Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Rock Solid Recap: Chacin = No Chance

In the 18 plus years of Rockies baseball, you won't find too many more excellently pitched and well defended games, start to finish, than the one we saw tonight.

-- Jhoulys Chacin continued his ascension within the ranks of Major League Baseball. His poise and his filthy arsenal on full display on a night when every quality pitch was needed. In addition, he showed much improved efficiency that allowed him to work deeper into his 2011 debut than most young pitchers typically do early in the season.

My favorite Chacin inning was the 6th. After walking Ethier leading off, Chacin rebounded to carve up Matt Kemp. He then got in the kitchen of James Loney and Juan Uribe, forcing both to hit little nubbers back to the mound. Dominant stuff to those three hitters.

I watched the Los Angeles broadcast this evening, I like to do that pretty often just to hear what opposing announcers like and don't like about the Rockies. I like to know how the opponents view them. Well, I can tell you this: Vin Scully loves Chacin. Absolutely loves him. Spoke highly of him leading into the game, and the praise just got higher throughout. When you've thoroughly impressed Vin, you're on a great track.

-- I don't know what got into Ty Wigginton tonight, but his DEFENSE was a major difference maker. I may not say that again all season.

Watch Wigginton start a beautiful 5-4-3

-- And let's not overlook the wizardry of one Todd Helton. He had at least three really excellent picks at first base tonight. If any one of them isn't picked cleanly, in a game such as tonight's, it could have led to a problem. He's as damn good as there is at punctuating a brilliant play or saving an error with a masterful pick.

Watch Wigginton jump, and Helton pick and stretch

-- Not a whole lot from the offense tonight, but that's what everyone will say after facing my pick for the Cy Young, Clayton Kershaw. Kershaw has taken that step from really good to elite. It happened just before the all-star break last season, and it's likely to continue for the next 6-8 years barring injury.

-- Things I care about: Troy Tulowitzki's first hit off the season was a bomb off Kershaw.

Watch Tulo's homer

-- Thing I don't care about: Walkup music. But that's nice Tulo changed it for the people that do.

-- Could Chris Iannetta look any better? Four hits in three games. As you've probably heard or read 1,000 times by now, that equals his hit total for all of April 2010.

Watch Iannetta's blast

-- And finally, Jose Lopez continues to earn his playing time and reward Jim Tracy's faith in him. Absolutely fine with me. Let's ride this guy while he's hot. If he cools off, we know we have Johnny Herrera that can come off the bench at any time and provide the pain in the ass factor.

Watch Jose Lopez deliver the dagger

You have to love this team's depth and how it is currently structured. Let's sweep the mini-series tomorrow.

Lineup Card: 4-5-11 Rockies vs Dodgers

If you're looking for Rockies game lineups and you don't feel like searching all over Twitter or waiting for MLB.com to post them, check back to Heaven & Helton about 60-90 minutes before first pitch and they should be here waiting for you.

Colorado Rockies (1-1)

  1. CF Dexter Fowler
  2. RF Ryan Spilborghs
  3. LF Carlos Gonzalez
  4. SS Troy Tulowitzki
  5. 2B Jose Lopez
  6. 1B Todd Helton
  7. 3B Ty Wigginton
  8. C   Chris Iannetta
  9. P    Jhoulys Chacin
No surprises here against maybe the toughest left-hander in the National League. Yes, I see you Cliff Lee. Hopefully the new additions in Lopez and Wigginton can help the Rockies finally solve the Kershaw puzzle.

Los Angeles Dodgers (3-1)
  1. SS Rafael Furcal
  2. LF Tony Gwynn
  3. RF Andre Ethier
  4. CF Matt Kemp
  5. 1B James Loney
  6. 3B Juan Uribe
  7. C  Rod Barajas
  8. 2B Jamey Carroll
  9. P   Clayton Kershaw