Braves 7, Rockies 2 (boxscore)
What Went Wrong: At the risk of becoming repetitive, I will skip this section. You already know.
Turning Point: Two up, two down for Juan Nicasio to start the 3rd inning.
Three batters later. Three-run home run Freddie Freeman. 3-0 Braves.
I've said it repeatedly in these Recraps, Rockies pitchers must become stronger finishers. That doesn't mean throwing 95-97 in the 7th-8th innings, either. That means throwing quality pitches with two strikes and/or two outs to finish off hitters and close down innings. They have to be the absolute worst at this in baseball, and it seems to cost them every single time an inning is extended.
It's how you lose close games. It's how you blow big leads. It's how you lose games before they're even started. It's losing baseball.
Make some damn pitches and let the offense do work.
Juan Nicasio's Line: 5 IP, 6 ER, 8 H, 3 BB, 5 K, 1 HR, 93 pitches (49 strikes)
Not the outing Colorado needed from Nicasio. Not enough strikes. Not enough outs. Just not enough. But I won't come down too hard on him individually. He's carried a heavy load so far and I expect much better his next time out.
Meanwhile, Adam Ottavino made his Rockies debut and tossed two completely perfect innings this afternoon. Carlos Torres then threw a perfect 9th after throwing a perfect 8th last night.
You know what was really cool about those four innings?
47 total pitches, 33 strikes.
I say we let them stick around a bit to see if this strike throwing thing can last.
Highlight of the Afternoon: If you're scoring at home... please stop.
Screengrabs of the Game
|I wasn't lying when I said the Rockies were struggling with two strikes.|
|Kid has a decent cotton candy-to-mouth ratio.|
|Well, at least it's better than a typical Rockies ball-to-strike ratio.|
Drew Pomeranz goes for Colorado, and told Jenny Cavnar his goal is to pitch into the 7th inning. While I would absolutely take that, I would kinda hope for higher expectations from a starter. But whatever. Just get outs, kid.
Final Thoughts: In case you had any question about the mental state of the Rockies pitching staff coming into Sunday..
It seems Jamie Moyer took it upon himself to call out Chipper Jones for "stealing signs" while on second base on Saturday night, and even managed to direct a threat at Chipper during the game.
The last one is Tulo doing damage control just in case the Braves had any idea of sending a message on Sunday. They were not happy. And who can blame them if Moyer went as far as the comment to McCann. There's no excuse for that even if Chipper was doing something dubious, and stealing signs or tipping locations from second base is hardly dubious (if he was even doing it). It's just baseball.
Anyway, if that's the guy our young pitchers are supposed to be learning from, I just became a lot more concerned because that's a not mentality I'm comfortable with.
I'm tired of the excuses. I'm tired of the paranoia. I just want a pitching staff that throws strikes, gets outs and asks questions later. Apparently that's too much to ask or expect.
David O'Brien has more on the story in his AJC Braves Blog, including more quotes from Tulo.