It wasn't always pretty, but the Colorado Rockies completed a sweep of the lowly Houston Astros Wednesday afternoon and finished their cupcake homestand with the 7-2 record they needed to not completely fall off the map. That's all you can really ask of them at this point. Regardless of how (walk-off wild pitch), just beat the teams you're supposed to beat.
Inch towards .500.
And then pray for miracles.
Rockies 7, Astros 6 in 10 (boxscore)
Talk about a fast start. Colorado's first four batters reached and scored - capped by Troy Tulowitzki's two-run home run - putting Wandy Rodriguez (their recent waiver claim), on the ropes early. But Wandy quickly battled off those ropes, allowing only a Carlos Gonzalez two-run homer in the 4th in his next five innings.
It actually reminded me a lot of a typical Esmil Rogers start (whose spot he would have likely taken in the rotation had the deal materialized), but Rodriguez is better than that nine times out ten.
Aaron Cook was very 2010-2011 Aaron Cookish today. Slow start. Rockies come right back and give him the lead. Then he gives it right back. It is what it is with Cook. Some days it's there. Most days it isn't.
And then Jason Hammel took the hill in his first relief appearance of the season. You could hear the groans from Colorado all the way here in Illinois; but guess what, Jason Hammel worked two very good innings and kept the score even at six. I can almost guarantee you Hammel is not liking this current arrangement, but I can also definitely guarantee you he's going to handle it professionally and I wouldn't be a bit surprised if it were a success.
Troy Renck said Hammel reminds him a lot of Belisle, who also transitioned from a back of the rortation starter to the bullpen, and has become a very effective and reliable reliever in pretty much any role you need. I'll need to see (quite) a few outings to be comfortable going there with Hammel, but a similar tranisiton wouldn't shock me.
So basicially, go this route the rest of the season. If another team coveats him as a starter in the offseason (someone will), and Colorado's rotation is filling out nicely, then you can deal him. If he likes relieving and there's a role for him there, thats an option. Options are good.
Josh Roenicke still hasn't allowied a run.
Rafael Betancourt still hasn't allowed a run since July 6.
Speaking of Matt Belisle, he pitched a scoreless 10th and picked up his ninth win of the season. All in relief of course, which means he's two shy of tying Gabe Whtie's Rockies reliever win record of 11.
And I don't want to forget mentioning Mark Ellis. The veteran comes to the ballpark every day having no clue where he'll be hitting or if he'll even be playing at all, but he seems to be handling that uncertainty well. Or at least he did today with four big hits, including a 9th inning double that was mere feet from being a game-winner.
Good take by Travis Lay at Blake Street Bulletin on Jim Tracy's bleh managing in the victory. Check that out here.
Can't complain about wins... ever. But you can enjoy winning while also keeping a true perspective of where this team currently stands. That includes criticizing a manager that continues to baffle. And that includes pointing out they need to own this road trip the same way they owned the homestand just to stay relevant in September.