Friday, July 16, 2010

Rock Solid Recrap: Can't Touch Arroyo

MC Hammer Time: In the buliding.

Jason Hammel Time: In the building.

Rockies Offense: Not in the building. At least not until the 7th inning.

Reds 3, Rockies 2

This is how I would describe the 6+ innings of tonight's game.

1st Inning -- Hit the snooze button

2nd Inning -- Finally rolled out of bed. Had that straight out of bed look.

3rd Inning -- Wiping their eyes and yawning.

4th Inning -- Stretching.

5th Inning -- Stumbling into the bathroom.

6th Inning -- Shaving.

7th Inning -- Preparing breakfast. Finally glancing at their watches to realize they're two hours late for work.

In the first six innings, the only offense the Rockies could muster was a Johnny Herrera infield single that Brandon Phillips flagged but could maintain the handle on.

That's it.

Arroyo faced the minimum 18 batters through those six innings. He retired the first two batters of the 7th, before allowing a single to CarGo and an RBI double to Jason Giambi.

Reds color man Jeff Brantly said it well several different times. The Rockies simply weren't waiting back on Arroyo's offspeed pitches until Gonzalez did in the 7th inning. It was a terrible showing of plate discipline and/or preparation.

I think I'll lean towards plate discipline after witnessing the 8th inning.

Miguel Olivo leads off with a HR. Terrific start. Ian Stewart worked a walk off Arroyo. Barmes followed up with a single to end Arroyo's evening.

Dusty Baker turns the game over to him All-Star reliever Arthur Rhodes. Rhodes procedes to walk Spilborghs to load the bases. Nobody out still. 3-2 game. Top of the order (speed) coming to the plate. We just need a well struck baseball or two.

Dexter Fowler -- Made one he best catches I've seen all season to keep the Rockies in the baseball game (highlight). His plate appearance here wasn't nearly as pretty. He popped up a 1-1 pitch into short RF. No chance for advancement.

Not to be harsh on Dexter He's shown some improvement since his recall. Unfortunately, since the HR against St. Louis, every AB result seems to be a K or a flyout. He's not working counts as deeply. He's not making the solid gap-to-gap contact anymore. It seems he liked the feel of the HR and he wants to feel it again.

That needs to be corrected quickly or the Rockies will have a big hole at #1 again.

Jonathan Herrera -- Maybe for the first time all season looked overmatched in a plate appearance. Arthur Rhodes pretty much carved him up and set him down looking on an inside fastball.

Carlos Gonzalez -- Had one goal in mind: Grand Slam.

Every swing was for the downs. He wanted to jack one over the Ohio River, over Kentucky, and have it land somewhere in the gulf of Mexico. It was a really bad AB. He missed every pitch by a foot.

The Rockies would mount no threat in the 9th.

It was a game they really had no business winning the way they played early. The Dexter Fowler play and the fine work done by Jason Hammel (career high 10 Ks) kept them in a great position. They just couldn't get the big hit in their one amazing opportunity to score.

Tip your cap to Arroyo and the Reds bullpen. Tip your cap to their fans for creating a playoff like atmosphere. They are clearly hungry for a winner in that town. That was so evident tonight. They might be twice as pumped tomorrow with Edinson Volquez making his long awaited return from Tommy John Surgery.

Jorge De La Rosa will attempt to spoil that return while reassetring himself in the Rockies rotation. Should be another fun one.

Lineup Card: Rockies @ Reds

88 down, 74 to go.  

After this extremely difficult 11 game east coast trip, only 63 to go.

This has to be a good trip for the Rockies.  A 4-7 or worse simply won't cut it.  A 5-6 or 6-5 won't kill you, but could leave you slightly vulnerable.  7-4 and beyond would make it extremely difficult for anyone to gain significant ground.

It begins tonight in Cincinnati.  The FIRST place Reds are desperate to fight off the St. Louis Cardinals.  They aren't a team that's likely to fade.  They're 27-19 at home.  Their lineup is littered with all-stars.  Their rotation is a solid mix of upcoming special talent and seasoned vets.  They have a solid bullpen.

In other words, the Rockies will have to earn their keep this weekend.  No gimmes here.

Rockies Lineup (49-39)
  • CF  Fowler
  • 2B  Herrera
  • RF  Gonzalez
  • 1B  Giambi
  • LF  Smith
  • C    Olivo
  • 3B  Stewart
  • SS  Barmes
  • P    Hammel
Jim Tracy has said he will start using Brad Hawpe at 1B tomorrow.  So that's an interesting, yet not totally unexpected development coming out of the All-Star break.  

Reds Lineup (49-41)
  • 2B  Phillips (All-Star)
  • SS  Cabrera
  • 1B  Votto (All-Star)
  • 3B  Rolen (All-Star)
  • LF Gomes
  • RF Bruce
  • CF Stubbs
  • C   Hanigan
  • P   Arroyo