Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Rock Solid Recap: Rockies Outfield Hits The Home Run Cycle In 13-5 Win

Rockies 13, Astros 5 (boxscore)

Winning Players: Carlos Gonzalez, Dexter Fowler and Michael Cuddyer

The Rockies Outfield combined to go 7-for-13 with FIVE home runs, 11 RBI, 6 R, and 2 BB tonight. 

Good. Lord. 

Carlos Gonzalez hit three of those home runs (two solos and a two-run shot). Not a one of them had a single bit of doubt, either, unless you factor in the welfare of the people or objects in the path of his destruction. 

You know how hot Dexter Fowler is right now? The baseball is exploding off his bat with nearly the same ferocity as Carlos Gonzalez's. Seriously. Of course I fully acknowledge that nobody hits the ball harder than Cargo when he's locked in (see above highlights), but Dexter is coming as close as anyone I can remember since CarGo arrived.

And to complete the home run cycle — well, actually this came in the 1st, I'm out of order — Michael Cuddyer delivered the Grand Slam.

Indeed the offense is answering the challenge right now. How long they can sustain a stretch this hot is now the question, and it's about to become more difficult if Troy Tulowitzki (strained left groin) needs a DL stint.

Turning Point: Holding a 6-5, the Rockies began the 6th inning with six consecutive hits — capped by CarGo's second home run — and had their lead mushroom to 12-5. I don't need to tell you this but, protecting a seven run lead is much easier than protecting a one run with nine outs to go.

Christian Friedrich's Line: 6 IP, 5 ER, 11 H, 1 BB, 6 K, 0 HR, 96 pitches (61 strikes)

Every line looks the same these days. But I can always live with them a little easier when I see a 0 or 1 in the BB column and a 0 in the HR column. That means the opposition earned it. And let's be honest, enough of those 11 hits were softly hit or borderline outs in most stadiums that this line could/should look better.

I also give credit for strong finishes. Friedrich provided that with three straight zeros.

Screengrab of the Game
As pretty as it gets.
What's Next: The Rockies will go for the rare four-game sweep on Thursday at 6:40 MT. It'll be Jeremy Guthrie (2-3, 5.31) going up against hard-throwing right-hander Bud Norris (5-1, 3.34).

Final Thoughts: Rockies general manager Dan O'Dowd spoke candidly to 850 KOA's Dave Krieger this week. Krieger posted those comments on his blog today, and if you're one of the few who hasn't read it, I suggest you do so now. (Link: 850 KOA)

In it, O'Dowd talks extensively on the problems with Colorado's starting rotation and explains what'd he envisioned from Jeremy Guthrie. I also found it interesting that he pointed to the two expanded homestands to begin the season as possible catalysts for the struggles. I know, I know, we're not supposed to blame Coors Field anymore, but I don't think it's beyond the realm of possibility that it got into a couple guys heads.

Like I said, it's worth going out of your way to read if you're a Rockies fan. What I mentioned was just the tip of the iceberg.

Of course within minutes of reading this myself came the news of Jamie Moyer's designation for assignment.

It's a tough game and a tough business. I've said several times when analyzing his starts, if asked and expected to be a #5 starter in a stable rotation, Moyer doesn't kill you (though he still wouldn't last the season). When your current rotation has nothing that could be realistically described as even a decent #3, you just can't live with his shorter outings (and non-existent upside.

I'll just say this: I admire and respect Moyer so much for his toughness, his kindness, his willingness to give back, and above all, his class throughout the entire process. That's the human side.

The baseball side: I admire and respect the Rockies for their willingness to make a tough but necessary decision. You know they struggled with it. If not, this announcement would have come on Sunday night or Monday morning.

Bottom line: It's the right call.

Now Josh Outman (announced as starting Friday) and maybe even Carlos Torres get opportunities and the door opens for Drew Pomeranz to return when ready.

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