The Rockies have learned that there is nothing better than a home series against the Chicago Cubs to bolster some egos that might otherwise be battered from this dreadful season. They won again today, holding on for a 7-5 victory and series sweep.
Jhoulys Chacin delivered a solid effort, going 5 innings and giving up 3 runs. While this is hardly a dazzling performance, it was a quality effort overall and perhaps more importantly, it was a relatively normal start. It took him 85 pitches to make it 5 innings, and the Rockies let him do that, going over the previously allotted 75 pitches! (Gasp!). Kidding aside, I think there is something legitimate to be said about these starters relaxing now that they do not have to worry about one high-pitch inning sabotaging their effort.
The three players who came through in key moments today are three guys who have gotten the job done all season. Two of them, Jordan Pacheco and Rafael Betancourt, have done so to an appropriate amount of recognition and accolades. The third, D.J. LeMahieu, has flown under the proverbial radar with his recent hot streak. Pacheco and LeMahieu both knocked home runs and Betancourt entered a sticky situation in the 9th to clinch the game and add another save to his outstanding season.
With the better known success of Pacheco, third baseman Chris Nelson, and middle infielder Josh Rutledge, it is easy to overlook the contributions of LeMahieu. With D.J. batting over .300 since July, it adds another wrinkle to what has already become a crowded infield situation.
Remember the days of Ty Wigginton at 3rd base and Jose Lopez at 2nd? Remember when there were no better options than them, save for the always-hard-working Jonathan Herrera? One of the few positive developments of this disastrously injury plagued season is the fact that so many talented young infielders have stepped up their games and turned into solid players in a hurry. The Rockies have gone from having gaping holes at 2nd and 3rd base to having Nelson penciled in at 3rd and a good healthy competition at 2nd between LeMahieu and Rutledge, not to mention Pacheco serving as a utility player. The only sad news that might emerge will have to do with the aforementioned Herrera, whose spot might be slipping away from him.
The Rockies won today with good offense and decent pitching. Even if it was against the Cubs, it was refreshing to see the Rockies look like a normal baseball team. Hopefully these young bats can keep the heat on opposing pitchers on the road after they finished off a year in which the team batted over .300 at home. They will try to do so starting in Los Angeles tomorrow night.