Sunday, April 17, 2011

Rock Solid Recap: Rockies outlast Cubs in near four hour snoozer

If you've been trying to get a friend, relative, partner, what have you, to understand why you love the game of baseball, I hope they weren't watching today's mess at Coors Field. This was ugly. This set baseball in Denver back to 1997, when four hour games weren't all that unusual. But neither were 25-30 total runs. Today's game only featured 14.

It was as if Rafael Betancourt pitched every half inning for both teams... in slow motion.

It was like watching a Red Sox/Yankees doubleheader.

It was like every college football game ever.

I think you get the point. It had no pace and was difficult to sit through.

Rockies 9, Cubs 5 (boxscore)

As we sift through the three hours, fourty-two minutes. As we sift through the 360 total pitches. As we sift through the 81 different plate appearances, it really comes down to one at-bat. The clutch two-out, two-run double from Dexter Fowler in the 8th.

After Ryan Spilborghs led off with an infield single and moved to third on Jose Lopez's "double" (really single/error), Jose Morales and Ty Wigginton failed to get a baseball in play. You couldn't help but be overcome by a sense of dread. Like the Cubs were once again going to wiggle out of trouble and find a way to steal this series away. That's when Dexter Fowler went to work.

Fowler's new found confidence was as apparent as ever as he calmly stood in there, worked the count to 2-2 and smacked his pitch into the right center field gap. Before with two strikes you could almost assume an out with Dexter. It didn't matter it was 0-2 or 3-2. He was overmatched. Because of that we rarely saw him feeling comfortable enough to even allow an at-bat to get 4-5 pitches deep.

That's not the Dexter Fowler we're seeing now. And I'm telling you, the work he's doing at the top along with Jonathan Herrera is giving this offense a dimension it hasn't had in the humidor era. They are creating runs out of nowhere and giving professional at-bats even with two outs and no one on base. They give nothing away.

If this keeps up, there's no good reason to worry about the offense going through extended slumps.

-- Not much you can say about Alan Johnson other than he was obviously overmatched. When you're overmatched and can't get ahead early in counts, you're going to have a rough go. Nothing against him at all. Just wasn't a good spot for him to have much success. I wish him well back at Colorado Springs.

-- Matt Belisle, Matt Reynolds, Rafael Betancourt and Huston Street. High fives for all of you!

-- The failed second inning hit-and-run was completely unnecessary. Ryan Dempster was searching for outs every which way and the silly decision allowed him to get off the deck. It wasn't Herrera's fault, because it was an impossible pitch to hit. It was just a bad call with Gonzalez and Tulowitzki waiting in the wings. One of those calls Jim Tracy makes every now and then to remind us he's the manager.

-- Seth Smith left the game with tweaked groin. Please be okay Seth!

-- Carlos Gonzalez contributed four hits. Imagine if he catches fire.

-- Is it too early to predict 3,000 hits for Starlin Castro... this season? He's 21. His talent is ridiculous.

-- Tim Lincecum and company coming to town tomorrow. I think business is about to pick up.

Lineup Card: 4-17-11 Rockies vs Cubs

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. They should be here waiting for you.

Colorado Rockies (11-3)
  1. CF Dexter Fowler
  2. 2B Jonathan Herrera
  3. LF Carlos Gonzalez
  4. SS Troy Tulowitzki
  5. 1B Todd Helton
  6. RF Seth Smith
  7. 3B Jose Lopez
  8. C   Jose Morales
  9. P   Alan Johnson
And Jim Tracy yanks Ian Stewart from the lineup again. Ridiculous. It's not like Jose Lopez or Ty Wigginton are lighting it up right now. Let Ian play. Let him string some ABs together. This is the same crap that put Iannetta in a funk last season. Awful management of the lineup. And I don't care what his career numbers are against Dempster. 

Chicago Cubs (7-7)
  1. SS Starlin Castro 
  2. 2B Darwin Barney
  3. CF Marlon Byrd
  4. 3B Aramis Ramirez
  5. 1B Carlos Pena
  6. LF Alfonso Soriano
  7. RF Kosuke Fukudome
  8. C   Geovany Soto
  9. P    Ryan Dempster