Rockies 6, Dodgers 2 (boxscore)
Winning Player: Carlos Gonzalez (2-for-3, 2 RBI, 2 R, BB, 2 broken bats)
Just to give you an idea of how productive he was tonight, even the lone out he made was an RBI grounder in the first. He really played his offensive role perfectly tonight and is so locked in right now it's making life much easier for the pieces around him.
Also, he made a really good catch. (Watch)
Honorable Mentions: Troy Tulowitzki - Only one hit, but it was the game-breaking two-run double in the decisive 4th.
Ramon Hernandez - We've seen his power early in the season, but tonight he impressed with his situational hitting. In the 4th, it was a sacrifice fly that capped the three-run rally. In the 6th, Ramon delivered a two-out RBI double that pushed the advantage to 5-2. Big insurance runs.
Turning Point: Ramon's double led us to 7th inning, where Jim Tracy surprised most of us by putting Juan Nicasio back on the hill after he needed a season high 108 pitches to get through the first six. Granted, Nicasio had held his own all night long and the bullpen was certainly gassed from the weekend series with New York, but it just felt like Nicasio had reached his limit in a stressful 6th and this was going to be a really bad idea.
Exactly seven pitches later, it proved to be a really bad idea as pinch-hitter Jerry Hairston and lead-off man Dee Gordon smoked back-to-back singles. That forced Tracy to finally budge and make his call... to Esmil Rogers. Rogers then made a difficult situation an impossible situation by walking Mark Ellis to load the bases for Matt Kemp.
If you weren't assuming the worst at that point you're either a liar, a regular contributor to Toyota Talk, or most likely managing the Colorado Rockies. That situation screamed first degree meltdown.
And then something weird happened. There was no meltdown. The wheels stayed connected to then wagon. In fact, if you can believe it, the absolute best case scenario played out as Rogers rebounded to strikeout Kemp, Rex Brothers was brought in to face and strikeout Andre Ethier, and then Edgmer Escalona shut the inning down by getting pinch-hitter Juan Rivera to popup.
Honestly, it ended being a thrilling series of moments. All three relievers deserve heaps of credit for escaping that trap, for keeping Juan Nicasio in line for a win he greatly deserved win, and even for getting Jim Tracy off the hook.
They did the impossible.
Juan Nicasio's Line: 6 IP, 2 ER, 7 H, 2 BB, 4 K, 1 HR (Matt Kemp) 115 pitches (71 strikes)
You can live with Matt Kemp going yard as long as you keep the bases clear in front of him, which is exactly what Nicasio did. He did struggle at times with putting hitters away (something we saw all weekend), which elevated the pinch count a bit, and the final line wasn't helped by Jim Tracy leaving out there to start the seventh, but overall a really solid outing against a hot team coming in.
Screengrab of the Game
|The father of Jonathan Herrera applauds his son's 4th inning single. (Root)|
Highlights of the Night: Todd Helton added two more plays to his defensive highlight reel tonight. Let's enjoy both of them.
What's Next: Hard to believe we're already turing the calendar to May. The Rockies and Dodgers are back at it in second of this three game set Tuesday night at 6:40. Jhoulys Chacin is set to go for the Rockies. The Dodgers will counter with Ted Lilly. Last I checked Lilly is left-handed, so Chacin better be Nicasio good just in case the offense can't figure him out.
Final Thoughts: The Rockies saved their best all around game in April for last. All three phases were clicking tonight... to the point that they could overcome the red hot Dodgers, and even their own manager who seemed desperate to make it interesting. Good win. Decent month.
PS: I'll be putting together a recap of April along with some player rankings that will be published tomorrow. Be on the look for it or stayed tuned to Twitter (see below).