Thursday, July 21, 2011

Rock Solid Recap: A wonderful Wednesday winner

I have to be honest with you to start out. On the heels of what I wrote after both Monday and Tuesday's games, Wednesday night's victory may have been the most encouraging and enjoyable win since the two-game home sweep against San Francisco.

Just a wonderful game all the way with around with solid pitching, exceptional defense, and maybe not the most explosive offensive effort, but an exhilarating one thanks to Carlos Gonzalez's walk-off single.

Rockies 3, Braves 2 (boxscore)

Juan Nicasio

That was so damned impressive. Battling the same team that lit him up at Turner Field just two weeks ago, Nicasio came back with a better game plan or better execution of a similar game plan. It was tough to tell which it was because that last start didn't last long enough. Bottom line though, Nicasio stepped up and delivered another gem.

Final line: 7 IP, 5 H, ER, BB, 4 K

The only real problem for Nicasio was his fielding error in the 6th, which was followed a double. This all with no one out. But thanks to a couple nice pitches and some really stellar from his infield, he was able to get safely to the dugout. He then finished STRONG with a 1-2-3, two strikeout 7th.

Todd Helton: Still pretty special. Watch the two-run home run

9th inning: When Jim Tracy called on Ty Wigginton to pinch-hit here, I wonder what he was thinking. Did he like the matchup with Wiggy vs. Eric O'Flaherty? Was he secretly hoping Fredi Gonzalez would do what he did, setting up CarGo to be the hero? Did he flip a coin between Wiggy and Ryan Spilborghs?

Honestly, I think it was a little bit of the first two options. He liked Wigginton's chances against the lefty, and I think he wanted to position CarGo to be the hero if Atlanta worked around Wigginton. I really do, so I'm going to give him credit for that decision. And CarGo credit for coming through.

Three positives

1. Dexter Fowler: Two more hits, hit by a pitch, and he reached on an error with two outs in the 9th that start the rally. He's making a difference now. But I hope Tracy sticks with the dynamic of Fowler hitting 8th, where he seems to be comfortable.

2. Jim Tracy: The Rockies manager has been a target of my criticism several times this season, and he was the subject of much criticism during Wednesday night's game. I don't understand why. Aside from hitting Eliezer Alfonzo 6th, which was more bizarre than anything, I thought he managed a simple and smart game.

I had no problem with him pulling Nicasio when he did. Using Rex Brothers against Jordan Schafer, Martin Prado and Freddie Freeman to start the 8th was fine. And then going to Matt Lindstrom against Dan Uggla also made sense to me. No qualms at all with either of those moves even with the resulting run that scored.

3. Infield defense: All four infielders were terrific and made a play that made a difference. Especially those three in a row in the 6th that got Nicasio through the traffic. There is NO better way for a pitcher to gain confidence in himself then to know he can trust his defense. The Rockies infield gained that trust repeatedly.


So much positivity. Basically, everything I said was wrong about the team going into Wednesday was solid. Obviously I need to be drastically critical more often.

Now, we just have to hope the scene in the clubhouse afterwards isn't a sign the team is getting cocky. Sorry, I had to. And no, I didn't see it nor would I like to.