Rockies on a Roll in Cactus League Play

 

Chris Nelson is making a contribution this spring. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-US PRESSWIRE

Rockies 7, Cubs 5

While it’s true that spring training wins and losses don’t tell us much of anything, it’s also true that the Rockies have shown a different side of themselves this past week. Their bats have come to life, and they’ve been much more intelligent in their plate appearances. For what it’s worth, I think this is notable. Many of these guys won’t be on the field come opening day, and many more will be watching from the rest, so it’s hard to say just what the chemistry between the everyday guys is like right now. I’m encouraged, though. Mostly.

Dazzling

Jordan Pacheco made his mark today, entering the game in the 6th as a pinch hitter and launching a 2-run home run that gave the Rockies the lead. His batting average is .471, and while we all know better than to read too much into spring training stats, I think this one is very nearly reflective of what Pacheco can do. I don’t mean he’s going to hit over .400 in the regular season; he’s not the second coming of Ted Williams. I just mean that he is a hitter we can count on to get the job done.

Chris Nelson had a great game as well, and I think he’s making a good showing in camp. In fact, good enough that I think between him, Brandon Wood, and Nolan Arenado we might just have third base covered this season, and Casey Blake can go the spa or an old folks’ home instead. Today Nelson went 2-for-3 and scored a pair of runs.

Wilin Rosario also went 2-for-3 and scored himself a couple of RBI on a 2-run home run. His OPS this spring is 1.031, and that’s the kind of number we need from him given his skill set. He’s profiling beautifully as a middle of the order hitter, and is tied with Carlos Gonzalez right now for most RBI (7) on the team this spring.

Tyler Colvin still has some work to do to prove he can equal the potential of Ian Stewart, but he hit two sacrifice flies today, and I salute him for that. There was nowhere near enough sacrificing last season, so anybody that does it twice in the same game gets extra credit.

Poor Welington Castillo of the Cubs got a work out today trying to throw out Rockies’ baserunners, and he only caught 1 of 5. Charlie Blackmon and Eric Young Jr. each successfully stole two bases, and Blackmon’s came in the same inning.

Jhoulys Chacin continues to look like the pitcher we know he can be, today going 3 innings and allowing no runs and only 2 runners. He left after the 3rd with a blister on his finger, but that was more precautionary than anything. His spring ERA is hovering at 2.25, and I’d like to think we can expect something similar out of him in a regular season, someday at least. For this year, I’ll take anything less than 3.50 and be thrilled with it.

Rex Brothers, closer of the future, recorded his first save of the spring with a perfect 9th inning in which he struck out two.

 

Disappointing

Marco Scutaro is still mostly struggling this spring; today he went 0-for-3 and stranded 4 men on base. He’s hitting .143, and we really need a lot better than that from an everyday 2-hole hitter. Paging Mark Ellis

Christian Friedrich got the win because of the fortuitous moment at which he entered this game (4th inning), but it was another tough outing for him. In 3 innings he gave up 4 runs on 6 hits. He also struck out 5, though, so the stuff is there. He’s still got some command issues to work out, and hopefully he can do that back in Colorado Springs this season.

 

The Rockies head to Goodyear for a night game against the Reds tomorrow.

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