After a long offensive drought that included just three runs in their previous two games, the Colorado Rockies got back to scoring a lot of runs. And yes, if two games is considered a drought, this team is really spoiling us. Including that two game mini-drought, the Rockies have now scored 7.2 runs per game in their 10 games in May, and it’s been a real pleasure to watch. Today it was Corey Dickerson, among other people, who stepped up.
Charlie Blackmon and Dickerson started the outburst immediately, with back to back homers to start off the game. Both were hit to right field, and they were hit to a nearly identical part of the stadium. Oh, and both were also on two-strike pitches. After that, you had to know the blowout was coming. In the third inning, we saw more of the same. Corey Dickerson almost hit his second homer of the night with a hard blast to deep center, but he settled for a double. Even after Carlos Gonzalez hit what looked like an inning-killing double play, scoring a run but also clearing the bases, Nolan Arenado, just off a long hitting streak, doubled to right center and was immediately driven in by a two run shot to center field by Justin Morneau, the Rockies’ third of the game. It was 5-1, and the Rockies just kept piling on. After Blackmon and Dickerson again hit back-to-back hits to drive in two runs (this time doubles), Corey Dickerson hit his fourth extra base hit and second homer in the sixth inning. And guess what? Troy Tulowitzki followed that with a homer to left. This offense was rolling today, and Alfredo Simon wasn’t going to stop them.
In the end, the Rockies bashed 16 hits, and more impressively had 11 hits fall for extra bases en route to scoring 11 runs. It’s scary to think about how good this offense could be if CarGo was also clicking on all cylinders. Gonzalez went 0-3 with a walk, lowering his average to .269 and his on base percentage to .312. In the end, it’s probably too unfair to opponents to have Tulo, Blackmon, Arenado, Morneau, Dickerson, AND Gonzalez clicking on all cylinders, so we can afford to have one of them in a mini-slump.
We knew the Rockies had this type of offensive performance in them, simply because they have done it again and again and again. So in many ways, what happened on the other side of the ball was just as impressive, as Jordan Lyles improved to a shocking 5-0 with another quality start. What Lyles has done this year has been simply outstanding, and he was terrific (I’m really using my superlatives up in a hurray. Talking about Jordan Lyles does that) again yesterday despite walking a season high four batters. Lyles gave up a homer to Joey Votto and another run in the sixth, but ended up allowing just those two runs in six innings of four hit ball. Lyles definitely struggled with his control and was helped out by some of Cincinnati’s struggling hitters, but he now has gone at least six innings and allowed two or fewer runs in five straight outings. With this offense, if he sustains this success Lyles could be a 20-game winner. Not a bad return for a guy who was disliked by some fans from the start simply because the Rockies traded Dexter Fowler for him. By the way, that Fowler trade is looking pretty good right now. Lyles has been the best starter on the team and, when adjusting for his home park, one of the best in the National League, while Fowler has struggled, hitting just .244 with eight extra base hits in 142 plate appearances. Brandon Barnes, arguably the throw-in in the trade and currently the Rockies’ fourth outfielder, has been exponentially better, as his defense is good and he’s getting on base at a great clip. It looks as if Rockies fans and baseball experts alike might have been wrong when jumping on the Rockies’ brass for trading one of their all-time best leadoff hitters for two question marks.
Thanks to Jordan Lyles, Corey Dickerson, and the crew (something I didn’t think I’d ever say), Saturday’s game was near perfect. The Rockies will look to win their series against the Reds today. Juan Nicasio, who’s allowed just one run in his past two starts, is on the mound against the Reds’ Homer Bailey, who has been very hittable this season, giving up 1.56 homers per nine innings, seventh most among qualified starters.
Following Sunday’s matchup, they will head on the road to face the Kansas City Royals. Hopefully they can keep their winning ways going in KC.