The wonderful thing about great pitching and great defense? It affords a struggling offense the opportunity to slowly get itself back on track, while still winning baseball games. That's where the Rockies stand right now. They are pitching the hell out of the ball day in and day out, and the defense has been legit.
I mean seriously, what the hell has gotten into Seth Smith? He was a decent defender in previous years. He has been outstanding in 2011. Ryan Spilborghs can't even in the game as a defensive replacement anymore.
Anyway, you still need the one or two big hits (or a couple breaks) every night to make that pitching and defense stand up. The Rockies didn't get it last night. They did get it tonight.
Rockies 4, Pirates 1 (boxscore)
And they got it off the bat of Chris Iannetta, who thankfully decided to offer at a 3-1 pitch from Paul Maholm that was begging to be hit a long ways.
What has frustrated so many Rockies fans with Iannetta has been his unwillingness to let it fly. Too much patience. Sure the walks are great from your #8 hitter. They mean something when you can turn your lineup over. I get that. But Iannetta isn't your typical #8. He's not Ronny Cedeno or Jamey Carroll. He's a masher. He's an extra basehit machine when he's going.
So it was nice to see him open up in that spot. It was a game-changer, and ultimately a game-winner. Now hopefully he allows himself to be a game-changer more often.
-- Is it just me or was Jason Hammel at his very best tonight? It seemed like he made every pitch he needed to make when his back was against the wall. He racked up three big double plays. The only guy that beat him was Andrew McCutchen, and in case you haven't heard, Andrew McCutchen beats everybody.
Yeah, that sounds pretty good. And so what if Hammel needs his defense to play well? There's no shame in that. Just keep backing him with your best defense, Mr. Tracy, and Jason Hammel will keep giving you quality starts. That's a guarantee from Townie.
-- The Rockies have turned 30 double plays and only hit into 12. Good stat, Jimmy Armstrong.
-- I wonder if people realize they aren't nervous about Huston Street. They're actually nervous because it's the ninth inning of a close game and every baseball fan with a pulse gets nervous in that situation regardless of who's pitching.
Well, aside from Yankees fans since 1996 and Dodgers fans from 2002-2004.
By the way, Huston is 10-for-10 now in save opportunities and rolling right along.
-- Rafael Betancourt is rolling now too. It just takes him a while, ya know?
-- Come on MLB.com... no highlights of Helton's defense tonight? Give me a break, would ya?
-- Good to see Carlos Gonzalez leave a dent in the wall with that opposite field double. Wow. He scalded that one. And then he left a dent in the sidewall with his toe later on. That wasn't as good to see. Please stop doing that to yourself!
-- I heard Pablo Sandoval is out 4-to-6 weeks with a broken bone in his wrist. Better bring back the Sad Panda.
But we do hate to hear about injuries to anyone, even a Giant. So hopefully he's able to come back at full strength in late June... of 2014.