Friday, April 20, 2012

Rock Solid Recap: Chacin and Cuddyer play hero in Milwaukee

Rockies 4, Brewers 3 (boxscore)

Winning Player(s): Whenever the Rockies steal a game from a quality team on the road, there are going to be several candidates. For tonight, though, I've narrowed it down to just two.

1. Jhoulys Chacin: We'll get into his performance a little later.

2. Michael Cuddyer: Even on a night when he's not in the starting lineup (nursing that bruised toe) Cuddyer finds a way to make a difference for the Rockies. As a pinch-hitter in the ninth, Cuddyer came to the plate needing to hit a flyball to score Eric Young Jr. as the go ahead run from third. Cuddyer played it a little safer, instead ripping a solid single right back through the middle.


Highlight of the Night: Watch Michael Cuddyer's game-winning knock

Turning Point: Jason Giambi's pinch-hit single leading off the ninth, which essentially turned into a double with pinch-runner Eric Young Jr. taking over. That, and Marco Scutaro doing his usual professional job of moving the runner to third with another productive plate appearance (still hasn't struck out) to set up Cuddyer's heroics.

Honorable Mention: I can't help but look back to Jhoulys Chacin's two-out, bases loaded single in the fourth that pushed Colorado's lead 2-0, and probably should have made it 3-0 if not for the missed call at the plate. Yes, the Brewers would later tie the game up, and the Rockies impressively responded to that, but this hit from the nine spot could easily be seen as the real difference maker.

Jhoulys Chacin's Line: 7 IP, 3 ER, 4 H, 1 BB, 2 HBP, 6 K, 1 HR, (100 pitches, 61 strikes)

This here is what you're looking for from Chacin. The first five innings he was flat filthy and pretty much perfect — aside from a soft single that Carlos Gonzalez ridiculously played into an inside-the-park home run — before running into his only real trouble in the sixth. Milwaukee touched him for two in that inning (not exactly the firmest outfield defense that inning, either), which unfortunately took Chacin out of the running for a victory.

But perhaps the most encouraging thing about his outing is that Jim Tracy ran him back out there for the seventh and he resumed his prior dominance with a 1-2-3 inning there. That's a nice recovery mentally from Chacin, and a really strong finish. We don't always see that from Chacin, and both probably represent the biggest hurdles remaining for Chacin to live up to his potential. You know physically he's capable of doing special things every time he goes out there, it just doesn't play out often because the mental side hasn't caught up and the strong finish doesn't always happen.

Hopefully this can be the firm first step to all of that coming together for him.

(How many times have we hoped that before?)

Betanclock: 13 minutes, 14 seconds according to the official timer @Supahfly328 (aka #sackordennis). Again there was some drama with Raffy, but the drama doesn't matter when the results are good. Right now, the results are great with Betancourt improving to 4-for-4 in save chances on the season.

Screengrabs of the Game: Ramon Hernandez was thrown out at the plate twice tonight. The second on the dreaded contact play, which actually made sense in the situation it was used, but I won't defend Tracy since he would have put the play on regardless of score and situation.

Anyway. both were controversial calls that at second and third glances appeared to go against the Rockies (especially the second one), but you can have a look for yourself. (Photos via MLB.TV/

Play 1
Play 2

What's Next: Game two in Milwaukee comes your way Saturday at 5:10 MT. We'll get our second look at Drew Pomeranz in that one as he goes up against a predominantly right-handed (with a lot of power) Brewers lineup. Tough challenge. He'll be opposed by a pitcher to be named later since the originally scheduled Chris Narveson was placed on the DL with a torn rotator cuff.

Final Thoughts: First of all, a truly quality win for the Rockies to begin this six-game, NL Central roadie. Milwaukee hasn't been a friendly place to them over the years (of course, what city has?) so it's nice to grab game one and have two cracks to win the series... or better.

Also, it was pretty obvious that Troy Tulowitzki was locked in both at the plate and in the field, which was really great to see. The nearly 72 hours away from the field seemed to serve him well. And I can't go without mentioning the solid work from both Matt Reynolds and Matt Belisle getting Colorado from Chacin to Betancourt with a strong eighth inning. The bullpen has been simply sparkling the first two weeks plus.

More Rockies thoughts await you if you follow me on Twitter: @Townie813 & @HeavenHelton


Anonymous said...

Good write up, but not one mention of Todd's bomb! Although the average is awkwardly not there, the power is very positive early in the season.

Mark Townsend said...

It's true. His power is a big positive early in the season. And it's not often I overlook a home run of his, but there we so many positives last night it just kind of happened.

I guess we can look at that as one huge positive that difference making contributions are coming in from players not named Helton, Tulowitzki or Gonzalez.