Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Rock Solid Recap: I'm liking this road trip so far

Back-to-back hard fought wins for the Rockies to start this 7-game road trip. Not a darn thing to complain about tonight.

But I shall continue to analyze.

Rockies 3, Reds 2 (boxscore)

Which I will do so now by asking and answering my own questions about this game.

Was Esmil Rogers more efficient?

111 pitches to record 18 outs.

That's not efficient. But make no mistake Rogers battled his tail off to get those outs and left the game in great shape for the bullpen. Credit him for that. Yes, it would be ideal  for Esmil to start racking up quicker outs, but I'll just take the outs for now and hope he continues to move forward and maybe even gains some more confidence in his game.

As a back of the rotation guy, you're not asking him to take a huge step forward. You won't always need him to go 7-8 innings, but it would be nice to know he could on nights the bullpen needs a breather. Honestly though, you can nitpick it, but if you step back and look at it, his last two start have been about the same or better efficiency and productivity wise than what Ubaldo Jimenez was giving you in this spot all season. So hey, that's not bad at all.

Rogers also has the same number of wins this season as Ubaldo: 6.

Not that it matters much.

Did the offense continue its momentum?

Sadly, it did not. Striking out ten times against Dontrelle Willis is really what you'd call embarrassing, but thankfully the limited opportunities they created for themselves were cashed in in the 4th and 5th innings.

Did Troy Tulowitzki have a clutch game?

Absolutely. For all the struggles he's had putting together good at-bats late in games, which can't be ignored but has certainly been overblown in some circles (maybe even by me), he's still killing the ball and putting the Rockies in a better position late in games with his early damage. That's what he did Tuesday, lining an 0-1 pitch from Willis over the left field fence in about 1.4 seconds. A laser.

Plus, by hitting it over the fence, it ensures he can't make an out on the bases. That's a good lesson on hiding your weaknesses.

Who's left in the bullpen?

With Huston Street unavailable due to a side injury, Matt Belisle unavailable due to pitching in every game since May, and Matt Lindstrom heading to the DL, the Rockies were awfully short-handed in the bullpen here.

Of course that didn't stop Jim Tracy from micromanaging and running through his options quickly.

Matt Reynolds: A very clean 7th inning against the middle of Cincinnati's order. The strikeout pitch to Jay Bruce was filth.

Josh Roenicke: Last night I joked about Roenicke closing, setting up and even setting up the setup man. I didn't honestly know he'd be forced to pitch in the 8th with a lead, but he did well retiring two of three batters. Jim Tracy just didn't trust him to finish the frame.

Rex Brothers: So he turned to Brothers, who got Yonder Alonso to flyout.

Rafael Betancourt: Another 1-2-3 inning, this time in the 9th for a save in a one-run game. He's absolutely locked in right now.

Colorado did have an 8th reliever available in Edgmer Escalona. He would be good for three, maybe four innings. But still, Jim Tracy is lucky things went as smoothly as they did.

Final thought

The Rockies now turn to Kevin Millwood to keep this momentum going. I honestly have no idea what to expect or even rationally hope they can get out of him, but check back again tomorrow when we should have a better idea.