Thursday, July 8, 2010

Rock Solid Recapping A Sweep Of The Redbirds

Sweeps don't get any sweeter in the early portion of July.

I know it bothers a lot of people when the opposing team brings a huge following with them to Coors Field.


I love it.


Because the Rockies play their absolute best baseball when that stadium is packed and the emotions are running high. This team feeds off the atmosphere, especially when it seems to be a 60/40 Rockies split or 50/50.

And better than that?

You get to witness the frustration and anguish of your rival's fans as they trudge back to their hotels or sewer drains. Seriously... does it get any better than that?

Actually... it does.

Ubaldo Jimenez

Jimenez was absolutely on his game today. The splitter was, as Jim Tracy mentioned postgame, the best it's been all season. It was unhittable. He was confident in his fastball. He was efficient with his pitches. Only 94 through 8 innings.

I was extremely shocked when Tracy decided to pull Jimenez after eight, but with Huston Street back in the fold, Tracy elected to save some bullets while also showing confidence in his closer. For Jim's sake I'm glad it worked out because he would have faced some tough questions had that 9th inning blown up on him.

Jason Giambi

First of all, congratulations to the big man on career game #2,000. That's an awesome number and accomplishment.

Second, does he know how to celebrate in style or what? 4-for-4 today with 2 RBI and a run? It's only the third time in his 2,000 games that he's had 4 singles in one game. It was his 17th four hit game overall.

Meanwhile, Todd Helton rests at home as his replacements combine for 7-for-8 the last two nights. I'm sure no person in the world is happier about that than Todd.

Highlights: Giambi's 1st RBI & 2nd RBI

Dexter Fowler

On base again three times. Started the game off with a hit and scored right away. If he felt slighted by not being named NL Player of the Week last week, he's going about his anger in the proper way. He's an early contender for the award this week, along with Giambi, and a handful of others around the league.

Brad Hawpe

Returned to the lineup with two hits and an RBI. The RBI came with two outs in the first. Those are always nice to get, and that counts doubly with Ubaldo on the mound.

Highlight: Hawpe's RBI Single

That just about covers today's game. I tweeted last night that I wouldn't be offended if the Rockies won a simple 5-2 game every now and then. Today was 4-2, so I'll definitely take that as well.

Of course I'm not opposed to high stress wins. I'll take the wins any way you can get'em. I'd just like them spread out a little more over the course of a season!

Bonus Highlight: Yadier Molina comes through


The first place Padres come to town. Let's see if we can't change that wording by the time the Padres leave town on Sunday.

We'll also welcome Jorge De La Rosa back to the rotation. He defeated San Diego in the Rockies home opener back in April.

Lineup Card: Rockies vs Cardinals

Rockies Lineup (46-38)

  • CF Fowler
  • 2B Herrera
  • LF Gonzalez
  • 1B Giambi
  • RF Hawpe
  • C   Olivo
  • 3B Stewart
  • SS Barmes
  • P   Jimenez
Hmm.  I thought for sure we'd see Brad Eldred again.  Then again, this is Chris Carpenter on the mound for the Cards today.  Giambi has seen Carpenter 25 times -- 5 hits and 6 walks -- so having that experience in there isn't the worst idea.  No complaints here.  

Cardinals Lineup (45-39)
  • 3B Lopez
  • CF Rasmus
  • 1B Pujols
  • LF Holliday
  • RF Jay
  • C   Molina
  • SS Ryan
  • P   Carpenter
  • 2B Schumaker
No rest for the weary here. Cardinals pretty clearly do not want to get swept today in Coors Field.

Best of luck to them on that.  Or not.

Rock Solid Recap: Iannetta Welcomes Another Rookie To Coors Field

And then kindly walks the overwhelmed youngster off the mound in game-winning HR fashion.

Highlight: Welcome to the bigs, Mr. MacLane

Bonus Highlight: Iannetta's Walk-Off against the Mets


Remember when the Rockies couldn't hit themselves out of a paper bag from the 6th-7th inning on? When was that? 2004? Sure seems that long ago with the way this offense is firing right now.

It's impossible to even imagine the team went through a stretch that awful for such a prolonged period of time.  But that's baseball.  Just when you think you have the answers, the game changes the questions.

There's a common threat holding this entire offensive turnaround together.

That thread? The Colorado Springs Sky Sox.

Jonathan Herrera. Chris Iannetta. Dexter Fowler. Brad Eldred.

All men who came up from AAA or were shipped to AAA to fix their swing and returned with an improved offensive mindset. Rene Lachemann deserves a lot of the credit for this. The young men thmselves also deserve the credit for their hard work and dedication, but Lachemann is a truly professional baseball man that the Rockies are very lucky to have in their organization.

Let's see how the Four Horsemen of the Springs fared tonight.

Brad Eldred

In his Rockies debut, Eldred hit three baseballs extremely hard. Each resulted in a hit. Each hit led to Eldred scoring a run. That's making an impact.

Jonathan Herrera

Three more hits. Didn't score a run or knock a run in but kept the lineup moving. Made the opposing pitchers throw extra pitches. He's a professional pain the ass.

Dexter Fowler

There aren't going to be many situations where you'll want to see Dexter Fowler swing for the fences. Down three in the 8th inning with two men on base is one of those rare times. Fowler came through, as he seemingly has everyday since his recall.

Highlight: Fowler's 3-Run Blast

This is the guy we all prayed Fowler would become. We had our doubts through all the struggles. Of course there's always still work to be done to improve and remain consistent, but he's in a great place right now. Just going through a stretch like this will give him confidence in the future that he can overcome any and all slumps.

Chris Iannetta

Well, you already know about the walk-off bomb.

He won't be reclaiming everyday catching duties any time soon, but he's not the lonely lost kitten out there anymore either.

In total: 8-18, 2 HR, 2B, 6 R, 4 RBI

Ian Stewart

Is tonight's overlooked star of the game.

Stewart didn't even start the game, yet by the completion of the 6th inning he was 2-for-2 with 3 RBI.  Seriously.  And both hits came against a lefty.  Those two knocks set the stage for another special comeback.

Highlight: Stewart's Tough Grab

Aaron Cook

Not good again tonight for Cook. I'll say this in his defense, in Jeff Francis' defense, in Jhoulys Chacin's defnese and in Esmil Rogers' defense... the Cardinals can flat rake.

I'm still less worried about Cook right now than Francis, but maybe all involved should get a little pass for having to deal with a Cardinal offense that is as hot as it's been all season.

Matt Belisle & Huston Street

That said, these two men, along with Manny Corpas last night, deserve all the more credit for holding St. Louis down and allowing the Rockies offense to peck away and eventually finish the job.

Huston Street gets his first win of the season.  Matt Belisle gets another huge pat on the back from all his appreciative teammates.

Team Wins

These past 7-10 days have been all about winning team baseball. Guys picking others up. Guys coming up from the minors and contributing immediately.  It's incredibly fun to watch and it's satisfying to watch because you know your favorite baseball team is doing their work the right way.

There are just some teams and organizations that win constantly whose fans can't honestly experience that feeling.  That's great for them that their team wins, but I think it has to be a little bit of a hollow enjoyment compared to teams like the Rockies and Twins.


Ubaldo Jimenez vs Chris Carpenter

Seems like Ubaldo needs to be pretty special to wrestle the all-star starting gig from Josh Johnson.  That should serve as great motivation.  Chris Carpenter will just be motivated to pitch a complete game so the St. Louis bullpen can't implode again.

Gonna be a fun afternoon at the yard.