The Rockies rode the strong performances of Alex White, Eric Young Jr., D.J. Lemahieu, and another clutch moment from rookie Josh Rutledge to a 5-3 win over the Miami Marlins and a 4th straight victory.
Someday we will learn if Alex White can deliver a solid outing in which he pitches into the 6th and even (gasp!) the 7th inning. For now, his recent performances are probably serving as justification for management’s absurd paired pitching system. Being in Minnesota, I am no longer able to watch Jim Tracy’s postgame pressers. I can only imagine the rhetorical questions he has been asking himself and then answering to prove that he is right. Something like this…
“What can you say about an Alex White? You have to ask yourself, what are we seeing here? I’ll tell you, we are seeing a commitment to a process and that process starting to pay off before our eyes. And you simply cannot say enough about the job Adam Ottavino has done in the role we have asked of him.”
Back to the game. We briefly interrupt this message about the success of the young players on the Rockies to note that veteran Michael Cuddyer delivered the biggest hit of the game, smashing a Ricky Nolasco hanging breaking ball into the left field seats to tie the game at 3. As there is less pressure on Cuddyer in the lineup, it will be interesting to see if he can deliver more consistently in the final games.
Speaking of Nolasco: if you started him on your fantasy baseball team, you got a complete game from Nolasco. So pat yourself on the back, and then ask yourself what went wrong since you started Ricky Nolaso last night.
Finally there is Rutledge and Young Jr. yet again. With the game tied 3-3 and D.J. Lemahieu on 3rd base (again), Rutledge entered the game as a pinch hitter. On an 0-2 count, Rutledge shortened his swing (a concept that still alludes many veterans on the roster) and hit the ball the other way. Because he has been blessed with an immense amount of talent (and some stunning blonde locks), this swing resulted in a warning track triple. On the next pitch, EY executed the safety squeeze very well to bring home the 5th run.
Imagine Rutledge and Young Jr. in a bar fight (not that we condone that kind of behavior). On the one hand you would have EY, who would strut, woof, and make sure everybody around him got hyped for the throw-down. Meanwhile, Rutledge would be the guy who calmly and quietly stands in the background until he is needed. Once he is, he just says, “OK, let’s go,” and the other guys know they’re in big, big trouble. They complement each other’s personalities well, which is helping drive this mini-resurgence by the Rockies in the last week or so.
Jeff Francis faces off with Wade LeBlanc in the second game of the series tonight at Coors Field. If nothing else, tune in to see if the Marlins re-arrange the Ozzie Guillen statue that they strategically placed in the dugout last night.