It is not a total stretch to say that enigmatic Colorado Rockies starting pitcher Juan Nicasio out-dueled Zack Greinke in the team’s 1-0 victory over the Los Angeles Dodgers Saturday night. This after a stretch of starts in which we were honestly wondering if Nicasio would make it out of the game without giving up double digit runs.
So what do we know now about Juan Nicasio that we didn’t know before? Anybody?
We know that his sinking fastball is a weapon. We know that he can miss bats when he is dialed in (see his seven strikeouts in less than six innings of work last night). Efficiency continues to be a battle for him (103 pitches to get through 5.1 innings last night), but when he pitches like he did last night, he places himself firmly in the conversation for a spot in their starting rotation.
In so many ways the starting rotation situation entering 2014 will be similar to what it was in 2013. There are three spots that are spoken for and uncertainty in the 4th and 5th spots. Last year it was assumed that Nicasio would hold one of those top three spots. Now he has been replaced in that regard by Tyler Chatwood and finds himself among the pitchers who will compete for a spot.
If Nicasio can give the Rockies enough outings over a course of a season like last night, he becomes a weapon in the back of the rotation that not many teams can match. Will his inconsistency keep him from that possibility? We will find out, but Nicasio threw his hat back in the ring with his outing in Los Angeles last night.