A Win is a Win


In a sport that often makes little to no sense, the Colorado Rockies really don’t make sense. They will finally return home from a difficult road trip on the heels of a 5-4 victory over the San Francisco Giants. After finding ways to lose multiple games they should have won, they stole a game from the Giants that they probably should have lost.

Let’s start with the walks. The Rockies issued 10 of them, and starter Jeremy Guthrie added a hit batter. Even against a mediocre offense that’s a dangerous way to live, especially for a pitching staff that is already struggling. Most notably Rex Brothers got himself out of bases loaded trouble in the 8th inning with a strikeout to keep the score tied at 4-4. He then stormed into the dugout shouting in celebration. Maybe this display fired up Marco Scutaro, similar to the way Scutaro fired up the team after a HBP earlier this year in Coors Field.

So many of the grueling losses that Rockies fans have to endure when the team is in California come to their endings because the offense fails to string together hits. It seems like they wait for somebody to be a hero and hit a solo home run late, even if they know it is not the path to success in those parks. Then, inevitably it seems, the other team does string together hits and win the game. To be fair, the rallies that the Rockies staged in the 6th and 7th innings were more ideal for a setting like AT&T Park. Having blown a lead and set up for another brutal loss, they got that elusive late home run in San Francisco. From Marco Scutaro, of all people.

Not that they should come to expect those kinds of moments to come more frequently in future west coast trips. Scutaro’s home run doesn’t make me any more willing to watch 8th and 9th inning fly balls die on the warning track in future San Francisco games.

If you had said the Rockies bullpen would melt down and they would need a late home run to win, I would say that’s probably a game the Rockies should lose. Thankfully for everybody involved, they somehow pulled it out. Josh Outman might be especially grateful, as his first outings on the team have been underwhelming. Granted he struggled in a somewhat strange situation last night, as Jim Tracy opted to have him bat for himself to lead off the 7th before pitching the bottom half of that inning. Matt Belisle then continued his own struggles, allowing the game-tying single. Add that to the list of reasons the Rockies shouldn’t have won: their most reliable reliever didn’t get it done…again.

The collective desperation for a win was truly apparent as closer Rafael Betancourt struggled to shut the door on the 9th inning. First it was Angel Pagan‘s stolen base with 2 outs, which stoked an animated reaction from Ramon Hernandez, who thought he had ended the game by throwing Pagan out. After a walk, Betancourt labored to get the pesky Nate Schierholtz for the final out of the game. Ball 3 came on a check swing in the dirt. Replays showed that Schierholtz clearly went, but 3rd base umpire Kerwin Danley said that he held up. Tracy sprang up as if he had just sat on a thumbtack, screaming at Danley from the dugout. He shouted everything but: “Come on Kerwin! We need this game SO BAD!”

As Betancourt finally got Schierholtz looking, he and Hernandez both pumped their fists emphatically. If you wanted to put a positive spin on things, you can see this reaction as a watershed moment for a team that still has a chance to turn things around. If you wanted to be a skeptic, you can see this reaction as a bad team making too much out of a rare victory. Let’s hope that Jamie Moyer can lead the team to a win tonight and a good start to the homestand.

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