As much as I hate to be shut out, especially by a team like the Padres, I’m still going to come away from this game with some optimism. For a long time now, as fans complained and whined and argued about why Drew Pomeranz was still in Colorado Springs, the team kept making vague comments about “working on his mechanics,” while showing no signs of calling him up. Maybe we would have trusted that that’s what they were doing, but hardly any other pitchers who have debuted this season have seemed ready. Not to mention the fact that the pitching coach situation has been, shall we say, fluid. So was Pomeranz really working on his mechanics, or were they just hiding him until Coors Field collapsed in on itself and they had a good excuse to forfeit the rest of the season?
Answer: Pomeranz was actually working on his mechanics! And it showed! In his delivery and his line! Whoudda thunk?
Unfortunately, the Rockies faced some genius going by the name Kip Wells, a journeyman who has not had a good season since 2003, and who also happened to play for our team in the forgettable year of 2008. This was just his second start since 2009, and in the first, against the Astros, he allowed 2 earned runs in 5 innings but still took the loss thanks to 3 unearned runs. Perhaps he just needed an outing against his former team, also known as the Colorado Career Rehabilitators. Today he went 7 innings and allowed no runs on 6 hits. The Rockies were stymied by him. To be fair, the lineup was weakened by the absence of Carlos Gonzalez, Todd Helton, and the perennially disabled Troy Tulowitzki, but Tyler Colvin and Jordan Pacheco each only had one hit, and that is weird. Nobody worked the count especially well, and once again they were playing as though they didn’t think they could win. So they didn’t.
Let’s go back to Pomeranz though. It’s a crying shame he had to take the loss, because he allowed even fewer hits per inning than Wells did (2 over 6). He also didn’t give up a single earned run. The one unearned run that scored on his watch came thanks to an error by Pacheco that should have been an out at 1st. There were no outs when the error occurred, so who’s to say whether that run scores without it, but the bottom line is that Pomeranz can’t be said to have caused it. It was a brilliant outing for him; he retains the same poise and confidence that has always marked his work, but now it’s combined with better delivery, particularly on his fastball, that makes it seem as though his time in Triple-A was in fact well spent.
Rex Brothers was the only Rockies pitcher to allow an earned run, and his unfortunately came on an RBI single after a wild pitch had allowed the runner to advance from 2nd to 3rd. The Rockies have thrown 35 wild pitches so far this season, second most in the majors. (Cleveland has the most with 38, and as Ubaldo has thrown 8 of those, I’m not really sure we can say that they are a worse team.) It’s not just one guy skewing the stats, either; they are all throwing wild pitches on a regular basis. And they’re just leading to far too many runs. So I hope that’s on the new pitching coaches’ lists, right after they do the whole “teach the pitchers how not to lose games” thing.
P.S. Did you know that Huston Street is 12-for-12 in save opportunities this year and has a 1.29 ERA, which was good enough to earn him an All-Star selection? Insult to injury my friends.
The Rockies head to St. Louis tomorrow for a 4-game series at Busch Stadium.