The Rockies came into the 2013 season ready to show the world that they could compete. With all of the conjecture over the past few weeks, especially owner Dick Monfort’s praise of the offense as well as the bullpen before the season began, one would be hard pressed to find anyone that was willing to put the game on the line based on the teams starting pitching.
With all of the random opinions about how the team would fail to make the playoffs, be last in the division and pretty much race towards another failed season, the one constant that could be heard was that the team lacked starting pitching. That the rotation would ultimately fail any strides the bullpen and offense would make.
Well, it is only one game in, but it looks like the Boys From Blake have something to take their mind off starting pitching for the next few games.
Like recognizing a mismatch situation.
Like wasting our best relief pitcher on one pitch.
Like poor base coaching.
Notice none of that has anything to do with starting pitching. In that corner we are undefeated. With Chacin pitching an almost clean 6 2/3’s innings, the only run he gave up was a solo shot to Aoki over the right field wall. Chacin’s final line, 3 H, 1 R, 3 BB and 6 K’s was more than anyone could have hoped for, after his poor showing during spring. He also witnessed a milestone nary heard of last season: a pitch count surpassing 75. His 94 pitches (54 strikes) was very encouraging as well, because it showed Weiss has faith in Chacin, but more importantly, it showed that Chacin had the Brewers looking quite the fool.
Sadly, the faith and foolishness quickly shifted.
It only took a base-running blunder by Nelson in the fourth, and a bad decision by Weiss in the eighth, to keep this game from being a success to making it a partial failure.
The Nelson/Rosario traffic jam in the fourth can actually be put down to poor third-base coaching Stu Cole. With Rosario and Nelson on first and second, Dex hit a single to right. Both runners took off, looking to round their respective bases, but Cole (almost home himself), put up the stop-sign late for Rosario and either Nelson didn’t see it, or it was too late for him to react because both runners were caught playing musical-bases with only one base and two players left.
While that mistake only cost a potential rally from happening, it was the decision by Weiss in the eighth that most likely will be seen as the game turning point for the worst.
Chacin, one out away from finishing up the seventh, was pulled after walking Alex Gonzalez. Weiss brought in Matt Belisle and one pitch later the team was heading for the dugout. Unfortunately Weiss didn’t stick with Belisle for the eighth inning, deciding instead to bring in Wilton Lopez. That decision, coupled with Lopez being over-matched most of the inning and the poor decision to allow him to pitch to Aramis Ramirez instead of walking in favor of Lucroy, was the proverbial turning point in the game. Ramirez doubled home Weeks and Braun and the Brew Crew are up by 1 at that point and on their way to their walk-off win, by non other than Ramirez himself in 10.
It wasn’t all bad though. Chacin was great, not to mention CarGo, Tulo and Dex all finding their stroke and the outfield wall with HR’s.
That’s the great thing about baseball. You can have a few little choices that will change an entire game. And then you do it again the next day…
IMAGES FROM THE GAME