Saturday, September 11, 2010

Rock Solid Recap: That'll Do

This isn't the BCS.

Style points aren't necessary here.

Who you beat, how you beat'em, where you beat'em and why you beat'em don't mean a damn thing.

Win a baseball game.

The Colorado have won nine of them... in a row.

All fun has broken loose in Denver.

Tonight's game was a perfect illustration of just how focused, confident, and red hot the Colorado Rockies are as we head towards September 12th. These are the games the Rockies were allowing to get away for the first five months of the season. The ones we said we'd look back at in frustration if this season didn't improve.

Well, it has improved, but we still run the risk of having those games bite us in the ass. That is why not allowing this one to get away was ultra important. That counts double when it's Ubaldo Jimenez on the mound.

It was an odd night for Ubaldo. He really never seemed to find a comfort level or real rhythm out there. The command was off. The efficiency was less than desirable. But in the end, the results were solid enough to keep his struggling offense in the baseball game.

Yes, I said struggling offense. Yes, Ubaldo was outpitched by Rodrigo Lopez. Yes, it doesn't matter, because the Rockies found a way to win.

It came down to four really productive at-bats in the bottom of the 7th
  1. Melvin Mora pulled a single to left on an 0-1 pitch. 
  2. Ryan Spilborghs drove a 1-0 pitch to the oppo gap for a double. 2nd and 3rd one out. 
  3. Miguel Olivo broke the ice for Colorado with a first pitch RBI single through the left field. 
  4. And then the AB of the game from Jonathan Herrera. A sacrifice fly to deep center on a 1-2 pitch.
Again, what Jonathan Herrera gives the Rockies simply can't be measured in stats and charts. I spoke of style points at the top. There are no style points with Johnny. All he does is produce, make his team better, and give them a better chance to win baseball games by simply doing what's asked of him and understanding his role.

Yeah, you need your CarGo's and Tulo's and Helton's to have success. But what separates winning teams from losing teams are guys like Johnny.

Really all four guys involved in that inning (Herrera, Spilborghs, Mora and Olvio) fit the mold of role players who make the team better by understanding their role and excelling at them. Really is a nice mix of guys that all fit together perfectly after the release of Brad Hawpe.

Funny how that works sometimes.


Jhoulys Chacin vs Ian Kennedy

Time to go 1-0 and see where the chips fall by Sunday night. Gotta like your chances with Mr. Chacin taking the hill.

Lineup Card: Rockies vs Diamondbacks

Last night...

@Townie813 Observation: CarGo needs a night off. Missing some pitches he wouldn't typically miss.

No Carlos Gonzalez.

Did I expect that?

Not a chance.  But I have to take my hat off to Tracy for observing and making the gutsy call to hit the pause button. Carlos Gonzalez has been in the lineup everyday he is physically able to play. Giving him a break now makes all the sense in the world, because if he's not fresh, you're limiting the effectiveness of your most important all-around position player.

Rockies Lineup (77-64)
  1. 2B  Young
  2. CF  Fowler
  3. SS  Tulowitzki
  4. 1B  Giambi
  5. RF  Smith
  6. 3B  Mora
  7. LF  Spilborghs
  8. C   Olivo
  9. P   Jimenez
Diamondbacks Lineup (57-84)
  1. SS  Drew
  2. 3B  Abreu
  3. 2B  Johnson
  4. CF  Young 
  5. 1B  LaRoche
  6. C   Montero
  7. LF  Allen
  8. RF  Parra
  9. P    Lopez
Brandon Allen in left field?  That could be really fun!  Hit the ball to left!  

Rock Solid Recap: Being Better At Baseball

The Colorado Rockies have a job to do. They also currently have an opponent that quite frankly stinks, but for some reasons gives them fits in 2010. 

Best way to remedy that? Show up with some focus and be better at baseball.

It's really that simple.

The talent level between the Rockies and Diamondbacks was pretty much even back in 2007. I expected it to stay that way for at least the next 4-5 years... but it hasn't. The two rosters aren't even close, and tonight, that difference in talent was on full display.

This game was essentially over the moment Todd Helton laced this 2-run single in the first inning (Highlight). For real. The Diamondbacks could have packed their bags and headed back to the hotel right then and there.

One big reason for that? Jorge De La Rosa. Again, not the most efficient work from DLR, but he was inefficiently dominant with 10 Ks over 6 six innings of 2 run ball. Despite the 103 pitches in those 6 innings, he did not walk a batter. Several full counts are what led to an early departure. And he may have left early anyway because of the lopsided score.

Another big reason for that? Troy Trevor Tulowitzki. T Times 3, as in 3-for-3 with 2 bombs, 3 runs, 4 RBI and a token BB. That makes 5 HR in 3 games. That's what they call white hot in the baseball broadcasting business.

Ryan Spilborghs (2-for-3,2 R, 2 RBI, 2 BB), Eric Young (2-for-5, RBI, SB), Melvin Mora (2-for-3, 2 R, BB), Todd Helton (2-for-3, R, 2 RBI, BB) & Miguel Olivo (1-for-4, 3B, 3 RBI) all had big nights for the Rockies as well.

See what I mean? The talent differential is quite staggering.

And how about *cringe* Franklin Morales? Tonight made two excellent outings in a row. This one was actually dominant (1-2-3, 2 Ks).

I was the last one off the Morales bandwagon earlier in the season. I'm very hesitant to be the first one back on, but I do really like what I'm seeing. Granted he's been eased into two very low pressure situations, but I'm still praying to the Baseball Gods that some sort of switch has been flipped here.

All that hope aside, he would have to be absolutely insane for the next three weeks to even be a consideration for a playoff roster should the Rockies become that fortunate. But just having another reliable lefty arm for three weeks would be huge in aiding that process.


Ubaldo Jimenez vs Rodrigo Lopez

As pitching matchups go, this one appears slightly advantageous for our favorite baseball team.  Regardless, the Rockies have more work to do. No time to start making any assumptions or losing focus. Just come out and be better at baseball for 9 more innings.