I did my first live play-by-play today via my Twitter account, and I must say, I can’t think of a more enjoyable ending! There’s nothing I love more than tweeting “Walk-off home run!!!!” with a million exclamation points. That’s probably the reason why Twitter is limited to 140 characters.
I really liked what I saw from Jeremy Guthrie today. He got ahead in the count frequently and made good use of his offspeed pitches. He also didn’t panic when there was traffic on the bases, nor when an unearned run scored thanks to an error by Andrew Brown. He was pulled with 2 outs in the 5th, but that was due to his pitch count, not his performance. And when his offense stranded 5 runners in 3 innings, he took matters into his own hands and hit an RBI groundout in the 4th. That scored the Rockies’ first run and tied the game at 1. A fine outing for Guthrie and glad to see he understands his new offensive responsibilities as a member of a National League team, specifically one that needs to find any way they can to score runs.
Despite Brown’s error, he really had a great game today. The error occurred in the 4th when Brown tried to come in on a fly ball to shallow left while Troy Tulowitzki was going out on it. Obviously the outfielder takes precedence there, but I don’t have to tell you that Tulo takes precedence over everyone. Brown called him off but was a tad too late and couldn’t make the catch himself. At the plate, though, he was solid, with a double and a solo home run.
The entire Frazier family had an excellent day as young Parker took the hill for the first time in big league camp. Parker Frazier, son of Root Sports color man George Frazier, was in minor league camp only this morning, when he was called to come make an appearance at Salt River Fields. He allowed the lead-off man on with a single, but quickly got a double play groundball and a strikeout to end the inning. George was beaming from ear to ear. A proud moment for him I’m sure.
I wish the Rockies would stop trying to make Eric Young Jr. into an outfielder. He just doesn’t have the arm strength, and he proved that today when he tried to make an out at home plate. It wasn’t a bad throw by any means, and he actually fielded the ball quite well, but he’s not going to get it to home before the runner 9 times out of 10. So I don’t know why we’re still running this little experiment. Still, he did a nice job coming in to the ball and he also did his job at the plate, going 2-for-3 with an RBI.
I feel very pleased to have witnessed Tyler Colvin‘s first spring training home run, because it was a beauty. It came in the 8th inning with 1 out. Wilin Rosario was on base, and Colvin just murdered a Will Savage pitch the opposite way. A fine power stroke from a guy with something to prove. And he has 7 RBI this spring, which is really quite impressive.
Charlie Blackmon was kind of so-so today, only managing one hit in five AB’s and neither scoring nor driving in a run. But in the 9th inning, when things were falling apart, he made a spectacular leaping catch against the right field wall to rob Lance Zawadzki of a home run. Things certainly would have been much worse for the Rockies than they were if he hadn’t caught that ball.
Matt Belisle put in 1 1/3 innings of solid work, and that extra 1/3 came in the 5th when he came to the mound with 2 on and 2 outs to spot Guthrie. I worry about him when runners are on. His regular season ERA in 2011 was .053 with bases empty and ranged from 6.14 to 13.50 with 2 or more runners on base, so I just like to see him have a clean outing. And he did.
Tim Wheeler came to the plate with 1 on and 2 out in the bottom of the 9th and if ever there was an opportunity to hit a walk-off home run, this was it. And that’s just what Wheeler did, on a 1-2 count no less. Hero.
Oh wow, did Rafael Betancourt ever come to pieces today. That was not a pretty sight, especially when we’ll be counting on him to sew up our 9th innings all season long. The most discouraging thing was the way he could not seem to get that final out. The very definition of a closer is a guy who can get the final out, especially in a high-pressure situation. Betancourt could not do that today. He came into the game in the 9th with a 4-2 lead and proceeded to give up 4 runs on 5 hits and a sacrifice fly. It was painful. I can’t say for sure what was going on with Betancourt today, but I do hope he can put this outing behind him and go back to being brilliant.
Everybody else: mostly very good. An exciting win with lots of good work from promising players today.
The Rockies are in split squad tomorrow, playing away games against the Padres and Mariners.