Rockies Show Signs of Life on Pitching and Defense, Still Drop Series to Giants

Rockies 6, Giants 9

Well, this was a tough game to watch. At this point in the lovely 2012 season, I no longer expect miracles or heroics or, to be perfectly honest, well-played baseball. I expect lethargy and confusion and bad ideas, as well as good ideas poorly executed. So that makes a game like this, where things seemed to be swinging our way, even more frustrating.

It started out normally enough, with Alex White doing that thing he does where he throws splitters everywhere but where the catcher wants them, and three runs score. The only thing that went right in the bottom of the 1st inning was when White intentionally walked Brandon Crawford to load the bases with 2 out for Barry Zito. It’s the conventional move in that situation; however, this is the Rockies, and conventional moves rarely pay off for them. In fact, Zito worked the count full and the fastball White threw that rang Zito up touched the outside corner ever so gently. It was a close call. For once, the lot landed on our side.

DJ LeMahieu looked good in the field and at the plate in today's game.

And then it continued to do so. Just prior to Crawford’s AB, Josh Rutledge and Jordan Pacheco made a great bang-bang play to get Ryan Theriot at 1st. DJ LeMahieu smothered a grounder just behind second base and took a hit away from Hunter Pence. White finished up his outing with a decisive 1-2-3 4th inning. Carlos Gonzalez made a rocket of a throw from left and Wilin Rosario demonstrated that he can, in fact, block a ball in the dirt when he fielded the throw and tagged out Brandon Belt at the plate.

In the meantime, Rockies were actually producing something meaningful offensively as well. Rutledge and Eric Young Jr. hit back-to-back RBI doubles in the 3rd. The Giants tried the intentional-walk-to-get-to-the-pitcher trick in the 4th, but unfortunately for them there was only 1 out. White attacked the first pitch Zito threw and delivered an RBI on a sacrifice fly. LeMahieu doubled in Jordan Pacheco in the 6th, and then scored himself on a single by Carlos Torres – the relief pitcher. Dexter Fowler successfully stole 2nd in the 7th, which allowed him to take 3rd on a groundout and be in position to score on another sac fly.

So, let’s review. Good hitting. Good running. Good defense. A sense of urgency I have not seen from this team in quite a while. Did I miss anything?

Oh yeah. Good pitching. Well, that had to come to an end sooner or later.

Torres had a great outing after taking over for White, allowing 1 run over 2 innings but otherwise limiting the damage. Then Matt Belisle entered the game in the 7th and held the lead, despite putting a couple of runners on. But then Belisle came back in the 8th, and that’s when things went wrong. The Rockies were ahead by 2 when Belisle loaded the bases and gave up a single to Melky Cabrera. Rutledge was there to keep the ball in the infield, which prevented another run from scoring, but the lead had tightened to 1. Jim Tracy didn’t think Belisle could finish the job, so at that point he brought in Rafael Betancourt, hoping for a 5-out save.

Betancourt, instead, handed the game to the Giants with a Buster Posey sacrifice fly and a 3-run homer hit by Pence on the second pitch he saw. The Posey AB was long, and Betancourt looked both anxious and fatigued. I like him as a closer, but it’s obvious that being the Rockies’ closer is taking its toll.

After that, nothing of consequence occurred. Except that the Rockies season continued it’s long, slow drain into the hall of shame.

 

The Rockies head home to face the Brewers tomorrow night.

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