Rockies 5, Pirates 4 (boxscore)
When you enter play at 34-54, you'll take a win any way you can get it, even if that includes suffering through an hour long delay in the 9th inning, blowing a 4-1 lead in said 9th inning through the combined efforts of Rafael Betancourt (credited with a "hold"), Rex Brothers (vultures a "win") and Pedro Alvarez (certified Rockie killer) before ultimately scoring the game winner in a dramatic bottom of the 9th.
It was miserable.
It was painful (especially seeing Jeff Francis lose a much deserved victory).
It was also quite predictable.
It was Rockies baseball at its Rockiest... right up until Dexter Fowler's sacrifice fly clinched them victory #35 (Yes, I was expecting Wilin Rosario to slip on a wet spot 80 feet down the line).
I'll take it.
Winning Player: Jeff Francis: 5 IP, 1 ER, 6 H, 0 BB, 1 K, 73 pitches (42 strikes)
Solid contributions from a number of players tonight (Dexter Fowler, Wilin Rosario, Josh Roenick, and even Eric Young Jr. and Jason Giambi off the bench), but Francis is simply rolling right now and deserves the nod.
Every fourth day you know you're getting at least five innings from Francis, which under our current system is like a guaranteed eight innings every fifth day. He's pounding the strike zone. He's putting up zeroes. He's also bringing a small bit of stability to a rotation that needs a lot of it, but what any little bit is definitely appreciated.
Keep it rolling, Francis.
Turning Point: I always cringe when Jim Tracy pinch-hits Eric Young Jr. in a scoring opportunity. My feeling is always to save him for when his legs would be most valuable and use a Jason Giambi or Chris Nelson (unfortunately he was unavailable tonight - more later) in that spot, but credit Young for his improvement in all facets of the game. He didn't just give a good at-bat (like he has all season) in his spot tonight, but he actually barreled up a ball and DROVE it over Josh Harrison's head for a two-run double. That was a huge, huge hit for EY, and game-changing hit for the team.
Refuse to be ignored sounded like a cute motto before the season. I admire that Young has made it more than a cute (ultimately empty) motto. He's made it stick and made it mean something. Good for him.
Highlight of the Night: A double of Dex tonight.
Fowler made that play look way too easy. He possess some special athleticism that we're seeing on display more and more as he gets more comfortable and confident.
Professional at-bat in a game situation. His maturation process is becoming a big highlight in this otherwise miserable season.
What's Next: Wouldn't it be fun if the Rockies followed up on Tuesday with a solid nine inning performance? If they're to get that done, it'll take another solid outing from Christian Friedrich (5-6, 5.60), who was at his best against Philadelphia last Friday. He'll be opposed by Erik Bedard (4-10, 4.80), so I'm thinking... I don't know what I'm thinking. I'll just tune it again at 6:40 and observe.
Final Thoughts: My best wishes go out to Chris Nelson, who was hospitalized on Monday for an irregular heartbeat. Whenever you hear about a problem with the tinker, it's obviously concerning. We certainly hope that this is just an indication that doctors are taking all of the necessary precautions to monitor and ensure his health, and not that they were overly alarmed by something they've seen.
Bottom line, we'll also pulling for Chris and we definitely hope he's back in the Rockies clubhouse and lineup sooner than later.