Sunday afternoon saw the finale of the Colorado Rockies four game series against a division rival, and the hottest team in baseball, the Los Angles Dodgers. In a series that saw a rare victory over Dodgers’ ace Clayton Kershaw, and an even more rare complete game loss by a Rockies pitcher, the Rockies were able to finish with a series split. I know it was a 2-2 split. But it was most definitely a series victory for the struggling Rockies.
Having won only one of the three previous series, all against NL West opponents, the Rockies needed a strong showing against Los Angeles. The Dodgers have shot up in the standings due in large part to the Cuban spark plug Yasiel Puig. After a 6-1 series opener loss for Colorado it looked like that trend would continue. That was until the already surprising Rockies pitching staff stepped up again. Friday night Juan Nicasio beat Kershaw 3-0, Tyler Chatwood (despite losing 1-0 to Zach Greinke) pitched a complete game Saturday, and to finish it off Jhoulys Chacin pitched six innings of one run baseball in Sunday’s 3-1 win.
Chacin had some help from Rex Brothers, Matt Belisle, and Rafael Betancourt, who each pitched an inning of shutout ball. By the way Brothers has better numbers than a few relievers that made the All-Star game, but he’s hidden all the way up at a mile high. Betancourt picked up his fourth save since coming back off the shelf with a groin injury in late June, and his 15th overall on the season.
Offensively the team was led by who else but Michael Cuddyer. Wait Cuddy? Is he now the “guy” expected to come through for the Rockies lineup? Consider this: Troy Tulowitzki left his bat on the disabled list (0-4 with a BB Sunday). Carlos Gonzalez is also beat up, having to pull out of Tuesday’s Home Run Derby, although he did get on base four times Sunday and even stole a base. Cuddyer has received the most criticism of any Derby participants, yet he has the longest average home run distance out of the bunch (tied with Yoenis Cespedes w/average distance of 407 ft.).
Cuddy not only drove in all three of the Rockies runs today, but he knocked them all in with two outs on the board. The former 1st round draft choice of the Minnesota Twins drove in two of those runs on his 16th home run of the season. The 34-year-old has not only provided the same type of leadership as Todd Helton, dubbed the “Toddfather,” but Cuddyer’s production has yet to drop the way Helton’s has.
Pitching and just playing overall clutch, in the last series before the mid-summer classic…yeah, a 2-2 series split is most definitely a victory for the Rockies. Let’s not forget where the team was at this time last year.