This one was good for the blood pressure.
True, there were still a few hold your breath moments in the final three innings, but overall this ride was a pretty smooth one thanks to Jason Hammel and a good bullpen.
Hammel continued his transformation from coin flip to reliable starter with 6 1/3 innings of 5 hit, 2 run baseball. That makes 9 out of 11 starts Hammel has pitched into the 7th inning or beyond since coming off the DL.
I knew there was some talent here with Hammel. I knew the Rockies were very fortunate to have a guy of his ability tucked safely into their #5 rotation spot. I just never envisioned him taking a step to this level and then sustaining for an 11 start period of time. That's not an easy thing for the Cliff Lee's or Roy Halladay's of the world to do, let alone a guy like Hammel.
It speaks a lot to the work he's put in. I think some credit has to go to Bob Apodaca. And I really think Miguel Olivo is a big piece of the equation as well. He may even be the biggest piece. Just look at what Miguel did for Zack Greinke last season and is helping do with Ubaldo this season. Pitchers seem to take that big step to reaching their potential when Olivo's involved.
Tonight some credit goes to Chris Iannetta as well. I didn't know if he could settle into the reserve role and regain his usefulness. He's getting there. I'm sure he's not happy about it, but we're not seeing the frustrations come to the forefront. He's not jumpy at the plate or out of rhythm behind it. He's just doing what a solid backup backstop should, and that's blend in and never miss a beat when he plays.
Could probably pitch 100 days in a row if he's that efficient and dominant. His stuff is crisp, smooth, nasty, filthy, sick... fill in the blank as you please.
Highlight: CarGo's Home Run
Highlight: CarGo Robs Adrian
He adds one. He takes one away. That's a two run swing. Rockies win 4-2.
I don't need convoluted ratios and fractions to figure this stuff out. Why do so many other people?
Seven pitches. Three outs.
Pitch efficiency, along with an arm used to heavier workloads, are why he's holding up much better than Manny Corpas.
Has added a ton of professionalism and a pretty solid bat as a bonus. Very significant signing by Dan O'Dowd.
Highlight: Mora's 1st HR of 2010
Highlight: 2-Run HR
That's where the big boys (Stewart & Giambi) hit it. Only they aren't right-handed. As Jim Tracy likes to say, Eldred's power isn't good, it's ridiculous. Well said.
All I can say... Damn that HR he hit Wednesday.
It was a huge blast in the grand scheme of things, but Fowler is the old bad Dexter ever since. Get Rene Lachemann on line one and tell him he's spending the all-star break with the Fowlers. I'd also pencil him in for a day off tomorrow.
Jeff Francis vs Clayton Richard
I think you know the situation with the standings. I'd like to focus on how big of a start this is for Francis. He's been pretty awful lately, and was extra awful in his start at Petco Park.
I would expect Jim Tracy to have all bullpen hands on deck (Chacin and Aaron Cook included), and will not hesistate to remove Francis early if it looks bad. I believe Tracy realizes that finishing this first half with a win would be monumental.
Imagine the thoughts (panic) that would be going through Padres' players, coaches and fans minds if they did all that work to end up in a tie at the break. Allowing San Diego to steal one and breathe again would alleviate all that and make them very comfortable (and dangerous) again.
As they say in the NBA: Finish the half strong. No allowing a layup on the final possession.