Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Rock Solid Recap: Make Giants play defense, you win

The San Francisco Giants can't blame suspicious baseballs for their loss on Tuesday, they can blame their own suspicious and shittious defense. For the second straight day, an awful throwing error by their starting pitcher cracked the door open for Colorado, and for the second straight day the Rockies made them pay.

Today hereos were Dexter Fowler, who won a nine pitch battle with Javier Lopez by delivering an RBI ground rule double over the head of Andres Torres. That tied the game at three.

Two batters later, Carlos Gonzalez pulled a two-run single through the drawn in infield to get the Rockies the lead they wouldn't relinquish.

By the way, the error came on an Aflredo Amezaga sacfrice bunt attempt with first and second and no outs. The pinch-bunter did his job this time, and Jim Tracy's relentless attempts to win a game with a bunt finally worked. Genius for a day... or at least an inning.

Rockies 5, Giants 3 (boxscore)

But the Rockies would have never had a shot to rally late if not for the good work by Ubaldo Jimenez. The big right-hander would tell you he's still not on his game, but today's effort was a step up from his previous best efforts this season. Whether he can maintain consistency or build on it remains to be seen, but today was nice.

Mechanics still aren't perfect. Velocity was better (94-97), but not top notch. It's still a work in progress, but at least you feel like if he was hurt, you wouldn't get performances like today. So I guess we'll see what's next.

Nice work by Matt Belisle to pitch a scoreless 8th inning. That allowed him to pick up his 4th win of the season, which ties him for second on the team and is four more than Ubaldo.

How about another single digit pitch save for Huston Street? He only needed nine last night (all strikes) and seven today (six strikes) to pick up saves 13 and 14. It's not dominant, it's efficient. Either/or can give you the results you need.

And we can't forget Troy Tulowitzki hitting home run number 11. That was an important run as well.

Another great day at Coors Field, where the Rockies go back over .500 at 11-10. I don't know which win in this series was bigger, but I do know this was the most important 24 hour period of the Rockies season so far. And yes, that includes a 24 hour period in New York where they won three times.

Lineup Card: 5-17-11 Rockies vs Giants

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. They should be here waiting for you.


Yesterday's Recap: Feel good Monday


Colorado Rockies (21-18)
  1. CF Dexter Fowler
  2. 2B Jonathan Herrera
  3. LF Carlos Gonzalez
  4. SS Troy Tulowitzki
  5. 1B Ty Wigginton
  6. 3B Jose Lopez
  7. RF Ryan Spilborghs
  8. C   Chris Iannetta
  9. P    Ubaldo Jimenez
It's the righty heavy lineup for Jonathan Sanchez. No surprise there. Will Ubaldo Jimenez be better? That would be a real nice surprise. Wish I could say I was optimistic. 

San Francisco Giants (22-18)
  1. CF Andres Torres
  2. 2B Mike Fontenot
  3. C  Buster Posey
  4. LF Pat Burrell
  5. 1B Aubrey Huff
  6. SS Miguel Tejada
  7. RF Aaron Rowand
  8. 3B Mark DeRosa
  9. P   Jonathan Sanchez

Rock Solid Recap: Feel good Monday

After three weeks of lows, lowers and lowests, the Colorado Rockies achieved quite a high on Monday night by defeating Tim Lincecum and the San Francisco Giants.

It's exactly what the doctor ordered. They beat the one man and the one team that might be able to help them instantly undo the disappointment and reverse their recent frustrations. Maybe we owe Mother Nature and the Chicago Cubs one after all. They're the ones who gave us the opportunity.

Rockies 7, Giants 4 (boxscore)

The Rockies have been waiting for a big swing to get them out of their recent funk. They received two on Monday.

Troy Tulowitzki delivered a two-out, two-run single in the fifth. (Watch)

After Tim Lincecum committed a throwing error, opening the door for Colorado in the sixth, Carlos Gonzalez blasted a monster three-run homer to straightaway center. (Watch)

That's why they paid those men the big bucks. They're the money players, they provided the money hits.

But they definitely had some help. Dexter Fowler (two singles, two walks) and Jonathan Herrera (two singles, one walk) not only set the table, but made Lincecum work his tail off all night. Don't think that didn't contribute to the two-time Cy Young winner hitting the wall in the sixth.

Seth Smith (solo home run) and Jose Lopez (single, double) rounded out the very impressive and relentless offensive attack. The Rockies offense definitely showed some confidence and guts here. We saw flashes of that over the weekend with San Diego, so hopefully we're on the verge of a complete and total breakthrough.

And maybe my favorite part is they made a winner out of Clayton Mortensen. Granted, Mortensen wasn't brilliant or even really good, but he battled. He made good pitches early, faltered later on, but kept the team in the game. And besides that, his work in previous outings was very much worthy of a W, so he should feel no shame accepting this one.

Is Jim Tracy losing confidence in Rafael Betancourt, or was he just extremely desperate to get this win? Whatever the case, he gave Raffy the hook here. Matt Lindstrom finished the inning punching out Pat Burrell, so it'll be interesting to see who's placed where in the coming days.

Huston Street; Nine pitches, nine strikes, perfect inning. Awesome.

The only downside Monday was Dexter Fowler's baserunning issues. That was seriously embarrassing for any baserunner, but for a guy with his speed and athletic ability to consistently look lost on the bases is sad.

You can't teach instincts, but you can at least fill a guy in on the basics and hope he connects the dots from there. The Rockies might be wise to bring in a guy like Larry Walker for a seminar that includes Fowler and several teammates. A lot of them need help, and Walker might be the best baserunner I've seen wearing any uniform.