Monday, July 9, 2012

Rock Solid Recap: Rockies Follow The Script, Steal Series From Washington

Rockies 4, Nationals 3 (boxscore)

Taken directly from Saturday's Recrap:

THEY (the Rockies) have to be the team that gets those difference-making runs. THEY cannot afford to be the team that doesn't get those difference-making runs, while also giving away difference-making runs. It would be nice if they could make that a point of emphasizing that down the stretch just so they're prepared and capable of being a team that can compete next season.

I think the Rockies got the memo. They found a way to get those difference-making runs on Sunday. It doesn't matter that they got a TON of help from Washington. It's that they actually were in a position to take advantage of Washington's mistakes, and then did it. That's what matters. And they did it against a very good bullpen anchored by Tyler Clippard.

I'm very happy with that.

Winning Player: Jeremy Guthrie: 6 IP, 2 ER, 6 H, 1 BB, 3 K, 1 HR, 83 pitches (54 strikes)

It's nice to know this Jeremy Guthrie still exists. Yeah, he still made that one big mistake, and Ian Desmond made him pay for it with a two-run homer. But he limited it to that one mistake, he worked deep into the game, and he afforded the Rockies an opportunity to steal a win and to steal a series. He survived, and that allowed the Rockies to overcome.

This Jeremy Guthrie will help a contender down the stretch. I just hope a contender realizes it before he throws another game at Coors Field, because that Jeremy Guthrie is a miserable mess.

Turning Point: Down 3-1 in the 8th, the Rockies found a way to scratch out a difference-making run. It came off the bat of Eric Young Jr., who homered for the first time since 2009 off Sean Burnett leading off the inning. Yes, that Sean Burnett, the one with the 1.42 ERA and strong stats across the board in the first half.

That got the ball rolling. Dexter Fowler and Marco Scutaro kept it rolling with back-to-back singles.

And then comes the wild pitch that ties the game.

True, they had a chance for an even bigger inning with Carlos Gonzalez, Tyler Colvin and Todd Helton all ultimately striking out. But just getting back to the surface at that point is huge, and by doing so it gave them a 50/50 chance to again, steal a win.

9th inning rolls around, Jordan Pacheco delivers again with a lead-off double putting them 180 feet away from taking a lead with three outs to play with. Jonathan Herrera does his job with the sacrifice bunt.

Oh look, another wild pitch brings Pacheco the final 90 feet. And then 15 minutes later they're shaking hands after Rafael Betancourt's good enough save attempt.

The script never changes. It all begins with good to great starting pitching. You need to have those one or two innings where you scratch out that difference-making run. Hold strong in the field (no errors). You'll always have a chance to steal that one precious win.

For one day, at least, the Rockies followed the script and got that one win.

What's Next: Carlos Gonzalez takes part in the Home Run Derby Monday night at 6:00. Well, that's when the broadcast will begin on ESPN. By the time they run through their nonsense, let Chris Berman do his routine, and give a band nobody likes some TV time, it'll probably be closer to 7:00.

Final Thoughts: Enjoy the break if you can. I know we'll all be craving the Rockies before the All-Star Game on Tuesday even arrives, but maybe hang out with a non-baseball loving friend you haven't seen in three months or take your spouse out for dinner. Shake things up for a couple days and then rejoin us on Friday when the Phillies come to Coors Field.

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