Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Rock Solid Recrap: Rockies Killer B's Kill Rockies

Pirates 5, Rockies 4 (boxscores)

This one stings... probably more than an April game in Pittsburgh should sting, but the Rockies had this one in their grasp for 90% of the evening and just couldn't finish it off. And coming in front of tomorrow's doubleheader, the sting only intensifies. As I said earlier today, it's difficult to sweep those things, so a series win just became increasingly less likely.

Not impossible, mind you, but less likely.

What Went Wrong:  Whenever there's a devastating late inning loss, you know the bullpen played a part in it somehow. It's unavoidable, and tonight's unfortunate goats were the recently struggling Rex Brothers (0 outs recorded, 2 runs, 1 smoked double, 1 blooped double and 1 walk in the 7th) and the usually reliable Matt Belisle (2/3 IP, 1 Clint Barmes home run, 1 painful error of his own leading to 1 unearned game-winning run in the 8th).

Each man was working with a one-run lead thanks to a Carlos Gonzalez two-run homer, so their margin for error was little. And as you can tell, neither had anything resembling their best stuff tonight, so both leads quickly vanished.

Thankfully, not a lot gets to Matt Belisle, so you can count on him to bounce back in his next outing. As for Brothers, it's been a struggle for the past 3-4 outings, so his immediate outlook is a little shakier.

Maybe a lesser role is in order until he can locate his filthy stuff again and gain back some confidence he's surely lost in his two most recent outings. The Rockies are absolutely going to need him, so he's not going anywhere. It doesn't matter how down on him fans are right now, he's the most talented arm they have in the bullpen and the most important. They need to get him on track.

Turning Point: So many of them in this back-and-forth game that was actually pretty entertaining (wish I could have enjoyed it more). But I'm not going to narrow it down to one moment, I'm opening it up to one extended period of time... like the second to seventh innings... where Jamie Moyer was keeping Pittsburgh's offense off the scoreboard while the Rockies offense was managing only one basehit.

Even one insurance run there makes the uphill climb more difficult for Pittsburgh's lousy offensive attack. Two runs change the game significantly. They just couldn't get anything going on Kevin Correia (I guess we shouldn't be surprised) and continued walking the tight rope before falling off.

Nothing we haven't seen before or won't see again, but always maddening just the same.

Jamie Moyer's Line: 6 IP, 1 ER, 6 H, 3 BB, 3 K, 0 HR, 84 pitches (51 strikes)

The key ingredient missing from Moyer's statline there is the 11 groundball outs he induced. That helped him work around the extra traffic. Of course it didn't hurt that Clint Hurdle gave away outs with bunts in the first inning and sixth innings, or that the two doubles he allowed to Clint Barmes came directly in front of pitcher Kevin Correia.

Hey, we'll take whatever breaks we can get to help Moyer along.

Highlight(s) of the Night: Pick a Carlos Gonzalez home run.

Screengrabs of the Game

Root Sports Pittsburgh
Not sure if Ramon Hernandez lost track of outs or strikes there but Jamie Moyer reminds him that it's three in both cases. Of course this happened a couple batters after a Rod Barajas back swing caught Hernandez in the back of the helmet, so he may have been asking Hernandez how many fingers he was holding up.

Either way, Ramon, you're forgiven.

What's Next: It's doubleheader Wednesday with the first game beginning at a bright and somewhat early 10:35 in the AM MT. Juan Nicasio will get the call for Colorado in that one with Jhoulys Chacin going in game two. For Pittsburgh, it'll be James McDonald followed by Charlie Morton.

Final Thoughts: Chris Nelson is still hitless in five road starts this season. It may be time for more Jonathan Herrera at third on the road. You know... until that Arenado kid gets the green light.

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