Thursday, April 7, 2011

Rock Solid Recap: Mr. Rogers spoils Pirates home opener

Rockies 7, Pirates 1 (boxscore)

After a sloppy opener that saw the Colorado Rockies hand a game to the Arizona Diamondbacks in extra innings, the team has rebounded to play 36 consecutive innings of really sound, thorough, and sometimes dominant baseball.

Today's nine innings fall under the dominant umbrella... thanks largely to the right arm of young Esmil Rogers.

-- Rogers line: 7 1/3, 4 H, 1 ER, 1 BB 7 K

At one point Rogers retired 18 Pirates in a row. All four of the hits allowed -- first two batters and last two batters he faced -- were well placed groundballs that squeaked through a hole. He hit pretty much every spot he wanted to with all of his pitches. Everything was working, and because of that he was aggressive and very efficient.

It was as good an outing as you could realistically hope for from Rogers in his season debut. It really was. The pitches he made to get through the first inning jam were big time. Pittsburgh was one hit away there from changing the entire outlook of the game, but Rogers collected himself and put his foot down.

Impressive poise.

Oh, and he added a basehit and scored an insurance run in the 7th inning. That's my type of pitcher right there.

-- On the rare on occasions Rogers needed help from his defense... he got it.

-- The Rockies offense took some pressure off Rogers by taking advantage of a Neil Walker error in the first.

After Dexter Fowler singled on the first pitch of the game, Ryan Spilborghs flew out to the track in RF. Carlos Gonzalez followed with an unlikely double play ball to second, Walker seemed to rush a little, his throw to get the lead runner sailing into LF. Fowler scored easily. Gonzalez made it all the way around to third. Tulowitzki delivered the sac fly.

A really good way to start the road opener, maximizing their first scoring opportunity. It gave them confidence and took the crowd right out of the game. And that theme of maximizing opportunities would continue all afternoon.

-- Troy Tulowitzki: Some kind of strong.

-- Tomorrow: Jorge De La Rosa vs Ross Ohlendorf

I like our odds there.

Lineup Card: 4-7-11 Rockies @ Pirates

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

I'm sure there will be as much or more energy in PNC Park today as you'll see as season, but I wouldn't be surprised if both teams look a little lethargic. Pittsburgh had a shorter flight and earlier start time yesterday at St. Louis. If they're going to have an advantage at any point during the series, today would be the day.

Colorado Rockies (3-1)
  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    Esmil Rogers
Given the travels I figured today would be the day Todd Helton gets his first breather. I know Jim Tracy vowed, promised and guaranteed he'd use Helton smarter this season, but seeing him penciled in the lineup today already makes me question that. 

Pittsburgh Pirates (4-2)
  1. LF Jose Tabata
  2. 2B Neil Walker
  3. CF Andrew McCutchen
  4. 1B Lyle Overbay
  5. 3B Pedro Alvarez
  6. C   Ryan Doumit
  7. RF Garrett Jones
  8. SS Ronny Cedeno
  9. P   Paul Maholm
Andrew McCutchen and Pedro Alvarez are the guys you can't let beat you. Plain and simple.