Saturday, August 25, 2012

Rock Solid Recap: Rockies Put Rare Resilience On Display

Rockies 4, Cubs 3 (boxscore)

I'm not used to this from the 2012 Colorado Rockies. They lost a game they absolutely should have won on Friday. Then they fell behind on Saturday 3-0, which is often times a sign the game is about to get ugly (especially away from Coors Field), but the Rockies bullpen held things in check, the defense held strong, and the bats provided just enough timely hits to complete the comeback.

Dare I say, they looked like winners.

Winning Players: The Bullpen... again. 5 IP, 0 R, 1 H, 1 BB, 4 K

The win goes to Carlos Torres, who pitched  2 1/3 scoreless at the piggyback reliever. Rex Brothers added a strong 1 1/3 and now has a scoreless streak of 7 1/3 innings over five appearances. Will Harris, who has served in the setup lately when Matt Belisle needs a day off, retired the only batter he faced to end the 8th. Rafael Betancourt was flawless in the 9th to earn his 26th save. Brilliance abounds in the bullpen right now.

Turning Point: Two big moments stand out for me.

The first, Josh Rutledge's pinch-hit, two-run homer in the 5th that got Colorado on the scoreboard and cut the deficit to 3-2.

The second came after the Rockies grabbed the lead in the 7th. The Cubs were putting together a little rally with runners on 1st and 2nd with two outs. For some unknown reason, manager Dale Sveum elected to put the double steal on at that point, and Wilin Rosario put the fire out with a strong throw to cut down the trail runner Joe Mather.

Huge play. And what makes it more impressive is that he dug out a ball in the dirt and still had the ability to make a good throw, and also had the presence of mind to throw to the correct spot. Very encouraging stuff from Rosario, who seems to be gaining confidence by the day behind the plate.

Rock Solid Recrap: 2012 Rockies Reemerge In Ugly 8th

Cubs 5, Rockies 3 (boxscore)

What Went Wrong: Three weeks of good baseball unraveled quickly in the 8th inning. After Brett Jackson tied the game with a solo home run off Matt Belisle (which was a shocker), the Rockies relapsed with a series of miscues (Blackmon bobble in the outfield, Nelson and LeMahieu botched double play and Matt Reynolds' overthrowing a play at first), that allowed the Cubs to grab the lead. It was really quite frustrating considering how focused and solid the team had played recently, and I sincerely hope this doesn't lead to another stretch of hideous performances.

Turning Point: When Matt Belisle (1/3 IP, 3 ER, 3 H, 1 HR) doesn't have it, it's simply not going to work out for the Rockies. This game was pretty good evidence of that.

Drew Pomeranz's Line: 5 IP, 2 ER, 2 H, 1 BB, 1 K, 2 HR, 72 pitches (43 strikes)

Pomeranz was very efficient and very effective — retired the first 12 in a row — right up until the 5th inning when Alfonso Soriano and Wellington Castillo each got to him for a solo home runs. I believe I counted seven outs that were three pitches or less, which is solid. So I guess overall this would qualify as a step forward from his recent string of four inning outings. Then again, there's still that empty feeling not knowing how Pomeranz would have fared had he continued on.

Highlight of the Night: Ah, the sound of a well struck baseball off Carlos Gonzalez's bat is sweet music to my ears.

What's Next: Another morning game in Chicago with a 11:05 first pitch. Hopefully the Rockies and Alex White (2-6, 5.55) wake up on the right side of the bed this time, while Brooks Raley (1-2, 7.63) and the Cubs continue sleepwalking as they have for the past 103 years. .

Final Thoughts: I think the Rockies set a new record in the 5th with two separate (Jonathan Herrera and Carlos Gonzalez) head first slides into first base. Those annoy me to no ends and make me very nervous, especially when it's a guy like CarGo who has a history of wrist injuries and is really frickin' valuable. Let's try to practice running through the base, if possible.


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