not even sniffing post season play. The Pirates turned the tide when they started pitching. And using Walt Weiss’ mandate, dominate at home. Entering the game, the Pirates’ staff was at 3.12 ERA good for second in the National League. As a comparison, the Rockies’ best staff ERA in franchise history was in the area of 4.05 in 2009 during their last playoff appearance. The Pirates were a dominating 46-20 at PNC Park. They have a very good bullpen which enabled them to win the majority of one-run games.
The DeaLeR (for JDLR lovers) or the Big P (for JDLR haters) took the ball today and matched up with Charlie Morton. The game was tied after three at 0-0 when the Rockies for a brief four-batter stretch solved Morton for three runs in the fourth. Deej, CarGo, NoDo, and Ben Paulsen all never saw a one-strike count, attacking on the first strike they saw. Deej and CarGo got the rally started with two singles. NoDo who has been scuffling as of late ripped a double to score the first run. Paulsen followed with a triple for a 3-0 lead, but Paulsen was stranded at third base when the inning ended.
The DeaLeR tossed six shutout innings and allowed a leadoff double and his first walk to open the seventh. As WW was coming out to get JDLR, he got tossed by Jeff Nelson when he was visibly upset at the non-calls of borderline pitches. Gopherg came in and put out the fire with two strikeouts and a ground out. Daniel Descalso made an option C choice when he chose to make a difficult throw to first while his momentum carried him toward third base. DD had the out at third base by a mile. But Gopherg bailed him out with a strikeout to end the inning with two in scoring position.
Christian Friedrich pitched a clean eighth inning against right-handed batters except for a dropped pop up by CarGo. WW called upon Jairo Diaz for the third out and he got it after starting the batter off with a 2-0 count. John Axford closed out the game with the easiest effort of the year in a 5-0 win.
A little known fact is that the Rockies are now 21-10 in games that Descalso started. So he has the Cardinals’ influence of winning ways when he is on the field. What do you prefer – a player with awful stats and a winner or a player with stellar stats and a loser? It will be tough to cut ties with Descalso when he has another year on his contract unlike Ty Wigginton (cut him after first year of two-year contract).
The Rockies return home for a four-game series (one make up game) starting tomorrow against the Arizona D-backs. Hopefully the pitching staff will pitch like they did in Pittsburgh and Atlanta unlike they did at Coors Field against the New York Mets. They completed an impressive 3-3 road trip when the expectations were one or even none after the home disaster against the NYM.