Monday, May 28, 2012

Memorial Day Special: Two Recaps For The Price Of One

Game 1: Rockies 9, Astros 7 (boxscore)

Winning Player: Jordan Pacheco

Pacheco started the Rockies offense with a 1st inning RBI triple to center field, scoring Dexter Fowler. And then he broke a 7-7 tie in the 8th inning with a clutch two-out, two-run single to center, scoring pinch-runner Jeremy Guthrie and Dexter Fowler... again.

Highlight of the Game: Watch Pacheco's big hits

I love watch Pacheco hit. This lineup is full of excellent hitters when they're clicking, and Pacheco currently takes a back seat to none in terms of my confidence when the Rockies need a good at-bat.

Obviously Todd Helton has a made career delivering clutch hits. Michael Cuddyer, Carlos Gonzalez and Dexter Fowler have also had their share. But with Pacheco, (much like Helton) you know you're going to get a professional approach — yes, I realize he doesn't walk — regardless of the score and inning.

Those are the guys I'll take my chances with and feel good about it every time, and it's nice to see the Rockies add another to the mix.

Screengrab of the Game

Damn right you can smile! 
Turning Point: Jordan Pacheco wouldn't have had that 8th inning opportunity if not for some shoddy Astros defense. With two outs and Guthrie running at first, Fowler grounded to short. Shortstop Jed Lowrie flipped to second to get the lead runner. For whatever reason Jose Altuve wasn't ready for it, and then Guthrie, who never started to slide, kicked the ball into short left field to get both runners an extra 90 feet.

Inning continues. Pacheco delivers.

Juan Nicasio's Line: 6 IP, 6 R (5 ER), 9 H, 1 BB, 5 K, 1 HR, 97 pitches (61 strikes)

The ineffective starts continue to pile up, though I'll at least give Nicasio credit for accepting that he had to eat up some innings, and then for finishing on a high note with the 1-2-3 sixth. Very small victories can sometimes lead to much larger victories. That's how I'll look at this one, but of course this rotation is still regional disaster. (Read more about it in Game 2)

Game 2: Rockies 7, Astros 6 (boxscore)

Winning Player: Dexter Fowler 

Dexter Fowler was the best player on the field today hands down.

In Game 1: 3-for-5, stolen base, two runs

In Game 2: 4-for-4, home run, three runs, three RBI, walk, sacrifice... oh, and the game-winning RBI triple

Highlight of the Game: Watch Dexter's Game 2 highlights

Damn. That's what you'd call filling the statsheet. That's also what you'd call being a difference maker. And a guy Jim Tracy can't jerk around anymore.

He has to write Dexter's name in the lineup every day until he needs a breather. Tracy made his point with the benchings and public comments. I think Dexter needed the wakeup call, so it worked, but now is the time to let him sink or swim. Let's see where he can take this hot streak, and let's see how he settles in once it settles down.

#FreeDex indeed.

Baseball was fun today.
Turning Point: That four-run 4th for Colorado was huge. Alex White's implosion was in full swing at this point. Houston had jumped ahead 4-2 in top half, and Colorado answered with a four spot to regain command. Of course the pendulum would swing a couple more times before it was over, but this is where the Rockies positioned themselves to win it.

It took three at-bats.

1. The catcher's interfence that allowed Tyler Colvin to reach was incredibly huge. Instead of a 5-4-3 double play, Colorado had the bases loaded and no outs.

2. Dexter Fowler's bases loaded walk. So. Damn. Clutch. It saved the inning from being a big letdown after Wil Nieves and Alex White failed to produce a run.

3. Marco Scutaro's bases clearing double. That speaks for itself. Two-out RBIs >>>>

Alex White's Line: 5 IP, 6 ER, 10 H, 1 BB, 2 K, 3 HR, 88 pitches (54 strikes)

White can look really good for 2-3 inning stretches. Keeps everything on the ground. Gets a couple overpowering punchouts along the way. Then comes a cheap basehit. Then comes a home run. Then comes another home run, or an error, and then an extra basehit. And then the opponent has a large crooked number up on the board. He unravels so quickly and so completely that there's really no turning back.

It's really painful to watch on its own. When you combine it with the disasters surrounding him in the rotation, it's unbearable. Four more months of this is going to take decades off our lives.

PS: Hat tip to the bullpen in both games. Eight total innings pitched and only one earned run allowed. The Rockies would have left Memorial Day winless without their efforts.

What's Next: The Rockies are back in action against Houston on Wednesday night at the usual 6:40 MT. Christian Friedrich (2-1, 5.09) vs. Lucas Harrell (4-3, 3.72).

Final Thoughts: The contact play continues to symbolize Jim Tracy's managerial career.  He put it on twice in Game 2. . And it failed... twice.

Now look up the definition of 'insanity' to understand what we're dealing with here. Jim Tracy makes the same mistakes over... and over... and over again. No adjustments. No accountability for his faults. Let's keep going to the well that's been dry for 35 years and pray for water. Alright, Jimbo.

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