Today the Colorado Rockies gave the fans a rare game that they can enjoy without pulling their hair out. Chris Rusin and Ian Kennedy of San Diego were in a fast paced pitching duel through six innings. CarGo had a big fly into the rock garden to give Rusin a 1-0 lead. The Christmas gift receiving season started for Colorado in the top of sixth. After two outs, Rusin gave up two singles and his only free pass to load up the bases for Jedd Gyorko, the most overpaid position player in baseball. “Balk!” screamed the second base umpire to force in the tying run. Rusin asked what was the balk for and the umpires quickly had a conference and it was overturned by the crew chief. Padres’ manager Pat Murphy got ejected despite the fact that the umpire crew did a noble job of making a correction.
The drama allowed Rusin to stay in the game and keep pitching otherwise the bullpen game between San Diego and Colorado pretty much guarantees loss for the Rockies. After a quick 1-2-3 six-pitch inning in the top of seventh by Rusin, Colorado took advantage of a once-in-a-decade drop of a pop up by first baseman Derek Norris. No sun, no wind, no running but just plain drop with two outs on a NoDo pop up. Ben Paulsen decided to go first-pitch swinging to eliminate falling behind in count and hit a double to put men on second and third. San Diego decided they wanted nothing to do with a leading NL hitter with good RISP numbers in D.J. LeMahieu and put him on with first base open. @theFortMcKenry liked Paulsen’s idea of swing at the first pitch and hit a bases-clearing double to give Rusin massive insurance runs.
On the play, Colorado received a third Christmas gift (the first two were balk reversal and dropped pop up). Home plate umpire C.B. Buckner called LeMahieu safe at the plate on a bang bang play. The Padres asked for a review but the call stood up even though it appeared that the shoe lace tag was made before D.J. touched home plate. The 4-0 lead gave Rusin plenty of cushion to continue on.
Rusin decided that he was going to finish the game on his own terms. He retired the final ten batters over the last three and a third innings after escaping the two-out bases loaded jam with balk reversal call. Rusin continued his dominance over the Padres contributing to a fifth run with his own bat. He led off the eighth with a single. Rusin not only showed that he can pitch and hit, but he can run the bases very smartly. He read Charlie Blackmon’s bloop perfectly and got to third without any hesitation. He came home on a Jose Reyes single to make the score 5-0. His hitting and running skills are impressive that the Rockies should consider using Rusin as a pinch hitter and/or pinch runner instead of going to the crappy bench.
Rusin definitely put himself in the 2016 plans with his quick pitches, efficiency, bat, base running, and very low BB/9 ratio. That was after he pitched well at New York against the Mets giving up just a run over six innings. He’s had several quality starts to his credit. So it was the first complete game shutout by a Rockies pitcher since Tyler Matzek last September. His demeanor on the mound says a million words about him. We have to give Jeff Bridich credit for picking up Rusin off the waivers. Now only if he can do some magic with the bullpen.
Thank you Rusin for covering up the team’s extreme weaknesses that are the bullpen and short outings by starting pitchers. Good results happen when you go complete game on just 106 pitches. And my favorite stat – just one BB over nine innings! Way to go, RUUUUSINNN!!!