Wednesday, April 6, 2011
Last night: The Rockies defeated Clayton Kershaw and the Los Angeles Dodgers with excellent pitching and brilliant defense.
This afternoon: The Rockies defeated Chad Billingsly and the Dodgers with their bats... and with more brilliant defense.
-- The big blow of the afternoon came off the bat of Todd Helton. His three-run homer in the third answered LA's three runs scored in the top of the inning. That's what we call a huge shift in momentum (if you believe in momentum).
Helton just missed a second HR his next time, flying out to deep CF. He pulled one really hard foul down the RF line, and put a good swing on a ball to LF for an out. So it's clear he's feeling healthy right now.
Watch Helton's three-run blast
-- Carlos Gonzalez and Troy Tulowitzki combined for four hits, one walk and five runs scored. Meanwhile, the top of the order (Dexter Fowler and Seth Smith) only totaled one hit in nine at-bats. In other words, the Rockies had 10-12 run potential with a couple more baserunners at the top.
Watch Tulo's second HR of 2011... and then flash some leather.
-- Jason Hammel wasn't very good today. His command was way off. His location was off. But the thing is, when Hammel doesn't have those working in his favor, it usually gets UGLY. Today didn't really get UGLY. It wasn't pretty, but he made three big pitches to escape his final three innings and not only kept the Rockies in the game, but kept them in lead.
The offense picked him, no question about it, and the defense helped, but let's give Hammel credit for picking himself up and outpitching Mr. Billingsly by just enough. The Rockies #4 starter got a win over a really really good #2 starter. That's huge.
Watch Seth Smith's UZR soar
-- Franklin Morales was awesome.
-- Anyone that thought timing wouldn't be an issue for Ian Stewart -- Stewart himself, Jim Tracy & Troy Renck among those -- was kidding themselves. You can't play in only a handful of spring games, get choppy playing time early in the season, and expect his at-bats to look good.
It stinks for Stewart, because Ty Wigginton will likely start stealing more playing time. It stinks for the Rockies in the long run, because Ian Stewart gives them their best chance to win on a daily basis.
-- Ubaldo Jimenez was placed on the DL this morning. Read my quick thoughts on that here.
-- What are we going to do about Huston Street?
Just embrace him. I like to think of his ninth innings as good conditioning for our hearts. Instead of taking that half hour jog in the morning, allow Huston to get your blood pumping whenever he takes the baseball. It's healthy.
Watch CarGo save Street's ass
It didn't hurt that Don Mattingly failed to pinch-run for Rod Barajas in the ninth. Had he done so, we might still be playing.
The Colorado Rockies placed pitcher Ubaldo Jimenez on the 15-day DL this morning.
Smartest thing they could. Eliminate any pressure Jimenez might feel to rush to his recovery to make a start Friday, Sunday, whenever. Get this thing healed.
"It's never good to go on the DL," Jimenez said. "But I need to be able to help the team. It's getting better, but I still feel pain when I grip the ball."
"If (Jimenez) is not ready, then what can that lead to?" manager Jim Tracy said this morning as the Rockies prepared to play the Dodgers this afternoon. "I don't want to be involved in something like that. We need to make sure he is right."
Yes, it's scary to think Jimenez had these issues last season, rested for six months and now they have returned. That concerns me, but obviously this is the worst case he's dealt with. That means the Rockies and Jimenez both need to focus on finding a better solution to the problem. Hopefully that's what this time is used to do.
As far as Greg Reynolds getting the callup. He'll get a couple starts at most (we hope, being optomistic). If I'm the Rockies I make sure both of those come in the upcoming roadtrip against Pittsburgh and New York.
If you're looking for Rockies game lineups and you don't feel like searching all over Twitter or waiting for MLB.com to post them, check back to Heaven & Helton about 60-90 minutes before first pitch and they should be here waiting for you.
Today concludes the very odd four game, two series homestand that was altered by Mother Nature. This leads into an equally strange eight-day, eight-game, two-city road trip through Pittsburgh and New York. Here's hoping the weather holds up in those cities so we're not already seeing doubleheaders and/or having to squeeze a game in somewhere down the line.
But before all of that, today's lineups
Colorado Rockies (2-1)
- CF Dexter Fowler
- RF Seth Smith
- LF Carlos Gonzalez
- SS Troy Tulowitzki
- 1B Todd Helton
- 2B Jose Lopez
- 3B Ian Stewart
- C Chris Iannetta
- P Jason Hammel
- SS Rafael Furcal
- 3B Casey Blake
- RF Andre Ethier
- CF Matt Kemp
- 1B James Loney
- 2B Juan Uribe
- LF Xavier Paul
- C Rod Barajas
- P Chad Billingsly