Rockies 4, Diamondbacks 2 (boxscore)
This was kind of an odd game to watch. The Rockies, who have resorted to desperate, non-sensical experiments in recent weeks just to try to scratch out a handful of wins, actually played a normal, paint-by-numbers game on Wednesday. And to top it all off... they won it!
No... seriously. They won it!
They won it with Dexter Fowler leading off the game with a triple and Marco Scutaro immediately bringing him home with a sacrifice fly. They won it with a clutch two-run double by Scutaro in the 3rd. They won it with solid (even spectacular) defense. And they won it behind a starting pitcher that was not only good, but allowed to pitch beyond the 75-pitch limit.
Normal, drama free baseball for nine straight innings. I could get used to that.
Winning Players: Dexter Fowler & Marco Scutaro
Francis was good (more on him shortly), but Fowler and Scutaro really set the tone in the 1st and 3rd innings with their productive at-bats mentioned above. Fowler would finish the night with three hits, two runs and a steal. Scutaro went 1-for-1 with the big two-run double, the sac fly, and two walks. That's what you need from the 1-2 spots.
Turning Point: I alluded to some good Rockies defense tonight. The turning point in this game came courtesy of that defense as Tyler Colvin ran down Chris Young's shot into the right field corner that looked like a game-tying two-run double (at least) off the bat.
Of course it was Colvin who saved the other Rockies win on this road trip with an even better catch in San Diego. A CarGo-Fowler-Colvin outfield for the next few years is a fun thing to think about, isn't it?
Jeff Francis' Line: 6 IP, 2 ER, 5 H, 1 BB, 4 K, 1 HR, 97 pitches (64 strikes), WIN
Needless to say, this was an excellent bounce back performance after a really rough outing in San Diego over the weekend. Hats off to Mr. Francis.
Jim Tracy even let him go well beyond the pitch count, mainly because the Rockies have off days tomorrow and Monday, meaning two extra days of rest. But Francis definitely earned the opportunity to continue if he felt up to it, which he must have. Though you do kinda have to wonder how well he'll respond even with the extra couple days because he's so conditioned to the current routine, but maybe it won't be too bad since he wasn't extended to 110-115 pitches.
Guess we'll find out for sure next Tuesday.
Bullpen's Line: 3 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 1 BB, 4 K
Adam Ottavino and Matt Belisle pitched perfect 7th and 8th innings respectively. Rafael Betancourt recorded his 17th save with a mostly clean 9th inning. Everything went according to script here as well.
Highlight of the Night: Wilin Rosario will destroy your fastballs and mistakes. Just ask Trevor Cahill.
What's Next: The Rockies are off on Thursday giving us 48 hours to really absorb and enjoy what we witnessed in this win. When they return to action on Friday they'll be welcoming the Cincinnati Reds to Coors Field, According to Jim Tracy himself, Drew Pomeranz (1-5, 4.98) will make that start. Bronson Arroyo (5-6, 3.98) will provide the challenge for Colorado's offense.
Final Thoughts: Going back to Jeff Francis for a second, did you realize the Rockies are 8-1 in his last 9 starts?
And now that you do realize it, how scary is it to think about where the Rockies would be had he not opted out of Cincinnati and elected to return to Colorado?
I, for one, did not anticipate this type of production, but thank you, Jeff Francis. Ultimate respect and appreciation is coming your way from this Rockies fan.