There was a moment in this game when I said, okay, here we go, this is what I thought would happen. That moment was in the bottom of the 5th inning, when the Rockies were leading 11-1 and suddenly the lead started to slip away. It was a pretty typical crummy Rockies pitcher inning: single, flyout, walk, strikeout, RBI single, RBI single, pitching change, 3-run home run on first pitch by new pitcher, double, RBI single, lineout. Just like that, the lead has been cut in half and it’s 11-7. Ladies and gentlemen, the 2012 Colorado Rockies.
But the good news is that this turnaround wasn’t nearly as painful as the ones that occurred last week when the A’s were in Denver. Nor was it ugly like the one in Philly the other night. The Rockies had put up enough runs that, for once, the pitchers could not seem to lose the lead, no matter what they did. And that is what this team must do. Score so many times that the other team can tee off on the pitchers and nobody gets hurt.
And this must be said about starter Josh Outman: before that 6-run nightmare of an inning, during which he exited, and during which 4 of the 6 runs were his responsibility, he was good. He went 3 1/3 full innings without allowing a single run, quite a feat when it’s the Rangers’ offense he’s facing. Outman was doing so well that Jim Tracy apparently stopped paying attention and allowed him to reach 92 pitches. I hope he’s icing up good, because he’s got another start coming up on Wednesday. In any case, though, I’m impressed with how well Outman held off the Rangers. As I’ve said, my expectations for this team right now are frighteningly low, so I realize that if they were in contention for a playoff spot, this would not be good enough. But as things stand right now, it’s plenty good. Also, I predicted the Rangers would score 30 runs in this series and so far they’ve only scored 8. I won’t discount the possibility that they plate 20+ tomorrow, but it’s safe to say this series has already gone way better than I thought it would.
And, after Adam Ottavino exited at the end of the 5th, the rest of the bullpen did their job admirably. Rex Brothers pitched 2 innings and allowed a pair of hits but no runs. Matt Belisle pitched a scoreless 8th, and Rafael Betancourt, after allowing the lead-off man on, retired 3 batters in a row in the 9th.
As to that offense the Rockies brought, well, it was magnificent. The best part was that it wasn’t all concentrated in one single inning, so it seemed like they actually had Rangers starter Colby Lewis figured out and were applying that knowledge in every at-bat. They must have known that no lead would be safe with these pitchers, and that they’d better score early and often. And they did. The bottom of the order was especially effective. Chris Nelson and Wil Nieves each had a pair of hits and 2 RBI, and Dexter Fowler had 3 hits and an RBI. Who’s to say how many runs he might have driven in if Jim Tracy had left him in the lead-off spot where he belongs? We’ll never know. As far as the top of the order goes, they were less productive, particularly Carlos Gonzalez, who was 1-for-5 and didn’t drive in any runs. But Jonathan Herrera stole a couple of bases, and that’s something from a guy suddenly asked to hit in the lead-off spot.
Just a good game. Not perfect (I’m looking at you and your baserunning error, Nieves). But no errors were made in the field, and the Rockies were able to capitalize on a couple made by Texas. A solid win. The pitching situation is still a complete disaster, but the Rockies just beat the Rangers in Arlington, and I’m going to choose to forget about everything else.
The rubber match happens tomorrow evening with Alex White on the mound for the Rockies.