I’m getting tired of this whole “As _______ goes, so goes the team” business with the Rockies. It was Troy Tulowitzki for most of last year, Michael Cuddyer early this year. Carlos Gonzalez and Dexter Fowler have been trading off since then, and in the past month it’s been Tyler Colvin. The way it seems to work is, whoever’s name is in that blank has to have a great game offensively, or no one else will do anything, and the team will lose. And lose embarrassingly, like, the only reason we weren’t shut out was because the pitcher drove in a run. I guess that’s one positive about Jeremy Guthrie being back in the rotation. More plate appearances. He is batting .091 after all.
As for Guthrie’s pitching, well, I will say it was a good bit better than any start he had in the weeks leading up to his demotion to the bullpen, so that’s a good sign. Perhaps he really did learn something there and is prepared to take his role in the rotation more seriously. It did Jason Hammel good last year – so good, in fact, that when he entered the Orioles rotation he became one of the best pitchers they’ve had in a long time and is now a Final Vote candidate for the All-Star Game.
Guthrie was given a slightly longer leash last night – 84 pitches – and he made good use of them, throwing 47 for strikes. He walked one and hit one, although the most cringe-worthy part of his whole outing was that the hit batsman happened with the bases loaded and thus “drove” in a run. I have no words for that except, 2012 Rockies. Otherwise, Guthrie was pretty solid, and even recorded a couple of 1-2-3 innings. I am reserving judgment on whether I think he’s welcome back into the rotation, but at least he wasn’t awful.
Adam Ottavino, who has been iffy lately and is perhaps finally showing why no other team rushed to snatch him up when he became available, had another tough outing last night. After a scoreless 7th by Matt Reynolds (all the more impressive given that he dealt with a runner who reached 3rd base on a pair of errors), Ottavino entered in the 8th and proceeded to load the bases. Then he gave up a 2-run single. I can’t say for sure what’s going on with Ottavino but I will say this: he gets a lot of 2-strike counts, and lately seems unable to finish the job from there. It’s unfortunate, because that’s just what you need a relief pitcher to do. He’s not going to reach deep into his repertoire and pull out the screwball he so cleverly throws for strike 3. Ottavino has a fastball and a slider, and if he’s not making those pitches effectively, he’s not having a good outing.
In any case, it didn’t end up mattering very much what the bullpen did, because the Rockies couldn’t muster up an ounce of the needed offense. I wasn’t kidding about Guthrie driving in their only run. It happened in the 5th inning when he singled after Jonathan Herrera tripled. Right now, though, the team seems to be resting on Colvin’s shoulders, and after a double in the 1st, he didn’t do anything. He even flew out once with 2 outs and the bases loaded, which is a big no-no. I don’t want the team depending on him, but as that’s the situation we’re in, he has to be producing in order for us to win.
The series concludes tonight with Christian Friedrich hoping to lead the Rockies to a split.