Sunday, April 10, 2011

Rock Solid Recap: Patient Rockies take series in Pittsburgh

Rockies 6, Pirates 5 (boxscore

I've restrained as long as I can. I barely mentioned his name in last night's recap despite how well he played. I can't not give in his full due again today.


Sure the Jose Lopez three-run blast in the 1st was massive. Absolutely the Jason Giambi 2-out RBI single and the Seth Smith bases loaded walk in the 7th inning turned the game around. But the thing is, neither of those moments happen without Herrera being the glue that held the lineup together and the engine that made it go forward.

Quality at-bat after quality at-bat. Finding a way on base FOUR times (three walks, bunt hit) without hitting a ball safely to the outfield. Rallying from an 0-2 count to draw a walk. Not to mention another fantastic start of a double play that helped Chacin get through his rough 3rd inning.

The Rockies don't win today's game without Herrera. They probably wouldn't win last night's either without him. His third walk of that game started the 8th inning rally.

-- Dexter Fowler was good today and good all series, reaching nine times. Don't overlook that. He didn't give away any at-bats whether they were leading off innings or with two outs. That's how you squeeze out those couple extra runs sometimes that make a difference.

-- The offense drew seven walks today compared to four strikeouts. You'll win a lot of games with that ratio.

-- Pretty uneven outing for Jhoulys Chacin: 6 IP, 7 H, 5 R (4 ER), 2 BB, 3 K

After being staked to a four run lead in the 1st, he just couldn't maintain the focus needed to navigate the early innings. It happens. It's easy to forget he's still early in the learning curve at this level. Most pitchers struggle with that part of the game early in their careers. Heck, Aaron Cook still struggles with it.

Once that lead was completely gone, he really settled in and dominated like we expected him to from start to finish. That gave the offense enough time to scrape together a rally and allowed him to steal a victory.

So yes, it was uneven, but given how he finished and the lessons he can learn from this type of game, I'd say there are more positives than negatives.

-- If I was in charge of crediting wins, I'd give it to Matt Reynolds. He really came in and shut the door on Overbay, Alvarez and Doumit. Three guys that were getting their share of good swings in the last 24 hours. Excellent work.

-- Huston Street showed no wear from Friday's three inning outing today. In total he threw four shutout innings in the series and comes in a very close second to Herrera for series MVP in my book.

-- What's the difference between a Big Mac Smack and a Cold Hard Blast?

-- A lot to feel encouraged about as the Rockies head to New York for another four game series. Shea Stadium/Citi Field/anywhere the Mets call home has been another place where they inexplicably struggle. Maybe this 2011 version can rewrite that history a little bit as well.

Lineup Card: 4-10-11 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.

Unless it's one of these morning affairs on the east coast.

Colorado Rockies (5-2)

  1. CF Dexter Fowler
  2. 2B Jonathan Herrera
  3. 1B Jason Giambi
  4. SS Troy Tulowitzki
  5. RF Seth Smith
  6. 3B Jose Lopez
  7. LF Ty Wigginton
  8. C   Chris Iannetta
  9. P    Jhoulys Chacin
This isn't the Rockies strongest defensive alignment. Would be an excellent day for a bunch of strikeouts. Apparently Carlos Gonzalez has caught whatever Ian Stewart had. Stewart himself isn't yet feeling well enough to start, and Todd Helton, while feeling better, is still out of the lineup. 

Pittsburgh Pirates (5-4)
  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. LF Garrett Jones
  8. SS Ronny Cedeno
  9. P   James McDonald