Saturday, June 26, 2010

Rock Solid Recap: Herrera is my Hero

These games are taking years off our lives.

And it's only June!

Rockies 4, Angels 3 (11)

Of all the wonderful stories the game of baseball can tell, the one that I enjoy the most involves a guy like Jonathan Herrerea. A guy with no hype, no fanfare, and few expectiations, that just possesses a determination and that one ingredient that pushes a team to another level.

Let's face it, the Rockies have had good players batting at the top of their order -- Carlos Gonzalez and Seth Smith have a spent a lot of time there -- but they haven't had a legit pain in the ass there in far too long. By that I mean, a that gives good ABs, reaches base, possesses enough speed to be dangerous, and above all, understands his role.

Herrera, to this point, has shown those qualities. All he needed was the opportunity to play every day. Now we're seeing the results.

It just sets the lineup up so beautifully. Now you can let Carlos Gonzalez do what he was born to you... drive in runs. Helton can be that perfect #2 hitter that gets on base. Then you slot your lineup the rest of the way accordingly.

The whole lineup gains a new dynamic and a fresh confidence that is slowly trickling its way down to the Ian Stewarts and the Chris Iannettas.

It's funny I'm saying all these nice things about a kid that struck out his first three plate appearances in this game. But the great thing about Herrera is that each AB wasn't wasted. He was fooled very badly a couple times, but he filed away the approach the Angels pitching were using on him. That allowed him to fight off a tough pitch inside to bloop a single in the 8th. The same pitch that had frozen him twice already.

I noted this as I was watching but didn't tweet it.

Did you see that other #Rockies hitters? Angels had a plan to get Herrera out, it worked a couple times, but he adjusted to get a single.

Dexter Fowler should also take note of that.

Herrera added two more singles after that. The one in the 11th inning proved to be the game winner.

It's just a fantastic story that seems to get better everyday. And as I've said many times, his defense isn't a downgrade at all. He can play the infield. He's quick. He can make the throws.

I don't know yet that he could sustain a whole season, but I feel the Rockies have uncovered something here that will benefit them more than a trade for Dan Uggla or anyone would.

On a side note tonight... Chris Iannetta had his best game of the season. A two-run HR in the 5th on a hanging curve got Colorado on the board. His two out double in the 11th started that rally from scratch. The Rockies will need to lean on him a little more going forward as I believe the workload on Olivo is unsustainable.

That is much like the workload on Manny Corpas. He got the outs he needed tonight, but Jim Tracy has to realize 41 innings in 73 games is going to kill a reliever. At some point he'll have to back off on Manny, let him catch his breath, and then slot in him in the 6th-7th.

Winning Player: Matt Belisle

The same could probably be said about Belisle, but hats off to him for gutting this out and coming through again. Herrera's three hits were all huge, but Matt Belisle's work not only won the Rockies this game, but it could possibly win them tomorrow's as well. He's a horse and is becoming one of my favorite guys on the team.

Whew. Another late night. Time for some rest. Let's hope tomorrow is a much quicker, easier on the liver and heart type of victory.