Wouldn’t it be nice if the Rockies could spread out their offense a little bit? I think that way too often. It is maddening the way they can string together a double-digit score one day and then nearly get no-hit the next. That is not how a championship team plays.
And who’s the collateral damage in all this? Poor Jamie Moyer, just trying desperately to secure his place in the baseball annals as the oldest starting pitcher to win a game, and he’s doing all he can. It’s this confounded team he was foolish enough to sign with that keeps thwarting him. Yesterday Moyer went 5 2/3 innings and allowed just 2 earned runs. Just like with his last start, bad defense cost him a couple of unearned runs, and anemic offense ensured that every run he gave up would exponentially decrease his chances of getting the win. The worst part is that the Rockies lost by 2, the same number of runs that Moyer did not earn.
I don’t want it to sound like I think Moyer is an ace or something like that; he’s not. He did allow 9 baserunners and he threw 112 pitches in fewer than 6 innings. He did a good job staying ahead of hitters, but too often he let them work the count to where he had no choice but to throw a fat strike. Every pitcher has those days, though, and what make Moyer special is that he can work himself out of a jam. His experience is priceless in that scenario. But when the very first pitch you throw that’s put into play allows a man on because of a throwing error by your friend Chris Nelson, that’s a face palm situation. Poor Jamie. I want to give him a hug.
And the hitters? Didn’t make so much as a squeak against Madison Bumgarner until the 6th inning. I have to admit, I was a little bit resigned to that since it’s what always seems to happen after they cut loose like they did on Wednesday. The first hit was a beauty: a triple off the bat of Tyler Colvin, who pinch-hit for Moyer. It might have been caught had Melky Cabrera been positioned a little more fortuitously, but it slipped underneath his glove instead and Colvin legged it out. I really like him. He reminds me a lot of what I thought of Jordan Pacheco when he first came up last fall. He takes great at-bats, he waits for a pitch to hit, he makes quality contact according to the situation. In the bottom of the 9th, he came to the plate with the bases loaded and 2 outs. The Rockies were down by 3. Who wouldn’t want to be the hero who hit a walk-off grand slam in that scenario? And Colvin has the power stroke to make that happen. Instead, he waited, he was patient, and he walked. That is way better than swinging at a crummy pitch and grounding out to end the game.
Speaking of Pacheco, he was 0-for-2. I can’t be too upset with him, though, because he’s hardly gotten any playing time yet this season. I’m so conflicted over him and Nelson at 3rd. I think Nelson’s defense is superior, but he has two errors already in less than a week, so he’s not making much of a case for himself. And I think Pacheco is better at the plate, but his average is still sub-Mendoza, whereas Nelson’s is an okay .235. The season is young, so most likely neither of these guys has shown his true colors yet. I just wish one of them made more sense than the other. And I wish either of them had done anything impressive yesterday.
Some people to acknowledge: Esmil Rogers, who every so often does something so right it makes me pine for the way things could be if he were able to do that in back-to-back outings. Yesterday he went 1 1/3 with 2 K’s – Pablo Sandoval and Buster Posey, no less – and when he entered the game in the 6th there was a man on who didn’t score. Why can’t Esmil do that more often? I don’t get it. Rex Brothers and Rafael Betancourt threw a perfect 8th and 9th, respectively. This allowed the Rockies to come to bat in the bottom of the 9th against Brian Wilson with a fighting chance. And they even loaded the bases. And they even ran carefully and did not make an out on the basepaths. And Jim Tracy was even smart enough to pinch-hit Todd Helton. The Toddfather, with bases loaded and only one out? That’s a sure thing, right? Well, yes, unless he happens to hit the ball RIGHT at Manny Burriss, which is what he did. You can’t fault him. It was a great swing, it was just unfortunate. And then Marco Scutaro flied out to end the game.
I suppose it was nice to see a little bit of energy in the late innings like that. But I want to see that from start to finish. Bumgarner is a good pitcher but not good enough for the Rockies to go 5 1/3 innings without a hit off him. Again, we’ve got the lineup feeding off itself, and again that worked against them.
The Rockies will face the defending NL West Champion Diamondbacks in a series at home beginning tonight.