Thursday, June 17, 2010

Rock Solid Recap: My Favorite Number

Is lucky 13. Always has been. Always will be.

I'm hoping Ubaldo's favorite/lucky/magic number ends up being 27. Lord knows the Rockies will need it to be to have a shot at 90 wins.

Rockies 5, Twins 1

Winning Player: Ubaldo Jimenez

Because he flat did it again. You could nitpick and look at the number of hits he allowed in 8 innings. You'd be stupid to do so. Jimenez doesn't mind those a bit if the batter swings early in the count and earns his way on base.

He just shrugs those off and makes his next pitch a better pitch. A number of times than next pitch resulted in a double play, and Jimenez walked away from the mound with a low pitch inning.

That's the beauty of the Jimenez we're seeing right now. Hits don't bother him. He wants opponents to swing early in the count. He's pitching to contact early in those counts, because he knows he can make the pitches later to wipe out baserunners. It's so beautiful to watch a guy pitch with that much confidence, that has the stuff to back up the confidence and the mindset.

If Jimenez were still trying to be a strikeout pitcher, he'd still be that guy we saw from 2007-2009. The guy who barely gets through 5-6 innings. The guy who sometimes blows up in the 3rd-4th inning. Now the strikeout stays in his back pocket. And he only breaks it out when he really needs it.


The stars lined up for the Rockies in the first inning today. Francisco Liriano did not start the game sharp. He hit two batters. His fastball was sailing in every which direction. But credit the offense for taking advantage of that by sprinkling in the timely hits. Those have been missing far too often.

Of course the offense went in the deep freeze for the next six innings. No big shock there given their recent history and the ability of Liriano. However, the two big runs they added in the 8th inning off Minnesota's bullpen really felt like a breakthrough.

Those runs ended up looking pretty important as Joe Mauer stepped in with the two runners on in the bottom of the inning. His one big swing couldn't beat you at that point. That's why you have to keep adding on, no matter who's on the mound for you. Hopefully that'll be something we start to see more of heading towards July.

And credit Spilborghs for putting those two runs up there with a big HR. Right after Tulowitzki was hit by that pitch (I hope he's okay) I was thinking the only way to pay them back is to hit the next pitch off Alex Burnett's kneecap, or hit one in the seats. Spilly went with the latter. We'll take it.

Solid win today. This team really needs to back this up with a series win over Milwaukee. There's very little room left for error here. Not with three teams in the division up on you and playing well. Now really is the time to turn it on.

Lineup Card: Rockies @ Twins

Rockies Lineup (3-2)

  • CF Gonzalez
  • 1B Helton
  • SS Tulowitzki
  • LF Spilborghs
  • C  Olivo
  • 3B Mora
  • RF Hawpe
  • DH Iannetta
  • 2B Barmes
Ubaldo Jimenez.  That is all.  

Iannetta stands out as a head scratcher at first glance.  He's hardly done anything to earn the right to hit for anyone.  Then when you consider the pitching matchp, and the Rockies lack of RH hitters on the bench, you can make sense of it.  That said, maybe a you let Mora DH and get Herrera a day in the field.  Let Herrera hit leadoff.  That could make sense, too.  

I do like Spilborghs hitting cleanup.  

As for Brad Hawpe.  Where's Seth Smith?  At least I feel like he has a shot against left-handers.  

Twins Lineup (38-27)
  • CF Span
  • 2B Tolbert
  • 1B Morneau
  • DH Kubel
  • RF Cuddyer
  • LF Young
  • 3B Valencia
  • SS Punto
  • C  Butera
P Francisco Liriano -- He's good.  Very good.  

No Joe Mauer today.  He's taken a beating behind the plate lately so he gets a day to rest those bumps and bruises.  Also a little surprised we didn't see Jim Thome this season.  I guess the Twins figure why mess with a good thing.  

Numbers That Make You Queasy

Courtesy of Rotoworld.

Scott Baker dominated the Rockies on Wednesday, allowing two hits over seven scoreless innings and striking out 12 in a victory.
 There's that word again: Dominated.
The 12 strikeouts are a new career high for Baker. He's always featured a strong strikeout rate, but he's not one to rack up a whole bunch in an outing like this. Oddly, he had recently been suffering in that category, striking out a total of 12 batters over 23 1/3 innings in his previous four starts. Always a streaky pitcher, perhaps this was what he needed to get himself going.
And how many times do we hear about a starter racking up an unusually high -- sometimes season/career high -- number of strikeouts in a start against the Rockies?