Rockies Lineup, April 21 2012: Facing Marco Estrada


Last night’s win over the Brewers was especially satisfying because it felt like the kind of game the Rockies would lose in the past. The way they played for most of the night, the way Jhoulys Chacin pitched, it was a game they should have won. But about the time Todd Helton struck out looking late in the game with two men on, I flashed back to last season and all the games the Rockies were “supposed to win” that they let slip away. There have been signs this season that this team, thanks in large part to new addition Michael Cuddyer, is capable of locking down the ones that they should win.

Tonight provides another test in that regard. In the last couple days, the Brewers have been forced to shuffle a number of pieces around because of an inflamed rotator cuff for starter Chris Narveson. As a result, they have inserted spot starter and bullpen man Marco Estrada into the rotation. Estrada does have some experience starting games in the past, and pending the availability of Shaun Marcum at the time, was a fringe candidate to start at the beginning of this season.

Isn’t this a game that the Rockies should win? A veteran lineup against a relatively inexperienced pitcher who has been working as a reliever feels like a good formula to snag a tough series on the road.

Here is the lineup, which includes the return of last night’s hero, the card tricking turning, clutch hit getting Michael Cuddyer:

Marco Scutaro 2B
Dexter Fowler CF
Carlos Gonzalez LF
Troy Tulowitzki SS
Todd Helton 1B
Michael Cuddyer RF
Wilin Rosario C
Chris Nelson 3B
Drew Pomeranz P

At a quick glance, I could only find evidence that Ramon Hernandez has ever recorded a hit against Estrada. Many of the Rockies have seen him, but only for a handful of at-bats. Pomeranz looks to improve on his previous outing, specifically his command and the effective of his offspeed pitches. Here is the lineup the Brewers will send against him:

Rickie Weeks 2B
Carlos Gomez CF
Ryan Braun LF
Aramis Ramirez 3B
Corey Hart RF
Mat Gamel 1B
Alex Gonzalez SS
Jonathan Lucroy C
Marco Estrada P

After Norichika Aoki pestered the Rockies all night on Friday, he cedes his spot in the lineup to the right handed hitting man they call “Go-Go” Gomez. Or, at least, that’s what they called him when I lived in Minnesota and he played for the Twins. And they were only kind of making fun of him for being such a clown…

…Troy Tulowitzki will look to continue his surge offensively as he tries to rid himself of his temporary defensive struggles this past week…

…In a small sample size last season, Pomeranz was average to mediocre in two road starts, surrendering 3 ER in 5.2 IP at the San Francisco Giants and 6 ER in 2 IP at the Houston Astros. He is facing Milwaukee for the first time in his short career…

Matt Belisle continued his near-perfect start to the season last night. His ERA stands at 0.00 and he has yet to walk a batter…

…When John Axford gave up the winning run last night, it was not the first time he has struggled this season. He has now surrendered 4 ER in 4.2 IP with 5 BB on the season. Presumably he will get the benefit of the doubt longer than an average closer because of his stellar hair and goatee combination.

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