Well I didn't see that coming. Jaime Garcia entered play today with a 1.93 ERA and he exited in the fourth inning with a 3.28 ERA. Yes, the Rockies plated 12 runs (11 earned) on this season's version of Ubaldo Jimenez while in the midst of maybe the most extensive and infuriating offensive slump we've seen them have in 18+ years.
And they did it in support of Juan Nicasio -- a kid with an electronic fastball, solid changeup and developing breaking stuff -- making his major league debut against the hottest offense in the National League. He didn't need that much support. He was brilliant, allowing one run (unearned) over seven innings, and actually made a lot more quality pitches than I expected him to.
It was a lot of fun to watch. Hopefully we only saw a small sample of what this kid will offer as he continues developing some of those secondary pitches. Very impressive debut.
Now back to the offense.
First of all, Eric Young leads off the game with a single and STEALS A BASE. I almost stopped watching right there so I could leave with a positive visual. But it only got better as Dexter Fowler followed with a 10-pitch walk after being behind in the count 0-2.
Those two plate appearances are textbook for table setters. Patience, contact, speed. It provided the middle of the order a solid foundation to build from against an all-star pitcher. And then Carlos Gonzalez, Troy Tulowitzki and Todd Helton each followed with singles to plate those two runs and load the bases. Great start.
Ty Wigginton then struck out. Ho hum.
But that set up maybe the most important at-bat of the game. Ryan Spiborghs didn't allow the offensive momentum to fizzle out. Instead he worked a 7-pitch walk for an easy RBI and to keep the line moving. The Rockies would tack on three more thanks to a Chris Iannetta two-run single and an Eric Young RBI single.
Spilborghs had another outstanding at-bat in 2nd, singling home one with two outs. He then tripled home two in the 4th. Chris Iannetta cleaned up again with a two-run homer right after.
Iannetta would hit another two-run homer in the 8th, giving him a career high two home runs, four hits and six RBI. That's definitely worthy of player of the game, yet I think we need to cut that into thirds because Spilborghs and Nicasio deserve a piece of the pie as well.
Any way you slice it, it was a much needed performance for several players and the team as whole. Maybe THIS will be the start of something good. Maybe all the frustration has come to a head and burst.
Maybe not. We've seen the Rockies breakout before, only to follow up with more of the same. Guess we just have to tune in again tomorrow to see where we go from here.