Saturday, April 16, 2011

Rock Solid Recrap: It was bound to happen

A loss.

A big, fat, stinky, smelly loss. To the Cubs. At home. That's almost as rare as the Rockies winning in New York. But hey, that's baseball.

Anyways, that loss is the Rockies first in the last eight days. The Mets could lose their sixth game in about 96 hours on Sunday. I'd say things are still going pretty well here.

Cubs 8, Rockies 3 (boxscore

-- 0-for-12 with RISP. That speaks for itself doesn't it?

The 5th inning was without question the most frustrating of the blown scoring chances. Fowler leads off with a double, moves to third on an error by Casey Coleman. Jonathan Herrera followed that up by swinging at a 2-0 pitch and tapping back to the mound. Definitely not Herrera's best at-bat or best approach. Especially with Coleman's iffy command. Herrera could have stretched that out and drawn a walk.

After Giambi was plunked on the first pitch, Troy Tulowitzki stepped in and took three straight out of the zone. Okay, so Coleman has missed on six out of seven pitches and thrown wildly on a pickoff attempt. He's possibly rattled or just proving to be a less than solid starting pitching option at this point.

Then came the moment that confirmed this wasn't the Rockies night. Tulowitzki offered at the 3-0 pitch and fouled out to first.

Rally dead on arrival.

-- Jason Hammel wasn't very sharp tonight, but again, he left the game only down 3-1. It wasn't pretty at any point, but he didn't kill the team in any way either. And the good news is he's going to get better as we go along. I have little doubt of that, and I'm sure it'll come at a time when the team needs it most.

-- Felipe Paulino hasn't been right since the groin injury in Pittsburgh. Tonight he was just plain wrong. Makes me wonder if the groin is still an issue and if a DL stint might in the works for him. Pure speculation. But justified speculation in my mind.

-- Chris Iannetta is still raking. For the second night in a row he provided the only real offensive highlight.

-- Troy Tulowitzki is baseball's best shortstop. How long before Chicago's Starlin Castro becomes his biggest challenger? In all honesty, I'm not so sure he isn't already. Helluva talent.

-- No sense dwelling any more on this one. Still a chance to win a series tomorrow, but it won't be easy with the unknown Alan Johnson on the mound. Then again, opponent Ryan Dempster has an 11.37 career ERA at Coors Field. I think we're looking at our first true slugfest of 2011.

Lineup Card: Rockies vs. Cubs 4-16-11

If you're looking for Rockies game lineups and you don't feel like searching all over Twitter or waiting for to post them, check back to Heaven & Helton about 60-90 minutes before first pitch. They should be here waiting for you.

Colorado Rockies (11-2)
  1. CF Dexter Fowler
  2. 2B Jonathan Herrera
  3. 1B Jason Giambi
  4. SS Troy Tulowitzki
  5. RF Seth Smith
  6. LF Ty Wigginton
  7. 3B  Ian Stewart
  8. C   Chris Iannetta
  9. P    Jason Hammel
Indeed Carlos Gonzalez gets the evening off. I figured he would after some of those at-bats last night. But I'm not sure how I feel good about this defensive alignment, at Coors Field, with Jason Hammel on the mound. He's a guy that has to rely on his defense. Many of his bad innings/outings are defensive issue related, so it'll be interesting. 

Chicago Cubs (6-7)
  1. SS Starlin Castro
  2. 2B Darwin Barney
  3. CF Marlon Byrd
  4. 3B Aramis Ramirez
  5. 1B Carlos Pena
  6. LF Alfonso Soriano
  7. RF Kosuke Fukudome
  8. C   Koyle Hill
  9. P   Casey Coleman

Rock Solid Recap: Chacin takes charge

Rockies 5, Cubs 0 (boxscore)

On a night when the Colorado Rockies needed a strong starting pitching effort, Jhoulys Chacin went out and hurled the best game of his young career. His first career complete game shutout. The first of what I assume will be many.

Although the Cubs did put eight runners on base against Chacin, you never had the feeling they were truly threatening to mount a comeback, let alone score one run. He had that much of a strong command over his pitches and his poise. He was simply locked in physically and mentally.

Brilliance. Pure brilliance from pitch #1 until pitch #114 is how I'll describe it. Fun to watch. And it looked so effortless.

-- Chris Iannetta provided 80% of the Rockies offense with one swing and a little help from the Cubs defense.

So many times in the past the Rockies have wasted such opportunities by not getting the baseball in play. Iannetta's bases clearing triple reinforces how important that is. Anything can happen when you put the ball in play. It's not always what you want, but it's proven fact that nothing good can happen when you're striking out.

Iannetta also had another very good game behind the plate. His overall game is at a level now that we all have to feel good about. The average isn't great (.219), but the OBP (.444) and SLG (.469) are stellar. Sustaining this production or anything close to it will be a challenge for Chris, but just seeing he's capable make me feel  optimistic that he's turned the corner and will hold steady.

-- I liked Jose Lopez a lot better when he was proving me wrong.

-- Todd Helton. Two more hits. Water still wet.

-- Wonder if Carlos Gonzalez is due for a day off. Looks like a guy that needs to clear his mind and maybe spend a day sitting next to Carney Lansford. Or hell, maybe he needs to be talking to Jonathan Herrera.

-- Troy Tulowitzki's home run drought will be at 50 hours at first pitch Saturday. Odds it doesn't get to 51?