Saturday, July 10, 2010

Rock Solid Recap: A Healthy 4-2 Win

This one was good for the blood pressure.

True, there were still a few hold your breath moments in the final three innings, but overall this ride was a pretty smooth one thanks to Jason Hammel and a good bullpen.

Jason Hammel

Hammel continued his transformation from coin flip to reliable starter with 6 1/3 innings of 5 hit, 2 run baseball. That makes 9 out of 11 starts Hammel has pitched into the 7th inning or beyond since coming off the DL.

I knew there was some talent here with Hammel. I knew the Rockies were very fortunate to have a guy of his ability tucked safely into their #5 rotation spot. I just never envisioned him taking a step to this level and then sustaining for an 11 start period of time. That's not an easy thing for the Cliff Lee's or Roy Halladay's of the world to do, let alone a guy like Hammel.

It speaks a lot to the work he's put in. I think some credit has to go to Bob Apodaca. And I really think Miguel Olivo is a big piece of the equation as well. He may even be the biggest piece. Just look at what Miguel did for Zack Greinke last season and is helping do with Ubaldo this season. Pitchers seem to take that big step to reaching their potential when Olivo's involved.

Chris Iannetta

Tonight some credit goes to Chris Iannetta as well. I didn't know if he could settle into the reserve role and regain his usefulness. He's getting there. I'm sure he's not happy about it, but we're not seeing the frustrations come to the forefront. He's not jumpy at the plate or out of rhythm behind it. He's just doing what a solid backup backstop should, and that's blend in and never miss a beat when he plays.

Huston Street

Could probably pitch 100 days in a row if he's that efficient and dominant. His stuff is crisp, smooth, nasty, filthy, sick... fill in the blank as you please.

Carlos Gonzalez

Highlight: CarGo's Home Run

Highlight: CarGo Robs Adrian

He adds one. He takes one away. That's a two run swing. Rockies win 4-2.

I don't need convoluted ratios and fractions to figure this stuff out. Why do so many other people?

Matt Belisle

Seven pitches. Three outs.

Pitch efficiency, along with an arm used to heavier workloads, are why he's holding up much better than Manny Corpas.

Melvin Mora

Has added a ton of professionalism and a pretty solid bat as a bonus. Very significant signing by Dan O'Dowd.

Highlight: Mora's 1st HR of 2010

Brad Eldred

Highlight: 2-Run HR

That's where the big boys (Stewart & Giambi) hit it. Only they aren't right-handed. As Jim Tracy likes to say, Eldred's power isn't good, it's ridiculous. Well said.

Dexter Fowler

All I can say... Damn that HR he hit Wednesday.

It was a huge blast in the grand scheme of things, but Fowler is the old bad Dexter ever since. Get Rene Lachemann on line one and tell him he's spending the all-star break with the Fowlers. I'd also pencil him in for a day off tomorrow.


Jeff Francis vs Clayton Richard

I think you know the situation with the standings. I'd like to focus on how big of a start this is for Francis. He's been pretty awful lately, and was extra awful in his start at Petco Park.

I would expect Jim Tracy to have all bullpen hands on deck (Chacin and Aaron Cook included), and will not hesistate to remove Francis early if it looks bad. I believe Tracy realizes that finishing this first half with a win would be monumental.

Imagine the thoughts (panic) that would be going through Padres' players, coaches and fans minds if they did all that work to end up in a tie at the break. Allowing San Diego to steal one and breathe again would alleviate all that and make them very comfortable (and dangerous) again.

As they say in the NBA: Finish the half strong. No allowing a layup on the final possession.

Lineup Card: Rockies vs Padres

Rockies Lineup (48-38)

  • CF  Fowler
  • 2B  Herrera
  • LF  Gonzalez
  • 3B  Mora
  • C    Iannetta
  • RF  Spilborghs
  • 1B  Eldred
  • SS  Barmes
  • P    Hammel
You're really going to bench Ian Stewart after a night like last night?  Yeah, it's a left-handed starter for San Diego and all that, but Stewart is having better ABs against lefties lately.  Besides that, I thought Tracy preached stability and riding the hot hand.  Weird message to send his team.  

The all-star break is going to come at a great time for Dexter Fowler, Jonathan Herrera, Carlos Gonzalez and Clint Barmes.  These guys have been penciled in there every single day for the past two weeks.  

Padres Lineup (50-36)
  • 2B  J. Hairston
  • 3B  Headley
  • 1B  Gonzalez
  • LF  S. Hairston
  • C    Torrealba
  • RF  Cunningham
  • CF  Denorfia
  • SS  Cabrera
  • P    LeBlanc

Rock Solid Recap: Good Things Happen When Bat Meets Baseball

Rockies 10, Padres 8

Here's an inning-by-inning breakdown of the Rockies offense on balls in play.

  • 1st: 2-for-4 -- 2 singles 
  • 2nd: 0-for-1 
  • 3rd: 5-for-5 -- 2 HR, 2 2B, 1B, 5 Runs 
  • 4th: 0-for-1 
  • 5th: 0-for-3 
  • 6th: 0-for-1 
  • 7th: 4-for-5 -- 3 soft singles and a Grand Slam, 5 Runs 
  • 8th: 0-for-1
  • 9th: No Need

You'll notice that it's extremely difficult to mount any offense in innings where one or less baseball is put in play.  On the flip side, when you're putting the ball in play at least three times an inning, you're likely to run into some good luck and/or hit some balls hard and create a situation.  

I could probably end the recap there and have already said enough.  Then again, I haven't told you anything you didn't already know.

Ian Stewart

Had himself a fine evening at the plate.

Only thing better than hitting a go-ahead HR in a game is coming back a few innings later and htting a go-ahead Grand Slam to the opposite field. Ian also drew a walk in his lone matchup against lefty special Joe Thatcher.

Ian's getting more locked in with each passing day.  

Highlights: 2-Run Blast, Grand Slam

Miguel Olivo & Carlos Gonzalez

This whole all-star snub thing may just work out after all. Both men will get four days of much needed rest, and it seems each will be very motivated to prove they belonged there. Determined superstars are good guys to have in the clubhouse and in the lineup.

Highlight: CarGo HR, Olivo's RBI Double

Dexter Fowler & Brad Hawpe

Four strikeouts apiece. Ouch.

I hope the HR the other night isn't in Dexter's head too much. The swing was kinda uppercutty with two strikes a couple times, which makes me nervous. He could just need a day off, too. He's being run out there every day since his recall.

Jonathan Herrera

Two more hits.  Two more runs scored.  Web Gem.

Jorge De La Rosa

Shaky return. His issue tonight was the inability to put hitters away with runners on base. He was ahead of just about every hitter, he just couldn't put enough of them away. That's typically a strength for Jorge, it will be again once he's comfortable, it just wasn't there for him tonight.

Realizing this, I have no idea why Tracy stuck with him so long. Or maybe Tracy just didn't realize it.

Manny Corpas

Made nothing but good pitches in the 5th inning, yet a number of Rockies fans on Twitter acted as if he allowed 7 runs. He didn't. Sixth inning was a little rougher with the double and the walk. That time Randy Flores cleaned it up and the Rockies stayed comfortably in the baseball game.

Back End

Matt Belisle, Joe Beimel, Rafael Betancourt and Huston Street. Fantastic work by each.


Jason Hammel vs Wade LeBlanc

The Rockies have made full turn through the rotation undefeated. Time for Jason Hammel to start another.