Thursday’s First Pitch

By Editorial Staff
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Leading Off
The Rockies got a much-needed win on Wednesday, winning the rubber match behind Aaron Cook’s solid 5.2 innings and taking two of three games from the last-place Padres. Combine tonight’s win with a Dodgers loss, and the Rockies are back in third place in the NL West.

The Good
Helton. Tulo. CarGo.

Todd Helton was incredible on Wednesday night, going 4-for-4 with a home run, 2 doubles, a single, and an intentional walk. One of the ToddFather’s doubles should have been a triple, but he shut it down not wanting to risk injury. It was a smart play seeing as runs come at a premium for the Rockies these days, and they need baserunners more than anything these days. Troy Tulowitzki was, in a word, clutch. He had two hits and three RBIs on Wednesday, including a very clutch 9th inning double that scored Carlos Gonzalez and Todd Helton to break a 3-3 tie. That double was his first hit of his career off of Padres closer Heath Bell. Carlos Gonzalez also added a base hit in the 9th inning, his only hit of the day. Signs point to him slowly breaking out of his slump, and not a moment too soon. Outfielder Charlie Blackmon had his first Major League hit, a single to right field in the second inning. Congrats to him. Finally, Aaron Cook went 5 and two-thirds innings in his first start since September 2010. He gave up three runs and a five-pitch walk. Closer Huston Street worked a perfect ninth for his 17th save of the year.

Hitting with two outs and with runners in scoring position, things the Rockies excelled at today, are also good signs for a team hitting a collective .234 in 2011.

The Bad
Today, it’s Aaron Cook’s wild pitch. It scored Chase Headley in the bottom of the sixth inning, tying the game at 3, and eventually cost Cookie the shot at his first win of 2011. Other than that, his outing was very promising for someone making his first start of the year in June.

The Ugly
Carlos Gonzalez had a base hit in the 9th inning of Wednesday’s affair, but still went 1-for-5. The way to break out of a horrible season-long slump isn’t a 1-for-4 game here and a 1-for-5 game here. He needs to start hitting for average, having two or three-hit games, and he needs to start hitting home runs like he did last year. A sophomore slump is fine, but pitchers have figured out how to pitch to CarGo, and if he can’t figure out how to hit those pitchers, he’s in for a much longer rough patch.

On Deck
Today, we’re making up for some slack here on RoxPile. First off, a BIG announcement is coming later today. Also, expect your minor league report (and a GREAT offensive breakout from the Sky Sox), a list of all the Rockies’ draft picks, your usual Daily Matchup, perhaps some daily links, and a Prospect Spotlight on a few of the Rockies top draft picks, plus a late-rounder or two.

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