Well, what a homestand this was! Six wins, one loss, and 58 runs scored. I think it just might be safe to say that the offense has found its way. Of course, as soon as I say that they’ll get no-hit by some no-name Diamondback this week, but what makes me willing to believe this might be more than that is the consistency up and down the lineup. Dexter Fowler is hitting his stride in the lead-off spot much earlier than he did last season, Carlos Gonzalez is raking, and everyone else is contributing just enough to keep the ship upright.
Truthfully, though, today wasn’t a blowout in the way Friday’s game was. The offense managed only 3 runs on 6 hits, which was just enough to get the job done. Fowler struck out twice, pretty much a given at this point, but he also reached base twice and scored once. Marco Scutaro reached once and scored. And Carlos Gonzalez did the same. So it was a classic case of top of the order getting on base and middle of the order driving them in. Now we just need that to happen some more in order to get a little insurance.
Part of that is just a matter of refining. Wilin Rosario is so talented and so eager, but he’s also so sloppy still. Today he stranded runners a handful of times, was caught stealing, and had a passed ball. With a little maturity he could be a key piece in this lineup, because we’ve all seen what he’s capable of. But there’s some work to do first.
Suddenly perhaps not needing as much work is Alex White, who turned in his second excellent start of the season. White didn’t allow a hit until the 4th inning, and he nearly made it through the 7th inning. The only reason he was yanked was because he gave up a 2-run home run to A.J. Ellis, and it’s safe to say that once White starts allowing home runs he doesn’t often stop. But his first 99 pitches were much better than the 100th. He kept the ball down and got a lot of groundouts. He also walked too many (5), but he didn’t lose his composure and so 4 out of those 5 didn’t score. Things are looking up for young Alex White.
His bullpen didn’t let him down, either. Rex Brothers was sent in as a specialist to finish the 7th and couldn’t, but neither did he cause further damage. Matt Belisle shut the door on that inning, as he has done so often lately, and he took care of the 8th too. Rafael Betancourt recorded his 10th save in a 1-2-3 9th.
Ok, let’s be serious for a second. This past week, the Rockies have not faced tough teams offensively. The Dodgers used to be a threat in that regard, but Kemp-less they are unlikely to maintain their position at the top. And the Astros certainly were no great challenge. So what needs to happen in order for this to continue is for the pitchers to harness whatever it is they’ve been doing the past few days and use it against tougher lineups. Also, our lineup needs to keep moving in the direction it’s going. If either of those components fails, it’s back to the basement of the NL West. And considering how the Padres are doing this season, that’s not a pretty situation to be in.
Following an off-day tomorrow, the Rockies will head to Arizona for a 3-game series against the Diamondbacks.