Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Rock Solid Recrap: Rockies lose by 270 feet

It was an old fashioned pitcher's duel at Citizens Bank Park between Jorge De La Rosa and Cole Hamels. Unfortunately, Hamels got the best of it, striking out eight and allowing only five hits and one run over eight innings.

That left De La Rosa as a tough luck loser. He'll have to settle for a complete game as consolation prize, having lasted eight innings with five hits and two runs (one earned) allowed.

Phillies 2, Rockies 1 (boxscore)

With both pitcher's dealing, this game really game came down to one interesting baserunning decision and two different pitches that cost the Colorado Rockies 270 feet.

In the first, Alfredo Amezaga singled with one out. The next batter, Carlos Gonzalez, pulled a single to right field that John Mayberry Jr. charged, fielded cleanly in shallow right field, and made a great throw to nip Amezaga at third. It was an aggressive attempt. Not sure how smart it was, but I know the result was costly for Colorado.

The two pitches occurred later. Chris Iannetta committed a passed ball in the fifth that put a runner at third with one out. And then Jorge De La Rosa tossed a wild pitch in the eighth that also put a runner at third with one out.

In both instances the Phillies cashed that runner in. In a game that ended up 2-1, I'd say that was pretty significant. You tip your cap to them for executing, but it was very frustrating from my perspective because I really thought Chris Iannetta could have done a better job preventing those runners from advancing.

I've never donned the tools of ignorance at any point in my life, so I have no experience attempting to do what I'm being critical of here. But there's no denying Iannetta's technique can be sloppy from time to time. That he gets into stretches where his first reaction is to backhand everything. If you're expecting a fastball up and it's two feet in front of the plate, it's going to be difficult to block it with the proper technique, but it's impossible when your first instinct is to backhand it.

Heck, sometimes Chris will backhand pitches on the inside corner and take them right out of the strike zone. I don't think that's what he wants to be doing there, but again, I have no catching experience.

I was probably too harsh in my tweet on the wild pitch. But it was frustrating to watch. It may seem like a minor thing overall, but on a night when run scoring opportunities were scarce and every 90 feet was of the utmost importance, it was magnified.

To Iannetta's credit, he called a terrific game. He had De La Rosa's full trust with the game plan and that led to a gem. The offense just couldn't get anything going against Cole Hamels. And then they wasted Seth Smith's lead-off double in the ninth with Carlos Gonzalez, Troy Tulowitzki and Jason Giambi all striking out.

And no doubt there were some questionable strike calls mixed in there.

Hopefully the Rockies can put this one behind them and head into tomorrow's game maintaining the confidence they built sweeping San Francisco. There's no shame in splitting in Philadelphia.