Saturday, June 19, 2010

Rock Solid Life-Shortening Recap

How did we live through 10 years of games like that night after night?

Rockies 8, Brewers 7

That one has to rank at or near the top of the wackiest, weirdest, craziest games played in Denver.

Oddly enough, it may not have been the craziest in baseball today. Rays/Marlins and Phillies/Twins make a strong case for that title.

What made this particular game a little extra crazier was the incredible struggles of the Rockies offense coming in. No one would blame you if you sensed the game was at 4-1. Even when they scored the three to tie in the 7th, I wouldn't have blamed you for feeling like they were going to find a way to fall short. The Rockies just don't win games like this in 2010.

On the other side, when the Rockies put four more on the board in the 8th, no one would have blamed you for feeling like the Rockies were secure with a four run lead. We should know better than that by now, but you just can't help but feel that way.

Then Manny Corpas comes in. I don't know what it is about closers in non-save situations, but once a closer is in that role for awhile, they simply can't succeed in non-save apeearances. That is among the biggest anomalies in baseball since the save stat came into play. No one can explain it or understand it.

Another anomaly (Denver only) is Jim Tracy going to Franklin Morales with the game on the line. Was Tracy afraid to use Joe Beimel because Prince Fielder doubled against him last night? If so, Tracy is a moron. Have your best guys ready regardless. Morales is not your best guy.

In fact, Morales should never touch a baseball in a 9th inning again this season. He just can't handle the pressure. It's even past the point where it's fair to question why he's even on the 25 man roster. He doesn't offer anything. I still think he could somewhere down the line, but that time is not now or anytime soon.

Co-Winning Players: Seth Smith and Jonathan Herrera

There's a reason Smith was given the nickname "Mr. Late Night". He's earned it in the past and he put a trademark on it tonight. Obviously his HR that tied the game was important, but the 2-out hit in the 8th was even more so. If that rally had died with only one run scored, chances are pretty good this game ended a lot differently.

That leads into the other Winning Player.

Jonathan Herrera's hit right after that ended up being the difference in the game. It's amazing how important those two out hits can be, even when they don't seem to be. Herrera's excellence wasn't just limited to one AB, he was fantastic all evening, collecting four hits, and playing a level of defense that is consistent with Tulowitzki and Barmes up the middle.

I was excited by the possibility of seeing Chris Nelson (don't overlook his bunt in that 8th inning) start tonight, but credit Jim Tracy for not only sticking with Herrera, but batting him leadoff. That made a big difference.

I still want to see Chris Nelson play, but I also don't see how you can sit Herrera after tonight. How about Herrera at third tomorrow, Nelson at short, Barmes at second, and Ian Stewart riding pine against a lefty? Write that one down, Jim.

One last thing...

The offense still needs to do a better job of putting the ball in play.  I think tonight was a good example of the many good things that can happen when you simply put wood on baseball.  That said, the strikeouts against Gallardo weren't great, but the overall patience and extending of the pitch count won this game for Colorado. If Gallardo goes one more inning, again, chances are this ends differently.  So credit there.

I'm exhausted again just thinking about the game. Be back with you again tomorrow. Let's pull for back-to-back weekend sweeps and the Rockies going five games over for the first time in 2010.

Lineup Card: Rockies vs Brewers

Rockies Lineup (5-2)

  • 2B Herrera
  • 1B Helton
  • CF Spilborghs
  • RF Hawpe
  • LF Mora
  • 3B Stewart
  • C  Olivo
  • 2B Barmes
  • P  Francis
CarGo's out until Tuesday with the sore knee.  He tweaked the knee when he slipped fielding a ball Wednesday at Target Field.  I hate Target Field.  Melvin Mora plays LF tonight.  Something tells me he's going to have a busy night out there.  That's just how baseball works.  

All the speculation of Chris Nelson starting tonight was untrue, though Jim Tracy did say during his pregame yesterday that he didn't want to throw Nelson right into the fire.  I guess facing Yovani Gallardo counts as the fire.  

Brewers Lineup (28-39)
  • 2B Weeks
  • RF Hart
  • LF Braun
  • 1B Fielder
  • 3B McGehee
  • C  Lucroy
  • CF Gomez
  • SS Escobar
  • P  Gallardo
Same lineup that was shutout by Hammel, Beimel, Betancourt and Corpas last night.  Doubt they'll be shutout again.  Need some offense!