Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Rock Solid Recap: Rockies, Rutledge Double Up On Dodgers

Rockies 3, Dodgers 1 (boxscore)

Winning Player: Josh Rutledge

The Rockies pitched their way to a series victory and their first back-to-back wins over the same team since they swept the Houston Astros four straight back in May. However, the big story for Colorado continues to be the hot hitting of rookie Josh Rutledge, who collected his first four-hit game, including three doubles (to all three fields by the way) and all three Rockies RBIs.

It's early for Rutledge, obviously, and he appears to have a few detractors in the scouting world (see: Law, Keith), but his swing looks smooth and the sounds his bat makes are wonderful. The ball is jumping off his bat right now, even in Dodger Stadium at night. The last two doubles especially were smoked. He's no doubt feeling it and seeing it well.

Will there be rough days ahead?

Positively. It's the big leagues. But he seems to be handling the day-to-day adjustments well and hasn't given me a good reason yet to feel nervous about him becoming overmatched once pitchers make their next round of adjustments.

Again... early... things change quickly. But for now, just keep swinging, kid. Just keep swinging.

Turning Point: Rutledge's night would have been a waste if not for Eric Young Jr. again reaching base at will. After a three-hit, two-run night in the opener, Young followed with three more hits, a walk, and two more runs scored. That's what a difference maker does. His name in the lineup and his production has changed the entire series.

To repeat what I said last night about Young: Need more of this!

Alex White's Line: 4 IP, 0 R, 1 H, 5 BB, 2 K, 80 pitches (42 strikes)

Like Drew Pomeranz on Monday, White put up zeroes for four innings (positive) but didn't throw enough strikes to stick around very long (negative). That's pretty much the bottom line. He needs to throw more strikes (the common Rockies theme), but at least he's doing a better job of keeping the ball in the yard.

Josh Roenicke's Line: 3 IP, 0 R, 1 H, 1 BB, 2 K, 49 pitches (27 strikes)

I have no idea how Roenicke is maintaining that 2.21 ERA while being worked into the ground. What a breath of fresh air he continues in the face of a foul-smelling pitching experiment.

The 8th Inning: Rex Brothers needed help again getting through his assignment and ended up being responsible for the only run LA scored. Of course Matt Belisle allowed the hit (a Mark Ellis RBI double) that plated the run, but the inning was limited to that one run. It works.

Rafael Betancourt's Line: 1 IP and more 0's

Back-to-back clean saves for Betancourt, Meanwhile, Huston Street is a perfect 20-for-20 in save attempts for San Diego (in case you were wondering). A good closer is a nice thing to have... if you ever get to use them.

Highlight of the Night: The Dodgers wanted nothing to do with Carlos Gonzalez (three walks) at the plate, so he made his contributions in the field.

What's Next: A sweep? Is that really possible?

Jeff Francis (3-4, 6.02) vs. Chad Billingsley (7-9, 3.74). Same time on Wednesday night.

I'm almost a little nervous!

Final Thoughts: Only Jim Tracy and the Colorado Rockies would allow a RELIEF pitcher to hit in the 7th inning with runners on 2nd and 3rd and one out like they did on Tuesday.

Granted, the lead was 3-0 at the time, Josh Roenicke was throwing well, and the options are limited by the Rockies silly pitching strategy and a short bench, but how much more maddening can it get? The team is constantly handcuffed by their own silliness, which more times than not is going to cost them.

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