Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Rock Solid Recap: Rockies Disaster Season With Solid Road Win

Rockies 2, Diamondbacks 1 (boxscore)

The disaster season started with a win from Jeremy Guthrie (who's long gone) and it ends with a win Jeff Francis (who rose from the baseball dead). What more do you need to know about the 2012 Rockies?

The numbers 64 and 98 will now go into the books as the Rockies worst record ever. We hope (and maybe even pray) this standard of suck is one they never equal or surpass in the future.

Winning Player: Jeff Francis 5 IP, 1 ER, 5 H, 1 BB, 3 K, 1 HR, 86 pitches (53 strikes)

Tough call here, but Francis gets the nod for finishing his comeback campaign with a strong outing and a victory.

Honestly, I applaud Francis. The numbers are whatever, but we know by now that you can't look at the numbers with Rockies pitchers (especially with this year's experiment) to determine their performance. Looking beyond them, I felt like Francis gave us more than I ever imagined he could coming in, so again, a polite applause for him and an open invitation to join us in 2012 if he wishes.

Honorable Mentions: The Bullpen: 4 IP, 0 R, 2 H, 3 BB, 2 K

The bullpen had its ups and downs this season, but they were without question the most consistently productive group on the Rockies team (not that that's a glowing endorsement but it's still a fact). I think it's fitting that both Adam Ottavino and Josh Roenicke (the two middle relief workhorses) pitched well tonight, and I think the coolest thing about the finale is the man with the bionic arm, Matt Belisle, got the final out to earn the save. Well done by Jim Tracy there.

More Honorable Mentions: Jordan Pacheco 3-for-4, run scored (All he does is get hits), D.J. LeMahieu 2-for-4, RBI (Perhaps the most pleasant surprise of all Rockies this season) and Jonathan Herrera 3-for-4 (Impossible not to love Johnny. Hope he has a big league job next season whether it's here or elsewhere).

Rock Solid Recrap: Can You Imagine If They Lost Monday?

Diamondbacks 5, Rockies 3 (boxscore)

What Went Wrong: Had the Rockies managed to lose Monday's game, this loss would have been a lot more... well... I guess I wouldn't say painful, since we're pretty much numb to it at this point, but it would have driven my anxiety through the roof with 100 losses on the horizon on Wednesday.

But since the Rockies won Monday, Rafael Betancourt's second consecutive blown save was more of a shoulder shrug moment than a blood boiler. No, I'm not happy it happened, but I'm more indifferent than annoyed, which I'm afraid will continue to be my feeling throughout the winter leading into the spring. I care, of course, I just need to see this organization give a damn too before I'll feel the normal emotions again.

Turning Point: Aaron Hill's three-run walk-off is the easy call here, but Gerardo Parra's two-out single that kept the inning going was pretty important too.

Jhoulys Chacin's Line: 5 IP, 0 R, 3 H, 2 BB, 4 K, 75 pitches (46 strikes)

Fabulous finish to an encouraging nine-start stretch since coming of the DL. Not much more needs to be said beyond that. As long as he maintains his health over the winter into the spring, he should be the Rockies opening day starter without any doubt.

Bullpen's Line: 3 2/3 IP, 5 ER, 8 H, 1 BB, 1 K

Guillermo Moscoso is a disaster that hopefully never appears with the Rockies again. And I don't feel bad saying that because unlike guys like Felipe Paulino, Franklin Morales and Jeremy Guthrie, I don't think he'll bounce back in a different atmosphere. He's just not a major league pitcher, plain and simple.

PS: It's easy to take shots at Rafael Betancourt after a couple rough outings, but this guy has been solid all year long.

Think about it... In a given baseball season, they are usually only 4-5 pitchers who truly excel in the closer's role. A couple of them are predictably dominant like Mariano Rivera, Craig Kimbrel and Aroldis Chapman. The others are randomly recycled veterans like Jim Johnson and Fernando Rodney.

Betancourt certainly didn't reach the elite level this season, but all things considered he was a big plus because the position always has instability and uncertainty surrounding it from year-to-year, sometimes even month-to-month. Betancourt at least brought those two things to his role (and in my opinion a lot more) while the rest of the pitching staff crumbled around him.

What's Next: And then there was one. The season finale comes your way on Wednesday at 5:10 and will feature a Jeff Francis (5-5, 5.75) vs. Ian Kennedy (15-11, 4.18) pitching matchup. My emotions are already overcoming me.

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

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Rock Solid Recap: Road To 100 Hits Dead End

Rockies 7, Diamondbacks 4 (13 innings) (boxscore)

It's over. Our season long regional nightmare is all over.

Five years to the day they defeated the San Diego Padres 9-8 in 13 innings to win the National League Wild Card, the Colorado Rockies won another clincher in 13 innings with the 7-4 win over the Diamondbacks. OK, yeah, so this win was just a little bit less significant in the grand scheme, but it was still meaningful as they officially avoided to century mark in the loss column.


RIP: Road to 100.

Winning Players: Chris Nelson & Charlie Blackmon

The Rockies had 13 hits in 13 innings. Seven of those belonged to Chris Nelson & Charlie Blackmon.

I think Nelson deserves top billing because he's the one who delivered to go-ahead RBI single in the 13th. That capped a night where Nelson was seeing the ball very well and had a number of good swings, including a couple drives that had home run distance but ended up just foul. Either of those staying fair would have changed the game a lot sooner.

Then again, it was Blackmon who had four hits, including the single that made it 5-3. That would actually ended up being the winning run, so you could make an argument for either.

It's kinda like the Miguel Cabrera-Mike Trout debate for the AL MVP, only not even close.

Turning Point: Josh Rutledge had a really rough four-strikeout game, but he's also a big reason the Rockies stayed alive. His two-out RBI double (scoring Blackmon) in the 8th tied the game. Tyler Colvin followed with his own RBI double, so things looked pretty good at that moment. Of course that was only temporary.

Drew Pomeranz's Line: 5 IP, 2 ER, 3 H, 2 BB, 7 K, 2 HR, 80 pitches (51 strikes)

All things considered during this mostly uninspiring season for Drew Pomeranz, this was a positive note to go out on. Sure, he allowed a couple homers (both solo) and threw in a couple walks, but he stayed on track and never allowed any particular inning to escalate or become a potential disaster. That may not sound like much of achievement to my newer readers, but if you've been reading these recaps all season and looking at the pitching lines, you know how difficult that has been for Pomeranz and this entire staff.

It's a nice ending, but it's really only the beginning as Pomeranz enters this important offseason. Because of this season's results and stunted development, next year almost has to be two steps forward just to get where the Rockies wanted and needed Pomeranz by the end of this season, and maybe three steps forward to reach his potential. I'll settle for one step, as long as it's not another one sideways or backwards.