Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Rock Solid Recap: Rockies defeat weather and Cubbies

In the hours leading up to Monday night's game at Wrigley Field, I was certain there would be a delay or two at best, with no baseball likely. But despite the rain that had been falling most of the afternoon into the early evening, the game started on time, with a window opening up just enough to fit in the full nine innings.

That left us with two completely different teams battling on less than ideal field conditions. One of them very good defensively. The other being the Chicago Cubs.

I think you already know how this ends before I type another word.

Rockies 5 (0 errors), Cubs 3 (4 errors) (boxscore)

-- Unfortunately for Chicago's future All-Star Starlin Castro, the baseball kept finding him when the field was probably in its worst condition, the baseball was its slickest, and his self doubt was highest. That was in the top of the second inning, when Castro committed three consecutive errors.

The first came on a routine grounder off the bat of Troy Tulowitzki. I'm putting that one all on Castro, creating a little self doubt after a rough weekend with the glove.

The second was a Jose Lopez chopper that he could never grip. Wet baseball.

The third was the most devastating. Chris Iannetta pulled one deep in the hole at short. Castro attempted to cut down the lead runner at second, his throw sailed way wide of the bag, allowing two runs to score and Iannetta to move all the way to third. Tough play and wet baseball means you can't try to do something spectacular.

The fourth error belonged to pitcher Matt Garza, who airmailed a Jonathan Herrera sacrifice bunt attempt into the Rockies bullpen. That led to the decisive runs crossing the plate.

That left Garza with the unusual looking line of 6 IP, 3 H, 5 R (1 ER), 1 BB, 7 K and 1 Loss

As you can see, the honest truth is the Rockies didn't do a whole lot offensively. But they never once shot themselves in the foot in the field, and they made all four Cubs errors count against them. So credit goes all around once again. Especially to the gloves. That's really quite an accomplishment to play error free tonight.

-- Esmil Rogers had another rough beginning to his outing on Monday, but unlike the last time against San Francisco, he was able to rebound for another 4+ innings of solid work. That was a huge bounce back that had to restore a lot of his confidence and the team's confidence in him. I know mine was wavering quite a bit when he served up the 0-2 home run to Darwin Barney (1st career).

So credit goes to Esmil for hanging tough and showing a lot of mental toughness in the face of doubt, poor performance and really crappy weather. Says a lot for him. Maybe even qualifies as a step forward.

-- I didn't see the Rockies feed but I hope Matt Lindstrom was player of the game. His inning and two-thirds were awesome. He only needed 18 pitches to get five big outs, including getting Rogers out of the 6th inning jam by retiring Castro and then blowing away Jeff Baker. By far the biggest outs of the game.

-- Rafael Betancourt and Huston Street did their jobs once again. You have to really like how the Rockies are able to shorten games to 6-7 innings with Lindstrom, Betancourt and Street throwing so well. Takes a little pressure away from the offense. Yes, you still want them to add on, but there's not that overwhelming doom and gloom feeling if they don't.

At least for right now.