Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Rock Solid Recap: Rockies Hurl First Shutout Behind Christian Friedrich

Rockies 4, Diamondbacks 0 (boxscore)

Winning Player: Christian Friedrich

What little stability the Rockies rotation has enjoyed over the past month has been mostly provided by Friedrich. The young lefty was beyond solid again here, despite not exactly possessing what you'd call good command early on. That led to a challenging first two innings that saw Arizona leave the bases loaded in the 1st and a runner at second in the 2nd. Friedrich then settled down enough to retire eight of the next nine and ultimately worked deep into the game.

Christian Friedrich's Line: 7 IP, 0 R, 4 H, 2 BB, 4 K, 113 pitches (69 strikes)

The pitch count is a new major league high for Friedrich. In fact, he only reached 100 (exactly) one time before (on May 19 vs Seattle), so it's by a pretty fair margin. I figure that's noteworthy on some level, but overall I'm just thrilled with Friedrich's performance to date and certainly looking forward to his next outing against the Angels.

Turning Point: I mentioned Arizona leaving the bases loaded in the 1st. A big reason for that was Dexter Fowler's outstanding diving catch (Watch) on Aaron Hill's line drive that happened at the beginning of the inning. If that ball gets down, the D-Backs have two on and no outs. If it gets past Fowler, the D-Backs have a run on the board and another 90 feet away. It was an early game changer, and another positive step in Fowler's development into a difference maker.

Highlight of the Night: As important as Fowler's play was, and despite how much I love Wilin Rosario home runs (Watch), my favorite play of the game was Jordan Pacheco's backhand stop and strong throw across the diamond to retire Paul Goldschmidt in the 3rd. It's a play Pacheco has struggled with all season, but he aced it here to get an out.

Screengrab of the Game

Not often the Rockies play Arizona with their roof open. Not a bad view.
What's Next: The Rockies will look to stay hot with Jeremy Guthrie (3-3, 5.48) on the mound. He'll be matched against Arizona's ace Ian Kennedy (4-5, 4.26), and we're scheduled for a 7:40 MT first pitch on Tuesday night.

Final Thoughts: It's good to be back in the swing of things and writing about the Rockies pitching well, playing damn solid defense, and I didn't even get around to the offense executing at critical times, ensuring that Friedrich's outing wasn't wasted. A total team win this was.

More Rockies thoughts await you if you follow me on Twitter: @Townie813 & @HeavenHelton