Who doesn’t love Memorial Day? A day off of work, the official start of summer, and some fantastic barbecued ribs, if you’re as lucky as I was. The only thing that could improve this picture was a pair of Rockies wins, and we were all lucky enough for that.
Let’s get the bad news out of the way first – because when isn’t there bad news with the Rockies? This was the Astros, and they’re not good, and the fact that these games were so close reminds us that the Rockies are not good either. Also, pitching. When your pitchers give up 13 runs over the course of two games, well, I guess you better hope your offense shows up like it did yesterday. Juan Nicasio started the first game and allowed 5 earned runs over 6 innings. His troubles started early, with a triple, an RBI groundout, and a home run in the 1st. He settled down after that, striking out the side in the 2nd, but only managed one more 1-2-3 inning. He’s still having a hard time putting hitters away. He gets ahead in the count and then floats a pitch that your grandma could hit. He’s young and learning though, so let’s just hope he gets more effective coaching than some of our other young guys have gotten.
Adam Ottavino entered game one in the 7th with a one-run lead and promptly blew it, giving up a single, a stolen base, and an RBI single. Jose Altuve, who drove in the run, then got caught in a pickle and tagged out at 2nd, which was fortunate because Ottavino allowed another single after that, to Carlos Lee. He got out of the inning with just the one run.
Pitching in game two wasn’t a whole lot better, with Alex White looking frighteningly like his 2011 self. He gave up 6 earned runs on 10 hits, including 3 home runs, in 5 innings. I really hope those starts will come fewer and further between now than they did last season.
Luckily, the pen was near-perfect in the final 5 innings. Ottavino redeemed himself with a 1-2-3 7th. Josh Outman, Matt Belisle, Rafael Betancourt, and Josh Roenicke also turned in scoreless innings, and Belisle and Betancourt did the same in game one.
On we go to offense. Luckily it was on today, because the pitchers badly needed it to be. The star was Dexter Fowler, who finally seems to have found his bat. He collected 7 hits on the day, including a walk-off RBI triple in the 10th inning of game 2. He was also the big scorer on the team, crossing the plate 5 times between the two games. Should he be left in the lead-off spot? If he’s going to get on base as much as he did yesterday, he should never ever be removed from it again. Ever. He also stole a base, so, whoa. Way to go Dex. AND he hit a home run, his 7th on the season. Considering the fact that it took him till September to hit one at all in 2011, I’d say that’s a good sign. He’s still driving the ball as well as ever, but he’s also lifting it in the air better than he was.
Other contributors included Jordan Pacheco, who had 3 RBI in game one, Troy Tulowitzki, with 8 total bases between the two games, Wilin Rosario, who hit a 2-run homer in game one, and DJ LeMahieu, who hit an RBI double in his Rockies debut. Contribution from all parts of the lineup and big hits when they were needed most: this is what has to continue happening if the team is going climb out of the hole it’s in. Unless all of the pitchers suddenly become superstars, offense is the only way to win.
And of course, the fireworks are always nice.
The Rockies have a day to recover from their 19 straight innings of baseball before picking up their series with the Astros again on Wednesday.