I learned three things at today’s Rockies-Phillies game.
1. Tyler Chatwood has a legitimate shot at being a key piece in the Rockies’ starting rotation. At the moment, he’s still struggling with the same thing most of our starting pitchers struggle with – going deep into games – but the goods are there. After a shaky 1st inning in which he threw 24 pitches and allowed a run to score (no thanks to yet another crummy non-throw-em-out from Wilin Rosario), he settled down and allowed only 1 more run in the later 4 innings he pitched. His fastball was humming, and he induced 8 groundouts and 2 double plays. The Phillies lineup isn’t anything to get excited about right now, with the aging Jimmy Rollins and Ryan Howard its only possible powerhouses, but Chatwood controlled it effectively and showed an impressive ability to keep calm and make pitches. He’s looking so much better this year than he did last year, it’s hard to be anything but encouraged.
2. The Rockies have some fine men doing work in the field. Two highlight reel plays occurred today that were each worth the price of admission on their own. In the 1st inning, Howard doubled into the left field corner, and Michael Young thought he could score from 1st. No, Michael Young, no. Because you see, the man in the left field corner is Carlos Gonzalez, and you just don’t test his arm. Cargo fired a bullet right down the line to a waiting Rosario, who tagged Young’s wrist just as he reached out to touch the plate. It was a beauty of a throw. Then, in the 2nd, it was Nolan Arenado‘s turn to earn his keep. As he stood on the grass in front of 3rd base, Phillies pitcher Jonathan Pettibone hit a one-hopper to Arenado’s right. Arenado leaped and speared the ball, then threw from a SEATED position on the ground to nail Pettibone at 1st. People, it was amazing. I know ESPN doesn’t like to talk about the Rockies, but this play better be in the Top 10 tonight. It was easily the best defensive play I’ve seen yet this season. We’ve got the right man at the hot corner, that’s for darn sure.
3. Ryan Howard sucks. I’ve never really been a Howard fan, though I appreciated his self-deprecating cameo on The Office this past season. I find the Phillies to be a whiny, entitled team in general, and I can’t say as I’ve ever seen better than that from Howard. Plus, he is always injured. And today, he was super duper bad. In the Rockies’ 6-run 1st inning, Chatwood hit what was scored as a single but what was really just bad ball handling by Howard. It rolled right down the line and he should have fielded it cleanly. He also managed not to be in any kind of position to field a DJ LeMahieu grounder in the 8th, and that resulted in a single. Howard was not charged with any errors today, but what the box score won’t tell you is that he just isn’t that sharp anymore. Also, he struck out twice, including a game-ending ring-em-up by Josh Outman. So I’d like to tip my hat to Mr. Howard, because he assisted in making my day at the ballpark enjoyable.