And to rub salt in the would, both big hits came with two outs.
-- How would I describe Ubaldo Jimenez's performance?
It was encouraging that aside from the triple by Omar Infante, the Marlins had zero good swings against him. His fastball was overpowering when located, and his movement was very good. But it was discouraging to see him lose his command so quickly in the 5th, walking the 6-7-8 hitters starting off the inning.
That's when you want to see your pitcher to challenge hitters and hopefully get quick outs. Instead he killed his pitch count, left himself exposed to that one back-breaking hit, and that's exactly was Infante delivered. I'm sure fatigue played more a part in that than anything. So once that arm strength builds up he should be in line for a string of excellent starts.
Overall there's much more positive than negative. But when you're matched up with a guy like Josh Johnson, you have to be close to flawless.
-- Yeah, I would agree the Rockies had too many long stretches without hits this week, but the at-bats really weren't terrible. Sure, there are a couple guys that look lost, but it's not at the point where they are giving away at-bat after at-bat, inning after inning. They're drawing walks. Extending pitch counts. Giving themselves a chance for success.
Even Carlos Gonzalez took noticeable steps towards improving his approach this afternoon. Dexter Fowler and Jonathan Herrera continued their production at the top. And surprisingly, I thought Jose Lopez had good at-bats. Nothing to show for them, but he exhibited signs of life.
-- By the way, Tim Lincecum and Josh Johnson are really good pitchers. Anibal Sanchez already had a no-hitter and a one-hitter prior to his outing Saturday. It's not like they're struggling against ham-n-eggers. Sometimes you just tip your cap to brilliant pitching.
-- Clayton Mortensen had a flawless two inning relief appearance. He's up to eight scoreless innings of relief now in his two appearances. And he works really fast. He no more than catches that return from throw from the catcher and he's back on the hill into his delivery. I really like what I've seen so far, and I imagine he stands a good chance of sticking around a bit.
-- Poor Matt Belisle made six excellent pitches to Gaby Sanchez Unfortunately, and ridiculously, four of them were called balls by the maddeningly inconsistent Dale Scott (Pitch chart). Thanks to Andrew Fisher of Purple Row for posting that.
Belisle then made a couple bad pitches to Mike Stanton. The second one resulting in the long, game-deciding homer.
-- No doubt this loss leaves a bad taste in your mouth, kinda like the Sunday loss in Atlanta last April. But overall there's no real reason to feel bad about how that team played. It's just a matter of the Marlins, who by the way are now 13-7, maximizing their opportunities and pitching very well.
-- On to Chicago.