After strong pitching performances by both Jorge De La Rosa and David Phelps, it was the relief pitching that caused the demise of the Colorado Rockies and almost the Marlins. As heartbreaking as this loss was to Rockies fans, there were some takeaways and some lessons learned as we continue the series.
1. DeLa Rosa is back to his peak pitching performances. Early in the season, many fans worried that De La Rosa was starting to lose his edge and should no longer be granted an opportunity to start for the Colorado Rockies. After sitting out with a small injury and briefly being demoted to the bullpen, De La Rosa appears to be back to his normal self. In his five starts since the All-Star break, he has only had one game that did not result in a quality start. His ERA is slowly but surely declining back to his normal numbers and he continued to pitch at least six innings.
2. The Marlins won the battle of the bullpens. David Phelps only pitched 4.1 innings and the rest was consumed by the Marlins bullpen. Besides the catastrophe that Fernando Rodney put together in the bottom of the 8th, the Marlins bullpen looked rather sharp. That isn’t to say the Rockies bullpen did not look great, however Carlos Estevez‘s long winded 9th inning is what gave the Rockies their 55th loss of the season. The Rockies bullpen could come in handy the rest of the series if Bettis and Gray can give their usual quality starts.
As I attended the game this evening, you could tell there was a buzz around the stadium as Ichiro came onto the on deck circle to pinch hit. Ichiro is two hits away from 3,000 and could very well do this while he is visiting in Colorado. Ichiro has the respect of most people around the world as one of the best to ever play this game. I hope to see Suzuki start these upcoming games in the series and stroke a few singles to hit the 3,000 mark.
3. The Rockies are looking for a late season push. Even though the Rockies game up short tonight and dropped the first game of the series, you could tell this team is hungry to compete and be relevant as we move closer to September. You could see a bounce in their step when they made a great play, or got a hit in the clutch. Tonight was a tough loss to swallow, as this could have made a large difference with the Dodgers also losing, but you could tell this team is going to fight until the end.
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This team has a feel that closely resembles that of 2007 and our World Series run where we continue to feed off one another and start to get timely hitting. Timely hitting and bullpen pitching can be the difference maker down the stretch if we continue to play as we have.
This was a tough loss to swallow, as you could see the disappointment on mine and my girlfriends face on Root Sports in the 9th inning, however this was still a game the Rockies could have easily won. Expect the Rockies to come out strong tomorrow night and look to get back at .500 and hopefully continue momentum through the rest of this home stand.