It's funny... well, not really funny... it's interesting to note that the Rockies offense has risen to the occasion a few times lately to ensure Ubaldo Jimenez avoids his 2nd loss of the season, while Jason Hammel hasn't been quite so fortunate in getting off the hook.
There's a lonnnnnng list of factors involved in that. Too many to get into. They aren't playing favorites, obviously, but poor Jason has been the Rockies best pitcher for the better part of six weeks and a lot of times (not always) it seems he has to be perfect to leave the mound with a chance for a W.
Tonight, though, he was from perfect. At least early.
The first inning looked like it would be a breeze. Unfortunately, he couldn't make a good enough two strike pitch to Hanley Ramirez, Dan Uggla or Jorge Cantu to close the door. Their three straight hits, all on pitches elevated in the zone, gave the Marlins a 2-0 lead.
The second inning was the same problem all over again. He couldn't put away Chris Coghlan with two outs. That opened the door for Gaby Sanchez, who promptly crushed a 3-run HR to straight away CF. And I mean crushed. There are no cheapies to be had straight away center at Sunlife.
Hammel seemed destined for a short night at that point, but to his credit, he bounced back from the early mishaps to provide Jim Tracy with five scoreless innings. You can't understate the importance of that in the big picture.
Especially when you don't know what you'll get from Jorge De La Rosa tomorrow.
Especially when you'll be spending four days in Philadelphia right before a homestand.
So my hat goes off to Hammel despite his overall clunker of an outing.
The offense again waited until Hammel was off the mound before scoring their only two runs of the game. That's what happened in his start in Cincinnati as well.
Ricky Nolasco was pretty good, allowing only four hits and striking out eight over the same number of innings. He was also pretty lucky on a couple Jason Giambi rockets. One that was flagged down by Cody Ross in deep center. Another that was snagged by tonight's biggest enemy, Gaby Sanchez.
I guess what I'm saying is Nolasco was good, but I also feel he was pretty hittable. There just weren't enough baseballs squared up like the ones Giambi hit, and then the 2-run Seth Smith HR in the 8th.
I point directly at poor ABs by Carlos Gonzalez and Brad Hawpe. Complete wastes.
Someone has to sit Gonzalez down especially and tell him you don't have to swing harder on the road. Keep the same swing you use at home. Drive the ball to all fields. Knock off these awful overswings that look like you're trying to pull every ball into the upper deck for a 6-run HR.
That's probably where the bruised finger came from. Gripping the bat too hard and swinging too hard. It looks terrible.
And the opposing pitchers are also figuring out that CarGo won't walk, so why throw him strikes. Let him get himself out until he makes the proper adjustments and learns some more discipline.
Are you ready for baseball at 10 AM Denver sports fans?
I hope the Rockies bats are. If not, they'll get their wake up call on that first Johnson 99 MPH fastball at the letters.