So, this was a very good series. It wasn’t a sweep, but it was a win, and a win that took place against the Brewers at Miller Park. The Brewers had the best home record in baseball last year, and while they’re very clearly not the same team without Prince Fielder (Yuniesky Betancourt seems to have left less of a void), they’re still a formidable foe. So to have beaten them on their own turf twice and played very well three times is highly satisfying.
Jeremy Guthrie finally turned in a good start, and finally is the word. He went 7 innings for the third time, but this is the first time he only surrendered one run. And only 3 hits! The bad news is, he’s still walking more than he’s striking out (3 and 2 today). Also, all pitchers were given a highly generous strike zone today, so he might have thrown even more balls than the 56 he was given credit for. But I’m going to try to keep my comments mostly in the realm of the positive today. Guthrie looked very good out there, and he was throwing all his pitches for strikes when he got strikes at all.
Rex Brothers, taking over in the 8th, got into a bit of a jam when his first two hitters reached, and he was yanked before he had a chance to clean up his own mess. Matt Belisle was given that task, and he completed it admirably. Neither of Brothers’s runners scored, and Belisle pitched a 1-2-3 with 11 pitches, including a 4-pitch strikeout of Corey Hart to end the inning. As Jack Corrigan gleefully announced, he didn’t close the door on the inning, “he slammed it!” Belisle has yet to earn a run this season. And our faithful Rafael Betancourt recorded his 5th save, also with a perfect 1-2-3.
Offensively, the Rockies were facing Yovani Gallardo, so I didn’t expect much. But they seemed to know that they needed to jump on the board early if they had a chance, so that’s just what they did. Tyler Colvin and Troy Tulowitzki reached on singles, and then Jason Giambi hit a 2-out single to score Colvin and put the Rockies up 1-0 in the 1st. Unfortunately, after that Gallardo found his bearings, and the Rockies didn’t plate a run for the rest of his outing.
What they did do was run up his pitch count so they got to face Francisco Rodriguez in the 8th. K-Rod is a Huston-Street-like closer: unhittable when he’s on, a joke when he’s not. And he was not today. Tulo singled again and Giambi walked. Then Michael Cuddyer came to the plate and hit his major-league-leading EIGHTH double so far this season, scoring both Tulo and Giambi. Yes, you read that right, the Giambino huffed it all the way from 1st! Needless to say, Colvin took up the post at first base in the bottom of the frame.
They even tacked on an insurance run in the top of the 9th against Wily Peralta. Dexter Fowler, who somehow managed to have a 2-hit game, led off with a single, and then Marco Scutaro hit one as well. Carlos Gonzalez singled home Fowler. It’s always nice to give your closer as soft a cushion as possible, so well done there.
This was a good game. Again, the Brew Crew aren’t quite as nasty as they were last season, but their lineup is still pretty potent, and their pitching is tough. This is a Rockies team, though, as I have been saying, that seems to understand the task in front of it this season. They are putting their money where their mouth is, and I am happy.
The Rockies continue their Midwest road trip tomorrow night as they open a series against the Pirates in Pittsburgh.